Are you sickened, or surprised by what you see in Manchester?
I can understand sickened, it is a natural reaction. I don’t understand surprised. If you are surprised by an attack on an unsuspecting and undeserving group of young people, executed with planning and efficiency to inflict maximum damage and casualties, then you are living with your head in the sand.
If you are reading this, you will be dealing with this threat, and attacks like this, for the rest of your life. Your children are going to grow up in a world where attacks like this are the reality. You did nothing to deserve this. The foreign policy of your nation, its politics, and its people did not bring this on themselves. There are many who attempt to draw lines of causality and place blame on those things, and I understand their desire to do so. A linear world makes more sense than a chaotic one, but they are wrong. If you want to feel like a victim, listen to those people.
This isn’t your fault. How do I know this? Simple, I have interacted with this enemy, in real life, in close proximity. I have been to their countries, to their towns, and the structures they call home. I don’t need to read about their actions, I have seen them first hand. I have seen how they treat each other, their lack of value for life, and their absolute and utter hatred for those that do not believe what they do.
Nothing is going to stop these attacks. Yes, you read that correctly. We are not fighting a uniformed military with centralized forces in one region of the world. We are fighting an enemy that is often indistinguishable from those around them, and they are global. Their greatest advantage is that YOU either don’t, or won’t accept that you are a participant in this war. Don’t believe what I say, believe what they say. Instead of attempting to rationalize their message, take them at their word. Listen to what they are saying, and overlay on to what they are doing. It is far less complicated that people try to make it.
How do you fight those who view compassion, love, acceptance and tolerance as weakness that are to be exploited and utilized? It starts with recognizing and accepting that evil exists, and that regardless of how “good” you think you are, there is someone out there who wants to end you. While people are rushing to change their social media profiles, creating messages of #PrayforManchester, and offering meaningless platitudes of love and support to make themselves feel better, evil is planning. While crowds are gathering at scenes of death and destruction with candles and messages of love, hope and healing, evil is trying to figure out a way to destroy those people with a vehicle loaded with explosives. Don’t believe me? Just wait.
Evil does not value life.
Evil does not value choice, opinion, feelings, thoughts, desires, aspirations, freedoms, and individuality.
Evil views compassion and tolerance as WEAKNESS, not strength.
Evil values the sword, pain, and above all else, FEAR.
In a week, the events in Manchester will no longer lead the headlines. In a month, only those directly involved will remember. In a year, it will be date mourned by those who have a hole where a family member used to be, and a day forgotten by everyone else. This cycle will repeat itself, over and over, event after event, until we change the way we think, and allow that to influence the way we act.
You will never understand these events until you make an attempt to understand the people executing them. Burying your head in the sand, and rushing towards a theory of isolation and containment does not work. Not if you want to live. Building a wall, physically or metaphorically may seem like a good idea, but it will be the undoing of both nations, and individuals. Walls can provide a barrier, but what happens when they become occupied by an enemy force looking down and in? When that happens, the walls built for protection become a prison, and there is no escape. Make no mistake, evil wants you to wall yourself in. Evil wants you to bury your head in the sand. Evil wants you to be tolerant. Evil wants you to be politically correct. Evil wants you to believe that it is YOUR actions that have caused and created their actions. Evil wants you to feel responsible.
If none of that makes sense, just go outside and stand in the sun. The most righteous person on earth casts a shadow, just as the most virtuous among us has the capacity for evil. It is that simple. If you stop denying the existence of evil in yourself, it will help you understand, and be more prepared for the evil actions of others. Don’t turn your back to it, embrace it. If you refuse to do so, you will never understand the world around you. If you think you are pure, step to the sidelines and accept the consequences. You will be a spectator, you will often feel like a victim, and you will be manipulated to feel at fault.
The strategy for fighting this enemy is the subject for another post. There are a variety of them, some with more merits than others. No strategy will be effective without understanding and acceptance of the enemy we are facing. Without understanding, regardless of how advanced and effective our weaponry, we will eventually lose.
Hope is not a strategy, and neither is love, compassion, and tolerance. They do not defeat evil, they provide it the opportunity to maneuver.
16 thoughts on “Stop Being Surprised”
Another good one. It’s unfortunate that most Americans don’t take islam at its word and actions. Head in sand much?
Except that I think that it’s the capacity for love, compassion, tolerance that makes it worth fighting this enemy. And I also believe that many, or most people — we should let them develop this capacity into a principle in life.
We have to have something to protect.
And I’d rather have a constant push and pull between them and those of us who see evil for what it is, even if it somewhat decreases our efficiency in fighting this evil, to keep each other in check. As long as we have enough respect — and dare I say love — for one another, to let them do their thing, and to have them let us do our thing.
I look forward to hearing your strategies.
So are you a person who says we have to fight Islam? When most Muslims are victims?
No, I am not a person who is saying that we need to fight Islam. I am saying we need to fight the radicalized individuals and organizations that are hell bent on our destruction. The Muslim community is the only actual solution to this problem.
What do you mean by most Muslims are victims?
Where exactly did you see anything about fighting Islam? The blog is about completely different matters.
Greg, and others like him, only read what they want to read. Nothing will ever change that…until it hits them on a very personal level. Then, and only then, will they truly see it with their own eyes.
Agreed. Lumping all Muslims with the evil does thevwork of the terrorists for them.
Are you saying innocent Muslim victims aren’t worth fighting for? Your question has no defensible stance.
I am not good nor am I evil though the capacity for both exists inside of me. I have been called “good” for things I have done just as I have been called “evil” and “dangerous” for other things I have done. I don’t choose to embrace the potential for evil inside of me or in the world around me, but I don’t ignore it either. Instead I choose to acknowledge its existence and to utilize it as needed for good. Most people don’t understand this apparent paradox. When they see the “other side” of me I become a stranger to them simply because I no longer fit their idea of who they think I should be.
My concern is that one day too many people will get too angry and the pendulum will swing too far the other way. It seems to me that many people lack self-control and an understanding of the importance of moderation and that when they finally decide to rise up against what is happening in the world, they will go too far in the opposite direction and the end result will not be better, only different.
I’m looking forward to hearing the strategies to fight the radicals.
What we can do is lead the conversations about this incident , our culture is what we tolerate. What is missing from the conversations is going beyond the sympathetic reaction to taking a stand on what we will tolerate and what we will not. We should be proactive in our dialogue and in our action. Everyone can make a difference, to drive our policies, to set the standards of how we and our descendents will live and to decide when we have had enough of these cowardly acts. Our culture is what we tolerate, have we not seen enough to respond; what will it take? Exercise the freedoms we do still enjoy, this cannot be the new normal.
Thank you for explaining this to me. I have been wondering why all the horrible attacks have been happening. It had to be more than politics. I just hope the strategies you will outline work. And am I strong enough.
This one line says it all
“You will never understand these events until you make an attempt to understand the people executing them.”
Great post, Andy. I hope that you’ll write the follow-up post on strategies.
In that split second where one considers anything, or anyone, other than the perpetrator as to blame, the war is lost.
So. Damn. Quiet.