I remember reading a diary written by one of Yugoslav partisan generals, Dedier, whose unit was fighting the axis forces during the Second World War. Dedier was describing how his partisan unit surrounded an Italian garrison at night as the Italian soldiers were sitting around a bonfire singing “’O sole mio” (Oh My Sun). Then he wrote, “They sang about the sun, but none of them saw the sun again. They were all dead before dawn.”
Just imagine you lie in ambush, listening to soldiers whom you’re going to kill within a few hours—sing about sunshine and love and you know, it is you who will make them never see the sun again nor love again.
I have been listening to Pandora and the song “Lili Marlene” came on the waves. I remember the Nazis singing it as they were marching, looking for Jews to kill, while I, six years old, was trembling with fear they would discover me.
The song is about a girl. It’s about love. Those Nazis they loved too but could kill children, throw little babies into a fire to burn for days till they died (they did it to my grandparents and my five-year-old cousin in Treblinka).
How can anyone murder in the morning, and sing longingly about love at night?
We all love, we all feel, we all have a heart. We all have a mother; we all have a father. We have children. How can we kill somebody and make their wife a widow, their children orphans, their mother morn till her last breath for the child she loved?, How can we do that?
Apparently, we can distinguish between whom we love and whom we hate.
Put a dot in the center of a page. That is you. Now make a circle around it. Those inside the circle are your loved ones. Those outside the circle you do not love, and if they are far from the circle line, you may even hate or not care for them at all.
Take the case of butchering a cow. Or killing a rat. Do you feel any remorse? Are they inside or outside the circle? Some cultures eat dogs and horses. Do you? For you, are the Jews inside or outside the circle? To the Nazis, Jews were with the rats, outside the circle. I believe the Nazi killers did not feel any remorse for killing Jews like a worker working for an industrial egg production facility feels no remorse throwing little just born roosters, as they joyfully peep, throw them to the grinder and kill them all.
For some people, those of a different religion, or ethnic group, or language, are outside the circle together with the animals and trees and mountains and rivers. They are not ours. They are not us, so pollute the river. Burn the forest. Butcher the animals. I care only for “My type of People”. The rest are out of the circle to be ignored, exploited, exiled, exterminated…
How big is your circle?
For racists, communists, fascists, and religious fanatics, the circle is small. If you are like us, you are inthe circle, but if you dare to be different, you are out of the circle with the chicks and fish and cows that can be killed with no remorse.
Now notice, hate is outside the circle.
This means that hate exists where there is no love. There is no hate as such. Hate is absence of love. Expand the circle of love and hate will diminish.
And I suggest the circle is not static. It is dynamic. It grows and shrinks. If you do not practice love, it shrinks. Love is like a muscle. Do not use it, do not nourish it, and it will diminish its reach and hate will expand. The Nazis hated the Jews. Then they hated the socialists. Then those that were not Arian. Then those that were not Nazi enough. Hate expands till you end up hating even yourself. Hitler ended up hating the Germans, too. He ordered to burn Germany, destroy it per a scorched-earth policy, as the Allied forces advanced.
If love is fed and nourished, it can expand. You start accepting not only more and more people of diverse religious and ethnic groups, but the trees, animals, rivers, and mountains, too.
Feeding love diminishes hate.
What you feed will grow.
Ichak Kalderon Adizes