Tuesday, February 21, 2006

On Freedom from Fear

What price freedom from fear?

My government try to terrify us with talk of terrorism and terror
they stifle free speech for it, tear up habeas corpus, incarcerate without charge,
pass laws without Parliament to ''protect us'' against a terrible enemy
whom they say comes 'out of the blue',

but this enemy is only human. He did not come out of the blue sky.

Later, it turns out my Government knew the enemy was there, and their actions - their war - would help to create the conditions in which this enemy can thrive...

my Government knew this, yet they went ahead with their actions anyway

Now they have sown the wind, and now we are reaping the whirlwind

People, if this is a war on terror then we are losing,

See how daily terror grows, the fear of terror grows,
and the hate and fear that feeds the hate and fear grows and grows.

Still, there is time to change,
to step back from the abyss,

I know, I believe we all know, deep down, this truth:

hate cannot be defeated by hate, nor bombs with bombs,
fear cannot be defeated with fear, nor anger by anger.

There is another way.
It is hard, but no harder than creating a spiral of destruction that feeds on itself, that escalates the hate and the hurt and the screaming and dying and crying.

Stand tall, and let them hurt you.

Take the blows and do not react, let them rain down and walk on, bloodied but unbowed.
You are stronger than the enemy.

They may attack and beat you, they may bomb you and hurt you, they may try to kill you, they may torture and goad you, tell lies about you, but you can survive it all,
and you can walk on, still your essential self, still you.

You do not need to change what you believe in, you can still hold onto hope, justice, love and to what you know is true. You do not have to descend to the level of those who abuse you.

I know that this is true. I know that this is possible. There is nothing to be afraid of, even pain, even death. Inside, always, a light still shines, that they cannot touch, that they cannot see.

There is nothing to be afraid of, in the end, only fear itself.


Blogger Bob Piper said...

Terence Macswiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, died on the 78th day of his hunger strike in 1920. He was imprisoned in Brixton prison for possesion of seditious articles and documents. Macswiney wrote about the British: "It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer."

However, turning the other cheek, letting the blows rain down upon you, letting them torture and goad you is the language of either saints or fools. We do not have to return the hate (or detain people without trial for 90 days) but we do have a responsibility to protect those we care for. Not to do so is to allow children to walk into the road to teach them a lesson. It is too painful a lesson to learn and we must do what we can to avoid the suffering.

February 21, 2006 6:54 pm  
Blogger fjl said...

I Love this one. Coming up with words like this, I want you to stay on top blogs xx

February 21, 2006 9:11 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I think the other part of this is to care for the vulnerable, to protect the suffering - this is not supposed to be masochism, martyrism - it is to make oneself vulnerable *from a position of strength*.

Part of this position is also to reach out and to cherish those who deserve cherishing, protect those who need protection.

It is about basic humanity, being vulnerable, caring for the vulnerable, recognising our and others humanity and vulnerablilty and finding strength from that. Rather than demonising them, which gives the enemey strength in alienation. Common ground.

I am not a holy fool; I would not willingly walk into the fire. Nor push others into it to prive a point. I would avoid harm if I can see it coming. I see no point at all in trying to be a saint or martyr. I was thinking more of how those who are already strong need not meet hate with hate,if they are strong enough to withstand it. It is stronger to just take it than to react like a frightened child, and lash out in fear as I see governments doing in response to terror - and making more terror, feeding more fear. This to will pass, after all.

But if people are going to attack, then maybe we should let them, whilst trying to defend ourselves as much as we can from it.Pre-emptive aggression makes you aggressive enemy they say you are.

I was thinking of how lashing out and revenge and retaliation does not seem to be a truly strong position to me, how meeting 'terror' with fear'and anger seems to be playing into the hands of those who want fear and terror to be the dominant theme -

and how an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Apologies for sounding like a sermon: I don;t mean to. This has been much on my mind and I am trying to live by it, but it is veryhard

February 21, 2006 10:18 pm  
Blogger RW said...

Hi again Rachel - just thought you might be interested in a new report from Amnesty on UK "war on terror" policies - it's the most detailed account I've seen and, when you read behind the usual soberly worded Amnesty lingo, pretty damning!


February 25, 2006 8:14 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

Cheers Rw, off to have a look...

February 25, 2006 6:47 pm  

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