|Brian Joseph Johns|
The news today about what occurred was very sad and indeed frightening that life can be so fragile and be gone at a moment's notice. I could never picture the kind of person who'd coordinate the plan to build a set of explosive devices and devise the means to get them undetected into the midst of a busy airport. You might read about that kind of thing in a book or see it in an action movie but there it is make believe. Sometimes a little bit of a social mirror too albeit a sometimes skewed one.
The more it happens the less it makes sense but the more it can be seen as to the intent and motives of such persons who might do something as such. Some might see themselves as doing "God's work" and punishing the wicked for hubris, greed, gluttony <insert sin here> etc... but to do take up arms and to do such a thing is to deny a belief in any God so it appears once again to be hypocrisy and to unsettle those who might nest next to each other. I mean who'd want a world where the Hatfields and the McCoys could live as neighbors without so much as a scuffle with one another? Never mind the diverse variety of people and beliefs we have in this world living next to one another without pitching rocks at each other. So such acts are a way of making us distrust one another and sometimes even to make the victim of such an attack into the bad by way of reaction.
After all, if your reaction is far greater in damage than was caused to you, then there is a debt for a future generation of the original victims that they will likely be swindled into paying creating yet more resent and further conflict. To create a martyr that results directly in response to such an attack because that martyr will either fuel further violence or impose a social debt (sometimes called the Casus Belli) against the nation or people that retaliate. It guarantees that the conflict will continue in the future and that the price of retaliation is debt upon the future generations of the victims because its the victims who end up retaliating.
That still doesn't bring back the lost life or heal the wounds but sometimes understanding your foes is the key to protecting yourself from further damage. From stepping into the same trap over and over again at the cost of trust. I'm very sorry for the people of Belgium tonight and will be for some time. I hope that the energy and momentum in the next few days that might lead to retaliation is weathered with wisdom and perhaps by heeding what advice I've set forth here for to react is to play right into their trap. Remember that you are the victims.
What should happen if it hasn't already as a an immediate response to this situation is a message from all Mosques indicating a stance against extremist violence and complete support of the people of Belgium in both official word and deed. Being part of a secular society means the understanding that we live under the rule of law which hopefully lacks the kind of prejudice the bombers had that resulted in the bombings in the first place. Protect the lives of the Belgian people as a whole and not with bias based upon culture or belief. Mostly to ensure that this sort of thing doesn't keep happening as it has in Paris, London and other centres across Europe and Asia. My thoughts are with you and will be for some time.
For Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
Another loss in the same day was that of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. It struck me kind of hard despite our differences in attitude I thought of him as most did, someone who represented the average Torontonian and was prepared to do some of the dirty work to tighten up Toronto's fiscal budget. No small task during the financial crunch of the years which he took office. He was charismatic in a sort of quirky way and had the approach that he was like loud, boiserous and fun loving Uncle one might have (before the crack scandal).
One of the things that saddened me about his situation was related to the scandal around his crack cocaine use (something I've always stood against for the damage it caused in some communities since the 1990s). He'd obviously become a victim of manipulation by his fellow gangster dealers as well and despite the fact that I don't use crack cocaine myself, I am very familiar with how they operate and have done battle with them numerous times. A bunch who like to manipulate or even attempt to "control" their victims and I believe he was a victim of just such a thing by way of his dealers and those who attempted to blackmail him with the video called the infamous Dixon bloods or Dorkhead bloods if you'd prefer.
Despite my stance against crack cocaine I really felt sorry for him when I saw a couple of his rants on television. Such a gang can affect people who don't use any narcotics whatsoever just as much as they can someone who does. They only need time and proximity to practice such a thing against their victims. I've been one myself at times as I said in doing battle with such groups. I did not see eye to eye with his views towards the Gay and Transgender community (I support the Gay and Transgender communities everywhere) but I saw a human being who'd become a victim of other dastardly forces in the city that must sooner or later be faced for the safety of the diversity in Toronto as well because it is forces as such that will polarize people one against the other.
By the way I speak as a Buddhist (perhaps to the shock of some) but as a Buddhist that represents the interests of all people. We all have our down times and times when we're not our best (I have such struggles many times a week). I'd prefer to see Rob Ford's legacy as his embrace of the Toronto team spirit, his willingness to take on the risky and difficult job of balancing a budget during a financial crisis and then overcoming substance abuse issues all in the sometimes unforgiving and discerning public eye. I saw his rants as clear evidence of his victimization but he still courageously managed to tackle that challenge every day. I didn't vote for you but I'll definitely miss you and my heart goes out to you and your family. Cancer is a merciless killer but not so nearly as merciless as the people who victimized you. Let's hope that both can be cured some day.
I'll be posting this same text on The Butterfly Dragon as well.
Brian Joseph Johns
Hate is not love and love is not hate.