Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Teaching Hatred – As Worlds Collide

Al-Aqsa TV, out of Palestine, has decided to continue airing a cartoon featuring Farfur the Mouse, a Mickey look-alike. Farfur preaches hatred of the Jewish people, Israel, and the occupation of Palestine. The show has been condemned by Israel, of course, but also by the Palestinian government. But the producers of this show have not realized that they are dooming the children as much as they doom the two nations to a life of conflict.

In recovery, I am beginning to see the very real effects of resentments and hatred on an individual’s psyche. The type of resentments fostered by a program like Farfur are killers, breeding self-doubt, self-loathing, and a general lack of confidence in ones self-evaluation that most likely will plague these children throughout their lives. Once again, the innocent children of this ongoing war are the victims.

I have always focused on the impact on a child’s morals from early education in hatred. Time after time we’ve seen that kids who are taught hatred early in life have a looser grip on common morality, and are unable to distinguish absolute wrongs when it comes to the groups they hate. Whether hate groups in the South, the Nazis in Germany, or modern-day skinheads, extreme acts of violence have become more and more acceptable as hatred has been taught earlier in life.

I’m astounded by the number of people that I encounter daily who were raised on hatred. This has produced a generation of individuals who are at war with themselves; on one hand, they have been taught morality as the bible teaches it, including kindness towards your neighbor and mutual respect, on the other hand they have been trained to hate a class of people, to resent people just for being part of a specific group.

So often, it seems that these resentments are at the core of problems experienced by these people I encounter daily. Alcoholism and addiction are but the tip of the iceberg as these individuals fight with a spiritual malady that consistently pushes them suppress their feelings.

No question, it is not just people bred on hatred that feel these resentments, nor are these people the only alcoholics or addicts. But it’s not surprising that so many people who have been raised on hatred would wind up facing serious mental issues. Thus, one has to question the morality of teaching hatred to children, and ask whether the well-being of the children is being sacrificed for the teacher’s political agenda.

This is an extremely poignant question in the Middle East. Children in the region have already been robbed of a childhood by the danger they face daily. However, many indicants point to a better future on the horizon. Living in the region it was amazing how much optimism was felt by young children both on the Israeli or Palestinian side of the wall. And I feel this optimism is justified, as the two sides move ever closer to an agreement.

Even if common ground can be found, and the Palestinian people do gain a homeland, will the younger generation be able to enjoy this new life? Will they be able to build their own paradise in the desert, and live as neighbors with Israel and the other Middle Eastern countries, or will their lives be dictated by the consequences of having been taught hatred from such an early age?

It’s no surprise that not only the Israelis but the Palestinians are pushing for Farfel to be taken off the air. But many people obviously care more about propagating and winning a conflict with Israel than with securing a better future for the Palestinian people. Tonight, I’ll be saying a prayer for the children of this conflict, the innocent victims, pawns in a conflict they hardly understand. May they hear a message of peace in days to come.

Posted by Scottage at 1:20 AM / | |