When Love Disrupts the Cycle

December 20, 2015

Hate breeds hate, it is often said. Well, what happens when love is integrated into the equation?

Women and children have been some of the most targeted victims of ISIS’ injustices. From public beheadings to sexual enslavement, the question is, how much stress and distress can the body and mind truly endure?

For Zaid, a beautiful young Yazidi boy who was minding his own business in the town of Sinjar, Iraq – stress struck him in the most shocking and unexpected manner.

ISIS stormed into his parents home, forcing them to convert to Islam or be killed. Zaid’s parents were adamant on remaining loyal to their roots, and refused to accept the militants’ ultimatum.

Right before Zaid’s young eyes, he witnessed his own parents receive bullets to their heads. Shot dead, immediately.

Zaid’s body went into complete shock upon processing what had just occurred, and he became paralyzed from head to toe.

He was eventually rescued and taken to the IDP camp in Duhok, Iraq, but now with the need of a wheelchair.

Zaid is one among many children who are left to survive with the horrid, traumatic memories of losing loved ones through the most undignified means.

Nouri, a nine year old Yazidi boy, now resides in a small tent with his aging grandparents after losing his own parents and remaining in the hands of ISIS.

After a period of torturous captivity with every form of abuse becoming the norm, Nouri was strategically struck on his foot by ISIS, ensuring that he could never walk normally again.

Although Nouri made it to the IDP camp, his club foot and traumatic experiences have caused him to be extremely withdrawn from others. With an empty glare in his eyes, Nouri had few words for anyone. He was numb and indifferent.

Children like Zaid and Nouri are more in need of love than ever before. Their seemingly hopeless outlooks on this world and the people in it can only be redeemed through a fresh taste of genuine compassion.

It is only when we took the time to listen to the grievances of these communities, break bread with them, encourage them, and empower them, that we began to see smiles slowly develop. If nobody takes the time to show them any sense of compassion, they will live with the lie that the world has forgotten them, which may open their hearts and minds to dangerous ideologies.

Just like a political power vacuum is often consumed by whatever dissidents are brewing in the region, if a heart is facing an ideological vacuum, virtually anything could enter it.

As tensions increase with terror attacks now reactivating in our own backyard, distrust and hate towards the unknown tends to be the automatic reaction. However, as such responses unfold, the fundamentalist’s mentality also worsens.

But as we saw with Zaid, Nouri, and so many others, the only option to destroy this now global epidemic is to display the other side of humanity.

So, hate may indeed breed hate, that is, until love intercedes and disrupts the cycle.