Beware Fear

I remember the attacks on 9/11. I don’t remember the morning very vividly, but I remember the backlash. I remember the attacks on Muslims because the attacks were connected to Islamic extremists. Particularly, I remember a middle-eastern man getting brutally beaten and his shop utterly destroyed simply because of his heritage.

Fear has a way of bringing out the worst in people. It catches and spreads like wildfire, unable to be contained by rational thought. After the attacks in Paris just a few days ago, the fear that America is next has caused a tidal wave of hatred toward groups of people that aren’t all to blame. Instead of focusing on the actual issue, anger and refusal to help the refugees trying to escape the same kind of pain that Paris was exposed to is running rampant. Denying help to the people who arguably need it most is a painful reminder that fear causes ripples of paralyzing pain. Pain that in turn only hurts others.

I think in times like these, generalizations mistakenly help people to cope with emotions they’ve yet to process. So many are quick to blame all of Islam for the tragedy in Paris. What we need to remember is that every religion has groups of extremists who claim to be working for their god. Just as ISIS claims Islam, the KKK claims Christianity and the JDL claims Judaism. Even Buddhism has their violent radical groups, including the Buddhist Power Force. Small groups can inspire hatred even when the larger entity does not agree or condone their actions. The actions and beliefs of the few can effect the world’s view of the larger group.

I don’t have the answers on how to solve the problems at hand. I don’t have proposals to help generate peace throughout the world. This is why I’d never be a good public official. What I do know is this: blaming the actions of a few on the masses because they share the same religion helps the problem become worse. Sharing ideas of killing off Muslims does not help. Stopping the aid for one of the largest groups of people who desperately need to be saved from the genocide surrounding them at every turn does not help. By refusing love and human decency for others, we allow fear to rule. Fear only breeds contempt and hatred. Shouldn’t those be the things we want eradicated from our lives most?

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France - July 2014
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France – July 2014

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