Friday, April 4, 2008

Full Circle

The morning began with a story about the most recent suicide bombing in Iraq. Diyala province... a funeral in Al-Sadiyah, north of Baghdad... at least 20 killed and 23 wounded.

Then snippets of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy... heralds from the past speaking of equality and honor for all people. And I was thinking about how now we must expand our understanding of “all people” to include a much more global conception of the world.

All people… no “other,” no “they,” no “them.” No inferior race or backward culture or subgroup of people who is somehow defined as less. Or wrong. Or without worth.

What is it that allows us – we humans – to see other human beings as something separate from ourselves? Is it culture? Ideology? Religion? Color? Geography?

We are capable of such amazing cruelty, violence, and darkness when we are able to rationalize a mindset in which another person or group of people can be seen as less valuable then ourselves and those we love. Where is that line? What is the difference between an enemy and an “other?” Is it any different to fight someone you have decided to destroy because they do not see the world as you do, versus deciding to destroy someone because they are not human enough (normal enough, right enough) to deserve to live?

I’m not sure the distinction is even important when it comes down to permanent solutions to differences of opinion/belief/value.

I attended Mrs. Hogue’s funeral today and could not help but think of the bomber in Iraq who chose to disrupt a sacred ritual of death to accomplish more killing. I thought about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream… his vision of life beyond hating and purposeful division. I thought about the promise of Bobby Kennedy and the simple, truthful way he spoke about the evolution of a nation eating at its own heart.

My dream: One day we will recognize ourselves in every other. We’ll blur the lines between us and them to accomplish we. We'll employ a systemic concept of our world (our entire universe) rather than a mechanistic approach that leaves too much room for categorization and rationalized withdrawal.We’ll find a way to breathe together on a planet too tiny for our grand plans and will work toward a concept of equality that embraces difference, honors separateness, and allows distance. Free to live - and die - with safety and dignity.

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