Monday, 25 July 2011
This is my favourite T Shirt at the moment. I bought it for a tenner in London a few weeks ago. It is an image by famous graffiti artist Banksy. I sometimes get curious looks because it looks at first like a violent image. A terrorist with masked face is about to throw a .... bunch of flowers! The Molotov cocktail is transformed by the artist into a gift of love. When you think about it that is a powerful message.
One of my heroes Martin Luther King once said that hate cannot drive out hate - 'only love can do that.' Reconciliation is more powerful than revenge. There is a similar image in the bible. In the book of Isaiah we read about a time when swords will become plowshares and spears pruning hooks. This is surprising as there is so much violence in the Old Testament but the message is the same. Tools of destruction transformed into tools of creativity.
This is important on two levels. On a personal level we love to get even with someone who offends or upsets us - especially when we are in the right. But that need to have our revenge can eat away at us. It never quite feels right!
This is even more important at the political level. How often in recent years have we gone to war to get even. Nobody even pretends to believe that we invaded Iraq to look for WMDs. It was to get 'him'. Same with Afghanistan. In both cases we have seen more and more destruction and little sight of resolution. Former US President Jimmy Carter once said - 'War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each others children.'
This is why I have been opposed to our recent wars. This is why I try, not always with success, to avoid harbouring grudges. And it is why this is my favourite T Shirt.