Genocide and Gatorade Bottles
A few months ago while I was still at school, I got a very interesting call from my mother. It started with us talking about all of the paperwork that we needed to send off to insurance companies so that they would pay me the money I deserved (which is another story in itself). And then my mom told me about how she had gone on a bike ride a morning or two before, and there had been a pair of Imbeciles driving in a truck who decided to toss a full Gatorade bottle at her.
By the end of the story I was shaking from anger and ready to rip off the heads of whomever had been stupid enough to chuck a full Gatorade bottle at my mother, who by the way is the most wonderful woman on earth. And in spite of the fact that I am perfectly aware of the fact that both my mother and I are grown women, and that she is perfectly capable of taking care of herself, I still very much wanted to be immature and wreak some serious havoc.
And then today I came home from church, and of course the first thing I did was grab a roll to eat. Which I chose mostly because it seemed healthier than the Twix bar that I was handed by a friend. And then I automatically continued on to do what nearly every person does at some point in the day: I got onto the computer to check my email.
While my inbox was (regrettably) empty, I did notice one thing. A link to this article.
For anyone who doesn’t particularly want to read it, it’s about a memorial service for 775 Muslim men and boys whose bodies were found and identified using that marvelous thing called DNA. The reason these 775 men and boys had to be identified by their DNA instead of the usual drivers license and social security number is that all of these people, and the other 8,000 people or so who have not been found yet, were all victims of genocide.
This interested me in a very grotesque sort of way. The first thing that interested me was the similarities between a massacre at Srebrenica and the Holocaust, which was actually something I studied this last semester. Did you know that “Genocide” wasn’t actually a word until WWII, when it was coined by someone studying/protesting what was going on in Europe? Same thing with the term “Crimes Against Humanity,” which was coined during the Nuremburg Trials following the War.
The next thing that I found interesting actually kind of threw me off balance. I had supposed that there hadn’t been any Crimes Against Humanity or Genocide after WWII, except for the nastiness that occurred in Rwanda. And then I realized that both the Rwandan Genocide and the massacre in Srebrenica occurred within my lifetime. I was three at the time of Rwanda and four at the time of Srebrenica. And I have never really had a clue about either.
What does this all have to do with a Gatorade Bottle?
It’s all the same kind of senseless, prejudiced, violence. Which is actually something that I was reminded of by my mother today. (Everyone should get more advice from their mothers. Or if not from their mothers, from my mother. Who is probably just as good.)
Other words of wisdom from my mother: Some of the acts of violence done in the name of God are often the most Godless acts.
Which is completely true. The horrific things that so many people inflict upon each other in the name of their religion probably make God cringe, and he’s seen every one of them that have ever been on the earth. It seems to me that if they had actually asked God if they should be doing something like that, he would have looked at them, given them a dirty look, and at the very least said, “Uh, no.” And if they were smart then they wouldn’t have even begun.
It makes me wonder what drives people like that. Is it some kind of sick fantasy that makes them believe that they’ll be heroes for what they’re doing? Because if that’s it, all I can think is that the true heroes are the people who are willing to take people in, and the people who are willing to die for the people who are different than them. If I ever end up in Srebrenica, I will be sure to place a flower on Rudolf Hren’s grave.
I think the more likely reason that these people are driven to do what they do is because of their own insecurities. Especially the ones over religion, politics, and economics, to list a few. It seems like the people who do the worst things are the people who can’t stand being the only one who believes what they do, and who can’t bear the idea of being wrong under any circumstances.
The closest thing I can think of today is the battle between science and religion. If you’re secure in your beliefs about religion, then there’s a place for science. If you’re secure in your beliefs about science, then there’s no qualm with religion. (Words of wisdom from my sister, the Anthropologist. Science and Religion contained in one person.)
It’s easy enough. If you want to stop some of the evils in the world, start small. Take the time to understand yourself, and then move on to try to understand the rest of the world. Once you do, there’s nothing that can truly bother you, except for (of course) people. Just try to make sure that you’re being bothered by the malicious people, not just the people who believe something different that is fundamentally good.
And try to do what Allumer is saying. Whatever you do, try to have some fun. Be grateful for the little things. Try to see what’s beautiful through the chaos. And try to enjoy everything a long the way. This is a do-it-yourself handbook contained in three little words: Make life good.