Fighting hate with reason and love for our fellow man
Decent, peace-loving folk recoil in horror at the divisive, hate-filled rhetoric that continues to reverberate across the western world following the rise of the alt right and President Trump’s refusal to single out racists and Neo Nazis for condemnation.
It is both frightening and of deep concern as those with long memories and an understanding of political history see so many parallels between what is happening today and the1930s before World War II.
In the US last week Methodist pastor Lib Campbell drew on Desmond Tutu’s words in The Book of Forgiving to show that revenge - the natural impulse to hurt someone who has hurt you - simply doesn’t work. It invariablyleads to more hate, more harm, more loss or what Tutu calls the “cycle of revenge.”
She pointed out that that cycle is never more uncontrollable than when it is stoked up by outside agitators who whip up a frenzy of mob violence often directed at completely innocent people who have come to represent an enemy.
She was right. The result of such mob violence is madness and mindlessness at work. So destructive. Yet it would never occur if the world engaged in the practice of Ubuntu.
The South African philosophy - embraced and preached by Desmond Tutu - is simply about respecting, loving and helping your fellow man and recognising that web are a global family.We need each other and we are stronger together than we are apart.
It works. It has brought people together: black and white, Arab and Jew, Christian and Muslim. The Tutu Foundation UK have also used it to establish meaningful talks between police and youth groups in some of London’s troubled inner city boroughs.
Desmond Tutu once asked: “Is there a place where we can meet? You and me? The place in the middle? The no man’s land where we straddle the lines? Where you are right and I am right, too? And both of us are wrong and wronged. Can we meet there? And look for the place where the path begins, the path that ends when we forgive.”
It was a question that has never had more relevance than it has today.