What do you do when people are killed and wounded by terrorist attacks? Do you write, talk, cry, fight, get angry, pray?
I sing. Why do I sing? Because singing calms the beast. I sing to the beast within humanity that has the capacity to be so cruel. I sing for all of us to replace hate with love and revenge with compassion. I sing to the beast because I know that capacity exists inside of everyone.
It rears its head when we are not watching. It happens when we are thinking I could never do something awful to someone else. That’s when it happens.
It happens when we are in our car stopped at a stop light and someone rear-ends us. We jump out of our car yelling at the other person, or quietly cursing them. It happens when we squeeze as much out of their insurance company as we possibly can, whether we deserve or need it or not. It happens when we blame the other driver, thinking of them as stupid or incompetent.
It happens when our unwed child comes home and tells us she is pregnant and we chastise her for allowing herself to get into this condition. It happens when we condemn her for choosing to have an abortion, keep the child, or give the child up for adoption, It happens when we choose to critisize her choice rather than walk with her compassionately through her challenges.
It happens when we complain about our boss, but never talk directly with him or her directly about our frustrations. It happens when we gossip about someoneat work. It happens when we rake our employee over the coals, whether privately or publicly. It happens when we sue another person or business.
It happens when we assume we would make better choices than someone else has made; when we assume we are better.
It happens every time we punish our children in anger. It happens every time we make a condescending remark to our spouse. It happens every time we make someone feel bad about themselves.
It happens every time we judge another through the eyes of superiority, anger, hatred or revenge.
Terrorism is what we do to ourselves and each other. Terrorism is “I’m right. You are wrong.” Terrorim is “I’m going to make you pay.” Terrorism is “I don’t care how badly I hurt you, I’m going to make you see my way.”
Terrorism is the beast that lives inside us all. That is why I sing. I sing to calm the beast in me – in all of us. I sing for love, compassion, and understanding because when the beast is calm, terrorism will die.