Hatred, do you feel it? I never noticed how much I stereo-typed until I got out of the army. Walking the campus now, the realization of what having a particular people from a particular country who followed a particular religion shoot at you for a couple of years will do to how you view people who kind of look like them, will do to your feelings about those look a likes.
It makes me sick. It goes against everything I stand for and every reason I joined the military in the first place. This is the only country where you can practice any religion you like as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody and here I stand in the middle of a place of learning, feeling hate. Not just feeling it burns in my chest like somebody just put their torch out on me. Rage fills my veins when I hear Arabic or Farsi being spoken. I am so angry and mad and ready to fight and its a 5 foot tall AMERICAN girl that is the focus of my hate. How did I become this, how have I fallen so far as to hate the very differences I went over there to protect, what is the real answer?
The simple truth, someone tries to kill you, anyone that looks like them is a target of anger. Supplemental reasons of why I feel this hate, demonification is nothing new. Demonification is the process of making your enemy sub-human or beyond evil, this makes killing the enemy easier in the mind and more justifiable. The process starts when you first join the military, the pop-up targets are called “Ivans” thats a throw back to the cold war era. When you make it to your first unit, inevitably one of the first questions asked, “You ready to kill some Hadji?” Not people, or the enemy, not another human being or just a bunch of assholes, no its a term that is said with such disgust and hatred, that the true meaning of the term is lost on most American GI’s that use it. This hatred is blared into your ear and is kind of funny at first, but then you go downrange. Boom, that first IED hits, buddies are down you’re bleeding, true hatred is instilled. When that first event got me, I was ready to kill every first born son of my enemy, I wanted to bathe in the blood of anyone not dressed like me, I was fueled by rage and led by hatred, why? because everything I had been told about “Hadji” was true.
Now I stand back stateside in the middle of a crowded multicultural university. There are many who look like my old foe, and I must forcibly restrain the 1000 yard glares and the death beams that must shoot out of my eyes while they stand behind their “Get to know Islam booth”. Thats when it hits me, they aren’t the enemy, I am. They are trying to educate people about their religion and show that they are not like the assholes who blew me up or put holes in my friends. Who am I, to judge? I am a killer, a rough talker, a mean SOB, I like my beer, and I am not afraid to break a man’s jaw. The kid behind the booth telling of his religion knows nothing of the things I have done, who am I to say he is the enemy and I hate him. I have committed one of the most ignorant acts a human being can make, I read a book by its cover, I condemned a man to readily available death by my own hands for no reason other than he looks like a guy that shot at me, in a country about 8000 miles from here, a couple of years ago. Its official I am a moron.
So how do I overcome this? Some of you might be thinking, WHY do I want to overcome this? We will start with a the second thing first, Hatred is the sign of a stupid person. Someone that doesn’t fully understand something is more apt to hate it, because his opinion is based on half truths and incorrect information. You are not a stupid person, if you are stop being said stupid person or I may have to boot you in the chest (I am working on how to do that through a computer screen). Back to the how of the matter, again if hatred is due to stupidity then perhaps educating yourself is the key. I have had several conversations now with these kids up on campus that try to educate people about Islam. Now I already know quite a bit about Islam, I liked to know what made my enemy tick so I could use it against them. What I educate myself about now, is the people involved in the religion. This kid telling me about this and that, he seems pretty normal. He isn’t spouting off about a jihad and he isn’t a threat. There isn’t an AK-47 slung to his shoulder and he is actually in one of my anatomy classes. If he were a threat, he isn’t much of one, I could snap him like a twig. So now I have found no reason to hate him, just by listening to him speak in the normal american way, he even had a slight Texas draw mixed in with the Arabic accent. I have to revalue my thought process for those I see with the long beards and their heads covered in respect to god. I have to revalue and rethink the way I feel when I hear someone speaking in Arabic, they are usually discussing MTV or last classes’ test not convoys and where to shoot an RPG. These kids are no different than the rest of the immigrant nation, everyone has their problem children. So I should not hate the majority for the minority’s actions. Is it easy? Hell no, I have to fight everyday but you have to realize that is not normal and is contributing to everything else you feel.