When CBS’s Lara Logan was dragged off, beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob of Egyptian men in Tahrir Square the giddy night that Hosni Mubarak stepped down, most of us were aghast. But some vile bodies online began beating up on the brave war correspondent.
Nir Rosen, a journalist published in The Nation, The New Yorker and The Atlantic, who had a fellowship at New York University’s Center on Law and Security, likes to be a provocateur. He has urged America to “get over” 9/11, called Israel an “abomination” to be eliminated, and sympathized with Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban. Invited to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2008 about the Iraq surge, he told Joe Biden, the committee chairman then, that he was uncomfortable “advising an imperialist power about how to be a more efficient imperialist power.”
Rosen must now wish Twitter had a 10-second delay. On Tuesday, he merrily tweeted about the sexual assault of Logan: “Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger.”
He suggested she was trying to “outdo Anderson” Cooper (roughed up in Cairo earlier), adding that “it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.”
Sadly, Nir Rosen’s comments are actually tame in today’s climate in which anonymous commenters (as opposed to paid “provocateurs” and commentators) spew the most vile invective imaginable. It’s my deep hope that those who so readily spread their rage and hatred are the minority, but it’s sometimes hard to reconcile the nasty language of commenters that seems to outnumber the thoughtful and helpful ones.
Here are some words of advice from the late Eknath Easwaran, former Berkeley professor and meditation teacher:
“Please do not indulge in unkind words, in negative comments. Criticism, as you know, can only be useful when it is constructive. Comments can only be useful when they are friendly. So even from the point of view of effectiveness, I would suggest that unkind comments add to the problem. Unloving criticism makes the situation worse. It does not mean that we do not have to comment and suggest. Very often we have to. But it is the mental attitude with which you make the suggestion and the loving concern with which you put forward ideas, sometimes opposed to others, that make for effectiveness.”Please share Easwaran’s words widely. We need to heed them not only for the sake of civil discourse, but for the sake of effective changemaking for a better world.
Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm and Above All, Be Kind
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"
Image courtesy of SweetOnVeg via Creative Commons.
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