Musings on Three Ex-Terrorists

One of the benefits of going to a university is the availability of lectures from very interesting people.

Yesterday, I had the benefit of listening to the stories and passions of three ex-terrorists. They were very emotional in their entreaties.

What struck me the most, however, was that as little children, they were taught from an early age to kill, to hate, to destroy. To them, it was a game to have a machine gun in their hands. To them, it was honorable to be hateful.

At the age of 7, after one of them transported explosive material underground into Israel, he was hailed a hero by his mother who stood outside their home proclaiming this. They knew what it was to martyr themselves for a cause and they were not afraid to die. They wanted to please the people they loved so they did these things believing themselves to be in the right, to be in the glorious.

At the age of 4, one of them dreamed about slicing the heads off their enemies and then being martyred himself. He dreamed of rising to heaven to meet his laughing God saying “Good and faithful servant. Only you could have pulled that one off!” 4 years old! What was I, as a 4 year-old, dreaming of? What did I know of honor and hatred as a 4 year-old?

If you teach a child over and over again what is wrong and what is right to you, they will internalize it as their own. Sure, I think it’s time to teach our children what is reality, what is death, what is good, what is beautiful. I think it’s time to teach our children that maybe dreamland isn’t really all there. But, we need to be excruciatingly careful. Not to tear their hopes away and twist their desires until they can kill someone and not be affected by it. We need to teach our children that they are loved and to love others accordingly. We must teach them to be kind, to be gentle, and to be fair.

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~ by cjt on May 31, 2007.

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