The Hate Crowd

Hit in the stomach by a visual feed of hate comments – directed at others, but so what? It still hits like a bad virus, bilious in its fury, toxic in its loathing – I am shaken up by the decision that some people take: to hate someone.

It almost seems like it could be anyone. The desire to hate is there; the hatred is already frothing at the cauldron of the hater’s belly, waiting for a bypasser to scald.

And there is always a ‘reason’ to scald them. They look wrong. They aren’t part of the comforting pattern of looks and backgrounds that make the hater’s world feel less frightening and bad. They must think something awful about the rest of humanity; she’s a woman in a headscarf, so therefore – by extension, a looong extension made up of broken lines and dodgy converter plugs – she must hate gays, consent to be beaten by her husband, and be in favour of hangings/nuclear enrichment/totalitarian Islamic rule for the entire ‘civilised’ universe.

What I want to ask these insane, poison-lensed haters, is this: what do you get out of hating? Think about it completely selfishly for a minute. How are you happier, or better off in any way, by carrying around this cauldron of foaming toxic waste inside you? Do you believe that you are harming the person you hate? Do you believe that you are superior to him, and therefore he deserves to be hated? Does that feeling compensate for the vileness you are carrying around inside yourself? Does it veil it so that you continue to believe, unaware,  that your hatred is his fault for being so bloody evil?

I really do not understand what makes hatred seem like a sensible, appealing lifestyle choice.  Does it make you look cool in front of your friends? Do they also carry around the same crucible of nastiness inside them? Are you just keeping up appearances?

The sheer ridiculousness of hating someone because, apparently, they hate you makes me even more likely to tear my hair out in a fit of frustration at the stupidity and self-destructiveness of humankind. It’s like there are millions of bigots, all looking into mirrors and saying: “You disgusting great &*£%! You think you’re so great, telling everyone else they’re wrong! Look how vile you are! Your beliefs are idiotic!! You think you’re better than everyone else!!! Why don’t you just shut the hell up??!!!”

The really horrible part of it is that I hate these people myself. I read racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-whoever comments and it makes me so angry I could throw my computer out of the window (incidentally a good way of avoiding reading them again in the future).

Hatred is poison, and it only poisons the one who chooses to carry it. The bigots are all the same, the Muslim extremists, the Muslim-haters. All of them have overlooked those beautiful, freeing lines in Quran: “Lakum dinakum wa liya din”: To you your beliefs, and to me mine; and “La ikraha fi din”: There is no compulsion in religion.

You want to lighten your heart’s load? Do it, in whatever way makes sense to you. Don’t listen to finger-waggers, or brow-beaters, or soapbox megamouths competing to tell you what to think – whether in the Guardian’s comment section or the madrasa. Nobody has the right to throw you off the scent your own intuition will pick up, given the space and the freedom to do so.

Everyone believes in something, even it is the twisted notion that they believe in nothing, or that belief itself is wrong. “To you your beliefs, and to me mine”. No ifs or buts. Let’s leave the trolls to their stinking dens and walk out into the open space of equanimity.

2 thoughts on “The Hate Crowd

  1. What a thoughtful blog post! During my current stay in the US, I’m reminded how delicious righteous indignation (a sister of hate) tastes to so many people, I think of people in the political right first but I suppose the left is guilty of it to – hating the haters, like you found yourself doing. The cynic in me thinks this might be the natural state of things, there’s something primally appealing about it.

    As much love as we have for those in our “tribe” (ideological, cultural, whatever) we have hate for those different than us. I think it’s rooted in fear – fear of what the “other” makes us see about ourselves or just plain fear of the unknown. I think the difficult solution is to see the whole world as our “tribe.” But seems we are a long way from that….

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply Mama Mzungu! I had just been reading about a few journalists of various ethnic and religious minorities writing about how much hate mail they receive. The nastiest of them all, I have always found, is the sort that comes from the ‘righteous indignation’ camp. (Darn, why didn’t I remember that term when I was writing it? Haha) It seems to me more and more that whatever your viewpoint, you can find justification for it – and damning ‘evidence’ against any other, opposing viewpoints. But it all comes out of fear, which itself comes from ignorance…what a mess. I guess the more people travel, go have dinner in people’s houses in Africa, the Middle East, wherever, they come to the conclusion that we are not so different after all. I remember when I’d been between Kenya and Tanzania for only a couple of months, and I realised when I was sitting next to a Tanzanian friend, with our arms together on the table, that for a minute I didn’t register that our arms were a different colour. It was only a moment but it was a glimpse of what it would be like to be ‘colourblind’. I’m fascinated to hear your insights on all this. Thanks for stopping by!

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