MEDIA has been reporting a deluge of deaths—from the 49 innocents who perished from the hate and terror attack in Florida, to extrajudicial killings in progress in various areas in the Philippines.
While mortality is something we all must face, death under a cloud of hate is something no one should ever experience.
A hate crime is broadly defined as a criminal act—usually an assault by an individual or a group, which is motivated by hostility toward the victim.
This aggression may arise from differences in beliefs, culture, geography and even the romantic choices.
It can happen to anyone; no one is shielded from hate, because you will always be different to someone.
Hate is a product of the inability to control others; a combination of fear of the different, of anger, and a desire to usurp freedom.
Hate is a virus that spreads from one mind to another. It is passed through one’s mouth; it can be as sarcastic as saying, “It’s okay, just don’t be too gay.”
It festers in the heart and clouds the soul, then it gets us in a feverish rage. The more indoctrinated the hate, the more powerful it becomes, and twists our lives without us even knowing.
Hate makes us feel righteous and privileged. All those we hate are beneath us—we consider them less human. In fact, we let our hate turn us into beasts.
Hate is spread through ridicule, disrespect and condemnation.
The seeds of hate may not be immediately visible, but they soon grow into trees so big that when they fall down on the victim, it’s too late to stop.
Time and again in history, we read about people who forged the righteousness of their religion or political agenda to wage war on hapless nations.
There were also people who expressed their hate by segregating people by their color.
And there was the infamous Stonewall riots, which was caused by police raids on a gay bar.
There are other instances that point to the terrifying outcome of a simple dislike, a sneer, or an accusing finger pointed toward an unsuspecting victim.
The hate we impart on others reverberates, a ripple on a pond that spreads. It causes pain not only to those we hurt intentionally, but also those around them.
It hurts us as well, for when we express hate, in return we somehow suffer from hate, too.
Warriors of hate
People have virtually created warriors of hate around the world. It is seen in the inaction of teachers when bullying happens. It is seen when we “like” hateful comments on social media, when we spread lies without checking out facts simply because we dislike a certain individual or group. It is seen when we think that our belief system is the only way to live in this world.
It doesn’t have to be spoken, but the moment we look at ourselves as superior to others, we’ve already contributed to the problem.
Hate wins when we let ourselves be consumed by it, so much so that we forget that the target of our hate is human, after all—that this person goes through the same set of emotions and human experiences like we do; that this person could be a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, someone’s child, or someone’s lover.
The problem with hate is that it takes time to unlearn our own biases. It takes introspection for us to realize that the confusion it causes is a reflection of what’s within—that in fact we do contribute to the hate around us.
The problem with hate is that most of the time we only see what’s wrong with it when it is too late.