For the past two days Sam and I have been glued to the TV, watching the news of the hostage drama unfolding in south Bombay. We have been so moved by the incredible suffering being experienced there- the hostages and their families, families mourning the loss of loved ones, and families that will learn of their losses in the coming hours. But I must also remind myself of the suffering experienced by the hostage-takers and their families. To dehumanize them is to perpetuate the isolation and ignorance that spawned their actions. To advocate further violence against them does not fundamentally change what has occurred nor prevent similar activity in the future. Violent retribution may provide a temporary release for our collective fear, vulnerability, powerlessness, insecurity, or sense of injustice. But is does not relieve the true suffering.
So, what do we do?
I say we because I do believe the solution lies in our collective efforts. The world needs activists as well as scholars. We need teachers and doctors, selfless service and financial commitment. We need spiritual leaders who stand up and denounce terrorism and violence in its many forms.
More than ever, we need compassion.
Yesterday Sam and I celebrated a non-traditional Thanksgiving with a quiet sushi dinner for two at a local restaurant. We needed a break from the constant news coverage, but sitting at the dinner table we found we could think of nothing else. We remembered everyone directly affected by the tragedy. We speculated about a resolution to the stand-off. We were grateful beyond words for the blessings in our own lives that are too numerous to count. Our reflection certainly was a true Thanks-Giving.
We also wondered aloud about our social responsibility. What can we do to promote tolerance? How can we work for social justice? How can society be transformed? Right now I have only questions, not answers. I welcome your comments and suggestions. How do you work for social justice? What do you think needs to be changed?
What is your vision for a better world?