In the wake of the horrific massacre at the Tree of Life Jewish Synagogue in PA, our heads are all bowed in sorrow. I was heart-broken. I immediately thought of my own Jewish relatives – what if? Since that day we have all offered our prayers to God, whatever our religious denomination, in an effort to appeal to a higher power to intervene. For myself, I asked God to bring comfort to all those who have lost loved ones. For the injured to have a speedy recovery – physically and emotionally, and for those who witnessed and escaped the vile act, mental healing and freedom from fear.
It is our greatest hope that someday we can all live in a world were our children are free from racism and hatred and the foul poison it spews – a world without anti-Semitism. Like everyone, I’ve been watching the news for updates and been a bit bewildered at the coverage. After less than 24-hours we are all forced back to the benign, rhetorical, electoral drivel. Don’t they know what just happened here?
Having been brought up most of my life in war-torn Northern Ireland, like many others I have experienced first hand the limitless hatred that atrocities can bring. As the flags of our heart fly at half-mast once more, I truly believe, if we are serious about contributing to real change, we need to hit the pause button. Let me explain…
Peace at any price?
The people of Northern Ireland endured the torment of violence for over 35 years. However, faith was the one factor that helped the people to endure and in effect the one principality that won out in the end. We the people just didn’t want any more gut-wrenching loss. A legacy of pain to be inherited by our children was not an option anymore.
We vowed to each other that enough was enough and change began to happen. But it wasn’t easy. It required our religious and community leaders to work hard, WITH the people. It required our politicians to set aside entrenched beliefs and work hard, FOR the people. Above all it required the people to work TOGETHER, for our children and for their future. Exchanging the bomb and the rifle for a very different set of ‘weapons’ – communication, respect, patience and above all love. These would be the cohesive ingredients that would cement the change.
So when I read the views being expressed towards our leaders in the wake of this atrocity, I have to say I was disappointed and hurt. I thought surely that which is being broadcast, written and expressed will reflect the abhorrence of the crime and start to make constructive suggestions as to how to combat this evil in our midst. But instead of one voice we have many.
In essence, the media – mainstream and social, has become our Tower of Babel.
At this moment in time, I believe that we are all vulnerable. However, we still have hope if we work together and believe that God is at the helm, helping us to get it right. What Northern Ireland taught me was that peace is worth fighting for and with God’s help in the days ahead, we shall have the victory over anti-Semitism too!
“Turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it!” (Psalm 34:14)