WORLD FUTURE FUND
YOU CANNOT FIGHT HATE WITH HATE
COURAGE IN THE FACE OF EVIL
THE IMPORTANCE OF JUSTICE IN THE CONTROL OF VENGEANCE
Justice through violence can be justified in many situations. We are not pacifists. However, to build a lasting peace, vengeance cannot supersede justice.
How should we respond to evil? Should we repay every atrocity with a new atrocity? We believe this is a road to disaster.
We believe in justice, but justice does not mean an ever escalating cycle of violence.
We include some news stories below that show the courage of two individuals who have responded to hate by opposing pointless cruelty and violence.
These people placed themselves at risk to stand up for the principle that justice cannot be replaced by vengeance.
These people put themselves at risk to protect the rights of people, whose ideas they opposed.
As a planet we need to think more clearly about how we resolve our differences.
Hatred of evil is a good thing. However, the defeat of evil requires self discipline or we run the risk of becoming the very evil that we oppose.
SOUTH AFRICAN BISHOP TUTU PUSHED THROUGH AN ANGRY MOB TO RESCUE
A SUSPECTED POLICE INFORMER
In Johannesburg South Africa in 1985. Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Laureate, saved a suspected police informer from almost certain death as a crowd of angry black youths punched and kicked the man, doused him in gasoline and were within seconds of lighting him on fire. Tutu rescued the man just as he was about to be thrown into a burning car with a gasoline soaked tire around his neck.
As Tutu and another Black Anglican Bishop, Simone Nkoane, pulled the half conscious, badly bleeding man to safety, the crowd of more than 60 youths punched and whipped the man with fury. "Kill him, kill him! Burn him, burn him!" they chanted. Tutu was in danger himself as the crowd surged around him, but Tutu and Nkoane managed to escape with the bleeding man. Tutu returned later to lecture the youths on "the need to use righteous and just means for a righteous and just struggle."
Tutu stated that the youths told him that he was "saving someone who was the cause of so much trouble to them,...someone who deserved what he was getting." In the end though, Tutu states that the youths rather reluctantly seemed to concede to his point, that such attacks on other blacks, whatever their position, discredited the fight against the apartheid system that kept the whites in power.
At the time that Tutu put himself in danger to save the life of a suspected police informer, violence towards those "working with the system" or collaborating with the whites in charge was at an all time high. By taking a courageous risk for peace, Tutu helped dismantle some of the reckless violence that was taking place. We should remember Tutu's words, in any struggle righteousness should prevail over unguided vengeance.
AFRICAN AMERICAN TEENAGER, KESHIA THOMAS, SAVED WHITE MAN WITH SS TATTOO
Another example we would like to highlight is the teenager who saved a man with an SS tattoo (BBC News). Keshia Thomas was just 18 years old when the Ku Klux Klan held a rally in her home town in Ann Arbor Michigan. As a fairly progressive town, Ann Arbor was an odd place for the Ku Klux Klan to show up. Therefore, hundreds of anti-klan protesters gathered to show the klan that they were not welcome. The event was supposedly under control. Police in riot gear and armed with tear gas protected the small group of klansmen. But then a woman with a megaphone shouted, "There's a klanman in the crowd!"
The group of anti-klan protesters turned around to see a middle aged white man wearing a confederate t-shirt who happened to be near their group. The man tried to walk away, but the protesters, including Thomas, followed "just to chase him out." It was not clear that the man was even a part of the klan, but his confederate shirt and SS tattoo represented a symbol of hatred to those in the crowd. There were shouts of "Kill the Nazi!" The man began to run, but was knocked to the ground. A group surrounded him and started hitting him with their wooden sticks and placards. The mob mentality had taken over.
"When people are in a crowd they are more likely to do things they would never do as an individual. Someone had to step out of the pack and say, 'This isn't right.'" Thomas responded in an interview. So the teenager threw herself on top of a man she did not know in order to shield him from the blows.
Mark Brunner, a student photographer who witnessed the episode remarked on Thomas's actions, "She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her...Who does that in this world?"
A MESSAGE FOR THE LEADERS OF OUR WORLD TODAY
In considering the deeds of these two brave individuals, we need to think about the larger message here. What is justice? Is justice the continued bombing and destruction of those who oppose you?
Or is justice creating a balanced system with a lasting peace? The dismantling of Apartheid South Africa is in part, a result of the peaceful actions of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. This was a huge accomplishment because it achieved the dismantling of a corrupt system without a bloody race war. A similar victory was achieved in the United States by Martin Luther King. He helped end segregation through peaceful protest and powerful rhetoric. You cannot fight hate with more hate. Hatred must be dealt with by justice.
OTHER TALES OF COURAGE IN THE FACE OF EVIL