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In September 2011, Choose Humanity, Not Hatred

12 September 2011 One Comment

Abby Smith

By Abby Smith
Outreach and Administration Manager

“Deep hatred turns into radicalism and that is where we find the problem.  If we work to stop the hatred we can stop the violence.”

***

My day started out pretty normal: running late for school, hastily eating my pop tart while watching the TV in the kitchen at my home in west Texas.  I was 13 years old, and on what seemed like it would be a normal day, my life was changed  forever.  I watched as the first broadcast of the plane hitting the tower was aired.  Terrorist attack did not enter my mind. We live in America, we are not vulnerable.  As I rushed into my first period class I saw the second plane hit. “America is under attack,” said the newslady. Attack? America? This could not be real.

At the age of 13 my world view was jaded and I was ignorant of the type of hatred that can consume people.  I did not understand what was happening, and as the reports rolled in and the terrible footage continued to play it still did not occur to me that this would change my life.  Yet one single event thousands of miles away would shape my future.

I was raised in west Texas, not exactly the most open minded or diverse place to grow up.  I always knew I wanted to change the world and wanted all people to live equally.  I had met very few Muslim people in my life and after that day I was told we hate them.  I was told that anyone who is Arab is Muslim and anyone who is Muslim is a terrorist.  I was ignorant about what Islam is and what those who follow it believe.  I remember the flags and the patriotism that arose after that day, how unified our nation seemed to be. Little did I realize we were unified in hatred.  Misunderstanding of a small group of people had led us to mass hatred against a race, religion, ethnicity, and region.  We hated people we had never met.

I moved to Washington, DC when I was 19 and started school at George Mason University, a very diverse place compared to where I am from.  I met several Muslim and Arab people in my time there and realized they are no different than me―just people living their lives and following their beliefs.  I ended up taking a minor in Middle Eastern studies to better understand something that was so foreign to me.  I have a neighbor who is a wonderful Muslim woman from Morocco, and every time I speak with her I am reminded that she is human just like me.  She may wear a headscarf and worship differently but she still has bills to pay, kids to feed, a house to clean, a job to do, and love to give.  This nation has been bound by hatred so much that we have failed to see humanity.

As the International Day of Peace approaches this month I can’t help but think of how important it is, now more than ever, to create a mutual understanding of each other.   Peace does not come from hatred but from love and understanding.  You can ask people if they want peace and there will be a resounding yes, but ask people to stop hating others and it is much more difficult.  We must learn to love each other despite our differences and work to create understanding.  Deep hatred turns into radicalism, and that is where we find the problem.  If we work to stop the hatred we can stop the violence.  I encourage you to take action as the International Day of Peace approaches, to make a new friend who is different than you, to come to know and understand them and embrace each other’s differences.

I don’t want my future children’s lives to be changed by an event born of hatred the way mine was, by the images of the burning towers that are stuck in my head forever. I want better for my children than to see a world filled with hatred. I want them to see a world filled with love. What will you do to make the future a better and brighter place?

The views and opinions expressed on the Peace X Peace staff blog are those of the individual staff members, and do not necessarily represent the organization.


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One Comments to “In September 2011, Choose Humanity, Not Hatred”
  1. Sabbahi says:

    Greetings and thanx Abby For your great efforts
    I am a believer too, spreading a culture of social peace and coexistence to egyptian women..
    am Executive Director ( life association for development )
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/124355115960/

    I trained 800 women on the concepts of peaceful co-existence and acceptance of other
    On the occasion of International Day of Peace .. I will do a trip to Spain – 2 week , for women qualifying from training

    I hope to publish the actual peace with neighboring countries (Jordan, Israel and Lebanon) for women
    We are currently establishing a secular trend to spread the concepts of humanitarian

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