There are some acts of rage in this waking life that are so diabolical that it is incomprehensible they occur. From the beginning of time, history is full of these stories, and now, sadly, it seems that hate rears its ugly head again. On May 20, 2018, Thessaloniki mayor Yannis Boutaris, who is widely known for his multiculturism, humanitarianism, and liberal leanings, was brutally attacked at a remembrance ceremony which marked the killing of ethnic Greeks by Turks in World War I. “It was a nightmare. There were several people that attacked me. They were hitting me everywhere,” he told one reporter. Boutaris was hospitalized overnight.
The extremist nationalist party Golden Dawn in Greece and others across the world are organizing, energized by Donald Trump’s election in 2017, and strategically advancing on liberal policymakers. Anti-Islamic rhetoric eerily echoes the epidemiological bombast of Hitler’s regime. Although each generation brings with it a new set of ideologies, the persistent themes that are the cornerstone to these violent protests and senseless beatings have remained the same: hate, power, misunderstanding, close-mindedness, and fear. Men have died on the battlefields. Families have suffered through atrocities. Children have grown up without parents, and all the while the world spins madly on in fervent protest to these war games of hate and violence.
There is a growing polarity between those who understand the moral repercussions of such acts of violence as the beating of Yannis Boutaris, whose eyes beam with love and compassion, and those who don’t. The ones who don’t grow bolder in their hate rhetoric. As this nightmare unfolds, we can only stand bravely with our eyes and hearts open to face this waking reality with deep understanding of the human condition and benevolence in our hearts. As we do this, we will feel that still, small voice beckoning us toward a certain action in our own sort of protest to evil. We will find our place among it all, serving in love, and ultimately morality will prevail. We will no longer be in hiding, lost somewhere in a nightmare, but we will emerge as beams of hope to a senseless world riddled with pervasive darkness.