The other night I was invited to a friend’s house for a dinner presentation on her recent trip to Rwanda. In an effort to come to terms with the genocide, the people of Rwanda are going through an intense period of truth and reconciliation. I had seen the movie, Hotel Rwanda, but hearing stories from someone who had been there were heart-wrenching. Over 1 million people died in 100 days. Deaths came by way of machete and bullets, mostly machetes. Countless people were hacked to death.
What fueled the fire between the Tutsis and Hutus was a radio station in the capitol that aired non-stop negativity, hatred and intolerance toward the Tutsis. Believe it or not, there was a time quite recently that everyone got along just fine. When the airwaves, filled with incessant vitriolic hatred blasted nonstop, things changed dramatically. It was no big leap to see the parallels between the hatred spread over the airwaves there and the negativity that fill our nation’s talk radio shows and cable news programs. The dots begin to connect themselves. In times of stress, negativity only feeds more negativity. Negativity poisons the human spirit. It spreads like a virus to other stressed people and begins to feed upon itself into emotional anarchy, and it begins with intolerance!
Stress Tip for the Day: It’s not just enough to NOT listen to intolerance broadcast over the airwaves. Ultimately, this is no better than sticking your head in the sand. It’s important to let the voice of compassion rise above the voice of ego. As the expression goes, “the sin of intolerance leaves innocent blood on one’s hands.” Rwanda may seem like a far away place, yet if you think something like that couldn’t happen here, please remind yourself about the shooting that took place in Tucson recently. Inoculate yourself from this emotional virus by opening your heart. Compassion is the metaphorical antidote to intolerance.
Links/Books/ Movies Worth Noting: If you haven’t seen the movie, Hotel Rwanda, consider it a must see movie and add it to your list of movies to watch… soon.
Quote for the Day: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” — Mohandus Gandhi
“I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.”— Thomas Jefferson
Photo for the Day: This photo of The Milles Collines Hotel was given to me by my friend, Seana Lowe Steffen (www.Restorative-Leadership.org), for the purpose of today’s blog. This is the hotel now known the world over as Hotel Rwanda, where the hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina safely hid his fellow countrymen and literally saved thousands of lives. Thanks Seana!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.