There’s no such thing as a heartless ‘good cause’

Whenever something like this happens, I always find myself thinking about what both the victims and the perpetrator were doing a few hours before; they woke up, dressed, ate, talked to friends and family, laughed, noticed things, had thoughts, feelings. It does my head in. Someone they made smile in the morning was screaming about them a few hours later, weeping, praying for their safety.

And whoever carried out the attack; were there not hundreds of things permeating his senses that should have made him change his mind? Things that should have awakened his reason, his human compassion, his desire for another path in life?  How can you believe your “cause” is right (whatever it is), if you have to shut these things off in your heart and mind, or in the hearts and minds of your followers and supporters?  If you are right, why do you have to brainwash anyone and dehumanize them so much that they dehumanize others?

…When any group resorts to dramatic acts of violence, it revels their weakness and their inability to convince anyone to support their objectives; it is an attempt to blast their way out of the margins, but it just marginalizes them even more.  If you want your cause to succeed, you cannot do it by a process of dehumanization.  You need to build connections between your group and the general public, not sever them.  Help them, don’t harm them.  Empathize, don’t dehumanize.  Don’t turn your group into cold-hearted, brainwashed automatons serving their leaders; but rather compassionate, intelligent servants of the community. And if you cannot do that without it detracting from your “cause”, then you should recognize that your “cause” is wrong.

In this blog post, Shahid contemplates inhumanity following a suicide bomber attack in Turkey. His thoughts are relevant to all such acts of violence.

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