I desperately wanted this site to refrain from all things political when I helped found it. Unfortunately, the recent events at Abu Gharib and now the execution of Nick Berg have cut me to the core and I can’t hold back anymore. The political is the personal, and for me the political has fallen away and I am left so profoundly saddened that I have to say something.
Neither the photos of American soldiers denigrating Iraqi prisoners nor the video of Al-Qaida fighters beheading an American citizen shocked me. I have learned of and scene enough examples of human atrocity to know the baseness that man is capable of, and my eyes are long scarred with images of suffering and loss I fear I will one day see in person. In Abu Gharib and Nick Berg I see two cultures of people expressing their hatred of the other in the most poignant way possible. Male sexual humiliation strikes the heart of Islamic values in the same manner that the murder of innocents bites the soul of Americans. Both acts are so horrible that “worse” cannot be applied to either. Dante’s Hell has no level for this vulgarity and the shame of these actions is all of mankind’s to bear.
Hatred begets itself and certitude leads to nothing but violence. The world is snowballing out of control and the brinksmanship of violence shows no signs of slowing. Nobody is right anymore. There are no terrorists. There are no liberators. We are simply a people who have wandered so far from the path that we have forgotten we are lost.
I was told by a friend last night that the problem with religion is that it separates the sacred from the human, setting us apart from what we aspire to be. That, to me, is the essence of what makes the sacred desirable, for when I see what I am capable of in the actions of others I can only dream of a sacred that has abandoned man’s imperfections. All that separates us from it is a reluctance to let go of our hate; I pray for this realization.