Sunday, February 3, 2008

Terrorism and the “Crazy Lady”

Well, I am surprised. In Iraq, the terrorists used two women, one (at least) with Down syndrome, as bombs. I am not surprised at this. I am surprised that the world is surprised.
This is not the first time that they have used people with Down syndrome as bombs. But why should we be so surprised? Do we really think that people who do not care about their bomb victims would care about using to their advantage someone with developmental disability? If you think so, than you are underestimating the power of hate.
Frankly, this abuse of these women seems to me no more wrong than the terrorists’ abuse of the victims of the blast. The killing of innocent people because you are angry, for political gain, for whatever, is wrong. It all stems from the dehumanization of others.
As a teenager, I read and “held” by a pacifist viewpoint for a while. That pacifism evaporated instantaneously with the Yom Kippur war. I suddenly realized that I had been basing my world view on the assumption that the Arabs have a mindset like ours. And while they ARE like us in many ways, the mindset of the culture is not the same as the western one. To know and protect yourself from an enemy, you need to know him, both the bad and the good. You have to learn what makes him “tick”. But I AM NOT SAYING THAT WE SHOULD CONDONE WRONG BEHAVIOR EVEN IF WE UNDERSTAND IT.
And this is a challenge for all of us. Since we hate wrong-doing, evil acts, and the like, it is oh so easy to dehumanize those that we disagree with. (Demonizing those who are only “different” is much worse.) But maybe if we could see what makes the other side tick, we could come closer to finding solutions. But one thing I am sure of: as long as people educate their children to hate, there will be terrorism and war. We must protect ourselves as well as we can, while teaching our children that we need to see what the other side needs, what are their real needs, and try and find a way to help them accomplish that without hurting ourselves.
And we adults have to be an example: not to treat as inferior any person, not due to color, religious belief--- or intelligence quota. This applies to all of us. Can we treat the grown child who thinks differently than us as an adult? The person we disagree with on religious issues (whether too lax or too religious)? (This does not mean giving up our beliefs, but realizing that we can not rule another person’s life.) Can we respect as a human the menial worker, the non affluent, the uneducated?
If we don’t than we shouldn’t expect any changes for the better in the near future.

1 comment:

rickismom said...

Note: It was later disputed if these women had Down syndrome or some other emotional/mental disorder. Although that is immaterial to my point.