When I found this community, I had been looking for some time to find a place where real ideas for peace would be discussed, with compassion and open hearts. I had looked at communities on My Space, Facebook and others. What I saw were people that were only there to argue that their “side” was good and the “other” evil - Not a path for creative reconciliation. I can find this all around me, in the ‘real world’, so I was seeking a space where I could ‘breath’, where I could ‘recharge’ my spirit, where people were honestly looking to understand, where I could ask the clumsy question and wouldn’t feel that I had to defend myself. Yes, a community of like minded individuals, a safe space. Perhaps I was naive to think any on-line community could truly be an instrument of compassionate dialogue, but when I found MEPeace I thought I had found just that.
But since the publicity about this site, I have seen that vision (perhaps illusion) fade. Having more people find this space has the potential for great good – I have been impressed with many of the new profiles that have been popping up over the last few days. But there have also been a vocal few that have marred this experience with their mean spirited comments. I am distressed by the posts which take words out of context, that do not make room for difficulties with language and the quasi-intellectual use of words to shame. As those voices get louder I am wondering why am I here, and I have to wonder if the many other voices we are not hearing from are also being pushed back into the shadows.
I am a Quaker, a pacifist, a peace seeker. I do not support the use of violence but that does not mean that I do not understand where violence comes from. Pain and injustice are very powerful motivators toward violence, as is the perceived lack of resources. But in the long run, violence never achieves its’ stated goals – so it hurts everyone, not just the intended victim.
Words can have the same effect. As I have felt attacked, I have also felt the need to defend myself. I have that argument with myself that says, how can I let someone else misinterpret my words for the rest of the community, how can I allow myself to be attacked, how can I let their words stand as the last testament to what I meant? Even though I claim to be a Quaker, I am also a sinner and, unfortunately don’t make the right call every time. So this is my pledge to myself; I will not respond to the dark side of others, I will seek only to acknowledge and reinforce the bringers of light to this space.