In the wake of Jo Cox's murder, let us look to ourselves and our intolerance
The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.- Princess Diana
Yesterday Jo Cox, age 41, mother of 2 young children and Labour MP for Batley and Spen was shot and killed by someone who didn't share her political views. She had previously worked for Oxfam and chaired the all-party parliamentary group for Friends of Syria; tolerance, it seems, was part of her value system.
Tolerance can sometimes seem like the wishy, washy, 'anything goes' stance to take, the path of least resistance, not standing up for what you believe. I don't agree. Tolerance takes courage, tolerance takes wisdom, tolerance requires compassion and commitment.
Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. (Ghandi)
I don't believe that anyone reading this would physically harm someone they didn't agree with, but tolerance is not just a lack of action, it is the result of attention and intention to act as part of a human race, rather than pitting 'us' against 'them'. How tolerant are you?
Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.(Ghandi)
Our world is shrinking daily with cheap airfares and the internet we can connect to other people in other place like never before and Cox fought for humanity, for people being treated humanely, no matter which part of the world they live in.
How do we show up next to her? Are we scared of what we can lose, of what will be taken, of what they threat is? Do we judge, bad mouth, ignore and turn away from people who are different from us.
There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.(Andre Gide)
Or do we reach out and do what we can? Do we treat people as we would like to be treated?
We are evolving as one species - not only as Americans, Syrians,
Russians, Chinese, and jihadists. We cannot attack one without
inflicting forms of violence and destruction upon ourselves. This is our
new reality. Gary Zukav
As Ghandi said, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. We need to practice tolerance; 'violence never brings permanent peace' (Martin Luther-King Junior)
Cox's death highlights what happens when we are intolerant, when we can't let other people be different from us but equal.
Each day we are faced with moments when we can chose judgement and unkindness or when we can focus on acceptance and empathy. Whether it is with our children, our partners, our colleagues or our wider community, our moment by moment attitudes and actions have an impact.
Some are small ripples; a smile or a frown, a door held open or let go without care for the person following us, eye contact made or averted. Some ripples are stronger; praise, supportive action or criticism, name calling and sabotage. Some ripples become tidal waves and these waves can be waves of hatred and fear; the kind of wave that kills.
Or we can chose to be part of a wave of love, of hope, of connection, of courage and of tolerance
Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified with the thinking mind. It means you don't see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence. Eckhart Tolle