I breathe in a measured, deliberate manner as I begin to read last month’s NYTimes article, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape.” I initially brace myself. I then open to and accept the spasms of horror ricocheting through my uterus, heart and throat as I take in the searing reality of these innocent preteens, teens and women so far from my own daughter’s university life amongst ocean waves and articulate, savvy feminists – men and women – of an ethnically and sexually diverse population. Given my travels and interviews of late in Palestine and Israel, I’m reminded of the dissociated, psychopathic behavior of any oppressor- the Nazis, Pol Pot, the Hutus, the South Africans or Americans for starters- that leads to the boomerang chaos and injustice rattling innumerable societies today.
I read the article again. I prayed this time to read it with the greatest spiritual seeing. I read it mustering up every possibility of taking in this article beyond my expected, understandable human, female reaction. I read it trying to imagine any of these females getting to a point of genuine, thorough forgiveness. I know that in order for this to happen, any of these victims would need multiple opportunities to cathartically release such extreme sexual and physical trauma embedded within a crazy-making ideology. She surely would not be spared chilling nightmares, eating disorders and self-hate along the way. And when such probable self-attack couldn’t continue another day, hopefully the first trickles of illumination will come to this blessed survivor. Maybe she will see beyond her own pain and its extensive fallout and catch a glimpse of the very same pain of the young Saudi fighter who was once repeatedly raped by older cousins or house servants, or the suffering of an Iraqi homeless trafficker who was once blown out by an unknown abuse of equal horror- whether sexual, social, physical, psychological, militaristic, religious or spiritual. Maybe in her abuser’s deluded self-convincing, no different than that of a Chilean, Israeli or Hamas soldier dutifully following orders or a factory owner dumping deadly chemical waste in his own community’s river, he will crack under the pressure of seeing his own reflection in the devastated, real female with a face – and heart – beneath his crushing body. Maybe he won’t relent in his barrage of unleashed thrusting, but that crazed unyielding in itself will be the revelation that something is very, very disturbed within. To the degree one is savagely disconnected from the abuse they are wielding, is the degree that they are ravaged by a trauma of equal abuse.
As George Eliot reminds us, “There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.” We have a category 10 typhoon on the loose here and monumental doses of questioning, understanding and compassion are needed to comprehend why. This unleashed storm is begging for a firm, loving embrace, much like a delinquent teen would, as he brazenly vandalizes the neighborhood’s sports cars he can never imagine owning.
A Course in Miracles, Ho’oponopono and Radical Forgiveness all remind us to take this violent storm even further- that once it comes into our awareness, to take responsibility for true seeing and where we have created this.
Even me as the bystander reading about it in the New York Times.
An attack is a call for love. ACIM.
- I Love you.
- I am sorry (for what is unhealed in me that has attracted this).
- Please forgive me (for what is unhealed in me to attract this).
- Thank you.
From Colin Tipping’s The Radical Forgiveness Invocation:
May we all stand firm in the knowledge and comfort that all things are now, have always been, and forever will be in divine order, unfolding according to a divine plan. And may we truly surrender to this truth whether we understand it or not. May we also ask for support in consciousness in feeling our connection with the divine part of us, with everyone and with everything, so we can truly say and feel – we are ONE.
Two points from Colin Tipping’s A Radical Transformation Worksheet, Applying the Strategy of Radical Forgiveness to World Events:
- I realize now, too, that what was happening ‘out there’ was a reflection of something that needs, or needed, to be healed in me.
- In forgiving the [world] situation, I have automatically forgiven myself. I am grateful for the healing.
The odyssey to go from understandable ego-identified victim to benevolent, merciful empath is defined as a miracle in A Course of Miracles. It can be an arduous, grueling journey to get there as the ego resists and holds on to resentment and self-righteousness with all its feeble might. The relinquishing of blame and the embracing of the ‘other’ or really ‘self,’ leads me to say this is so not okay for you ISIS rapists, nor for me, to inflict such unchecked devastation upon another – in my version of emotional abuse in certain personal relationships for example, and may its origins of collective and personal pain be brought into the highest transformative healing for every single one of us.
My next blog post will be on The Parent’s Circle in Jerusalem, an organization that is composed of bereaved Israelis and Palestinians who have lost a family member as a result of the conflict and grieve together. They use the Truth and Reconciliation process poignantly and respectfully as carried out in South Africa, Northern Ireland and Rwanda as well as many other international communities.