After reading this article (https://quillt.wordpress.com/2016/06/26/coexisting-with-or-without-the-bumper-sticker/) recently posted by my daughter, Theresa Willingham, I began to give some serious thought to “Coexistence.” Could we – can we – really coexist in the world we live in today?
Online research first led me to the thoughts and writings of Ariel Dorfman, whose plays include “Death and the Maiden” and “Purgatorio.” I have quoted this passage from an article that appeared in The Guardian in 2008:
“We inhabit a time of fear and mistrust: nothing could be more urgent than asking ourselves how we should react when we have been overwhelmed by a monstrous offence; nothing could be more imperative than the need to understand how easy it is to go from victim to accuser, from accuser to invader, from violator to victim.”
(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/17/chile.theatre) You must read the entire article)/
. Dorfman is also credited for saying:
“I’ve been wrestling with the dilemma of how you coexist with those you hate.”
This, of course, led me to think about hate, and that led me to Nelson Mandela who wrote in his autogiobraphy in 1994, “Long Walk to Freedom,”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” (http://abcnews.go.com/International/nelson-mandelas-inspirational-quotes/story?id=8879848).
While I agree with the statement that “No one is born hating another person . . .People must learn to hate . . .” I do not know how or if everyone who hates can be taught to love those they have learned to hate. While my stepfather was one of the most hateful people I have ever know, he must have had some love in him. He loved fishing and hunting, and he must have loved my mother when he married her, but he hated *Blacks (he referred to them using the “N” word). He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and once arrested for helping to dynamite a Black neighborhood in NW Miami. He also hated Catholics and Jews (he burned crosses on peoples lawns and once let a live pig loose in the lobby of a famous Jewish hotel in Miami Beach) and Yankees (why he married my mother who was from the state of New Jersey I will never understand), and I feel certain that he hated me; he never called me by my name – he just called me “boy,” whenever he wanted me for something. Although he never physically abused me, he mentally tortured me, harassing me, humiliating me, taunting me, laughing cruelly at me, day-after-day for the 6 years that I lived in his household.
How do we teach a young child to love the bully who is abusing him, or the bully to love the child he abuses? Should we, in fact teach the bullied child to love his abuser?
How do we teach the Islamic children that are schooled to hate us to love us? Is it possible?
Will we ever be able to stop individuals like the Tsarnaev brothers and Omar Mateen from hating us and orchestrating another mass murder?
Can the peoples of the world really coexist? You tell me how, Please!
*BLACKS: I am using this word to describe African Americans because my stepfather died before the Rev. Jesse Jackson made the title “African American” famous in a speech in 1988. (http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/african-american-term-brief-history)