September 11, 2023

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


India's descent into communal hatred (Joseph D'Souza, 11 September 2023, Christianity Today)

The cracks in our pluralistic society spread from hateful, bigoted language spewed by religious leaders, politicians, and even the mainstream media across India. How will we ever return to the India I once knew, where a diverse nation grew in harmony despite cultural, ideological, and religious differences? Is a majoritarian Hindu nation possible without destroying profoundly complex and varied roots in prominent ethnicities and religions?

Religious, political, and caste leaders have engaged in hate speech and persecution for narrow political ends, or revenge for perceived victimhood. How are Indian Muslims of today responsible for the acts of invading Mughal rulers of the past? With this sort of mindset, the next step for India would be protracted caste warfare for reparations due to oppression and exploitation of the Dalits and tribals by the upper castes for centuries. This would certainly not help India mature to its full potential economically and culturally.

The undoing of widespread hatred for minorities and Dalits will take decades and require wise, patriotic leaders who value peace and pluralism. These leaders must find the strength to struggle for one united India, a nation of equal rights for all citizens where the rule of law always prevails over mob mentality.

When officers of the law -- sworn to protect and defend all Indians -- instead participate in hate speech and violence themselves, citizens are left powerless. As bulldozers raze homes and places of worship for minorities, without legal sanction, our hope in the rule of law is lost.

Violent anger is quickly becoming the common currency in civil society. This is true in India and around the globe, as we recently witnessed in the French riots.

We have watched the fallout from this unfold in Manipur, and if the status quo continues, it will happen elsewhere in India. There are two distinct Manipurs now -- one Kuki and one Meitei. Any social union between the two will take decades of diligent peace-making efforts. The terrible suffering that comes from this religious and ethnic divide cannot be ignored.

The call to violence by prominent religious and political leaders -- the ones we should be able to look to in times of turmoil -- must be dealt with quickly. This issue is so severe that the Supreme Court now insists that individual states craft laws for dealing with hate speech.

These developments are deeply frustrating as they come in the wake of precisely the time when India is poised to become a major global economic and scientific power. But this will only happen with social cohesion.

Identity is a cancer.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM

NORMALCY IS A CHOICE (profanity alert):

The Geology of Misery: What Philip Larkin and Ted Lasso (and Science) Tell Us About TraumaOn Breaking the Cycle of Individual and Collective Dehumanization (Catherine Buni, September 11, 2023, Lit Hub)

[Burke Harris, author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity,] has identified seven granular, research-based strategies that prevent the human-to-human hand-off of misery: sleep, exercise, time in nature, nutrition, mindfulness, mental health care, and healthy relationships. The tool she uses most? "Walk and talk. Exercise combined with talking with someone."

Ideally, she said, everyone has access to the tools for healing. To good doctors who can help them understand how their adverse childhood experiences and family history affect their risk of harm. To food and housing and job security, education and safety. Ideally, everyone who needs and wants it can get into therapy, not to gather up surface praise, but to dig deep for healthier ways to be in relationship with other people and, critically, ourselves. In therapy, Burke Harris said, "you can work together to create a plan for prevention." A plan to stop handing on misery.

Ideally, we all work to shore up policies and institutions that support collaboration and care, places, whether a family, neighborhood, school, or country, where people pull together and do their damndest not to repeat, repeat the harm. "The real work," she said, "is to change societal outcomes."

Unquestionably, it is a good time to pass along the revelations and research of Burke Harris, and others who are pushing back on cynical acceptance and imagining a different trajectory, while also, perhaps, cracking a grim smile alongside Larkin. There's Stephanie Foo, Judith Herman, Resmaa Menakem, Bessel van der Kolk, and others too numerous to list in full here, and, well, yes, says Burke Harris just before we hang up, there is now also "Ted Lasso."

"How has nobody emailed me about this?" Burke Harris recalled wondering as she'd watched. The show's communities are cooperative and inclusive, with characters who step up against bullies and bigots, who do not tolerate abuse and harm, of anybody, regardless of identity or position. There's a men's group that aims to nurture healthy relationships, she observed, the juxtaposition of one dad who is verbally abusive to his son with another dad who lifts his son up, and all sorts of people who decide to try therapy, including Ted. "It feels so different than what we would have seen even ten years ago," Burke Harris said. "It's beautiful."

Hard to know which is more mystifying, that so little is needed to treat ourselves or that we are so unlikely to embrace the (literal) steps.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Haredim slam Netanyahu for 'heresy' against God in Ukraine comment; MK blasts Zionism (MICHAEL BACHNER, 9/11/23, Times of Israel)

Despite travel warnings last year about the dangers of war and other obstacles, over 20,000 pilgrims traveled to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Uman, the burial site of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a revered Hasidic rabbi who died in 1810. In recent years worshipers have been undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic or the war in the country, and many are gearing up to visit this year as well.

But Netanyahu's statement -- an obvious reference to the Holocaust and possibly centuries of antisemitism and pogroms -- was swiftly met with intense condemnation and repudiation from ultra-Orthodox politicians and other public figures, with some accusing the prime minister of "heresy" and one MK launching a diatribe against "the idolatry of power, vulgarity and assimilation of the secular regime." [...]

[United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler] went on to claim that the Zionists had in fact turned their backs on the Jews of Europe, thwarted rescue attempts and disdained "the Jews of the ghettos," while adding that some had collaborated as Judenrat. Eichler said that the once-revered military had been revealed in its "incompetence and contemptibleness" in the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and that former top generals who oppose the current government's judicial overhaul had recently shown themselves to be "rebels" who are "inciting a bloody [civil] war" in the country and giving it a bad name abroad "like the worst of our Islamic enemies."