Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
This post is a reaction to Jonathan Wolfman's Open Salon blog entitled with a well-put question "Why Tolerate Hate?". I'm afraid that greed, fear, hate, defensiveness and aggression all interact as an animalistic and terrible but sometimes protective part of human nature. We're afraid of the unknown, of people who aren't like us, and mostly of people who aren't nice to us. We're misguided children. Not US, of course, just the aggressors, the evil pursuers, the terrorists.
The mother walks down the street with her little kid and passes other white women, white men, black women, and then a black man. Only when they pass the black man does her hand tighten. Thereby, prejudice starts in her kid. The kid grows up to be a cop. Regardless of logic or circumstances, the prejudice interferes with his judgment.
The Moslem kid goes to a school which indoctrinates him extensively in sacrifice, fundamentalism, subjugation of women, hate for other religions and imperialism. He hasn't even met the enemy. He is only too proud to kill what he considers human rats. (Like the KKK going hunting for black guys to shoot like foxes.)
The "punishment" for any small crime against "the other" should be having to live with them, having to help them, taking care of them, listening to them, not learning to hate them more through torture and mutual aggression. However, integration of the world isn't in my control.
When the first intifada began in Israel, long ago, I would have gotten the rock throwing Palestinians in a room with Jewish teens like them for discussions for hours in a safe place. They would have had to complete a project together under armed guard, such as building an orphanage or a nursing home.
All the people in Guantanamo would have had to watch hours of film with 9/11 victims home movies and testimony about their normal lives. They would have had to counsel for hours with peace-loving Moslems who haven't been brainwashed into terrorism.
Yes, I'm writing as an idealist and given a murderer in front of me, I would defend myself and my family with more than words, if possible. But, I guarantee that the hate generated in the world, the need to protect one's territory, and the violence back and forth could be stemmed by more people-to-people everyday interactions, starting with children, even if artificial and forced at first.