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.