We all have a duty to reject hatred

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 12:00am

I found that Tom Plate in his column headlined 'Give peace a chance by insisting on goodwill to humanity' (South China Morning Post, December 31), took the easy path by equating all religions in their levels and pervasiveness of hatred.

His approach of, 'If I'm not able to appease them all, then I'm certainly not going to appease one,' was too simplistic.

Mr Plate did not ponder the following paradox: being engaged in violent national conflict with another country does not automatically translate into a hatred of that nation or its people.

Jews, for example, do not strap bombs to their backs to kill massive numbers of innocents, and do not burn flags and effigies of their 'enemies'. They don't prohibit the formation of peace groups, or live under a dictatorship. And they don't educate their youth to honour their fathers and mothers through the ultimate glorification of death, a grotesque form of murder euphemistically called martyrdom.

Jews do not waste their time with the concept of hate. They don't talk of it.

In fact, they condemn hate, in particular, collective hate as it runs contrary to their 3,500-year-old book of life, the Bible.

The individual Jew has historically engaged in acts of intense religious dedication, self-improvement, and a renewed contribution to society in response to his own suffering. In sanctifying life Jews have consciously chosen not to dwell in a world of revulsion and hate.

Hatred is a condition of choice, not an obligatory response to injustice. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King proved this point with great courage, but one need not be a leader of a nation to make such a statement. It is a layman's prerogative as well.

Sadly, humanity has been reminded that horrific acts of terror can be performed under the banner of virtually any political cause.

We must all condemn hatred.



Institute for Conflict Resolution