Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Exhaustion of Hate

"I think I know enough of hate to say that for destruction ice is also great and would suffice"  -Robert Frost

When I was teaching in Saudi Arabia I had this one student named Abdullah-Ahmed who had this annoying habit of snapping his fingers in my face when he wanted my attention.  A half-dozen times a day just... SNAP!  SNAP!  SNAP!  I tried my best to be patient and explain to him that... "Snapping your fingers in someone's face is rude"...and "I don't appreciate it"....and "I'm the teacher of the class"... and "We must have respect for one another" and... all that civilized BLAH!  BLAH!  BLAH!  He just kept snapping away.  What made it stranger was that Abdullah-Ahmed was obviously the product of generations of "Saudi Family" and "Dessert Tribe" inbreeding.  His spine was curved abnormally and his eyes set crooked across his face.  He spoke with a spitting and stuttering lisp, his fingers were disjointed, and his coordination askew so that he actually fell out of his chair once. He was a twenty-six-year old man who could barely hold a pencil or stand straight and was illiterate in Arabic.  I witnessed the affects of inter-breeding countless times in Saudi.  I would be walking down the dirt road and see such a deformed person that I would literally have to look away.  Of course, this didn't stop Abdullah-Ahmed from driving.  He had a little white Toyota pick-up truck with a flat bed.  I saw him once while walking along the desert highway toward the small market.   He had a goat in the front seat and his wife in full black Abaya shawl rode on the back (the goat can sit inside the cab, the wife is out of luck).  His truck crossed two lanes of highway to swerve right at me.  Plunging headlong and gaining speed.  I had expected it.  It was a common occurrence for cars to swerve and try to hit me on the road.  Any foreigner in Saudi will tell you that.  I leaped into the gutter and was safe, but we stared at each other as he passed.  My student.  Abdullah-Ahmed.  His teeth gritting.  His crooked eyes fixed at me in hate.  I was telling this story to my daughters as we sat on the living room floor on Saturday watching the bombing in Paris unfold on CNN.  I find it very difficult to hate.  It's hard to hold onto something so destructive.  It's exhausting.  Of course, my daughters already know what ISIS is because in Taiwan the boys make jokes about how awesome it would be to join.  These are the same kids that wear Adolph Hitler mascot T-shirts.  Can love really win?  After all these thousands of years of breeding hate.  Does love even stand a chance?

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