I was sad to hear of the shootings that took place in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
It's sad to see how the media frames different incidents based on the identities of those involved (Muslim = terrorist. Non-Muslim = shooter).
It's sad to see someone perpetrate a crime based on a false and destructive narrative that he's adopted.
It's sad to see people lacking in empathy because they've either fallen victim to the same narrative or they have a different narrative that justifies the killing of the same group of people.
I remember having a conversation with an Iranian many years ago and he said that he felt happy to see Iraq being attacked in 2003 as retribution, for him, for the Iran-Iraq war in the 80's.
I'm a Kuwaiti and my country was invaded by Iraq in 1990, but I didn't rejoice the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians. I don't hold grudges against Iraqis as an entire population. I would consider Iraqis (and Arabs) who support Saddam as ignorant and immoral. What I wish for them is that they change their views, not for them to suffer because of their views.
We are all conditioned by narratives, and usually they are self-serving narratives: we're the good guys. We're under attack. We're the victims. We need to be heroes and fight back.
Every group of people can - and does - craft a narrative where they're the good guys. Even rapists can believe themselves to be victims. They were seduced or they couldn't help it.
Whatever the case may be, we don't confront uncomfortable truths that what we're doing might be wrong or the hostility we feel towards others may be unfounded.
If we are to have villains in our life story, the villains don't have to be people.
The true villains are ignorance, fear, and hate.
Fight them with knowledge, peace, and compassion.
May the victims of these terrorist attacks - and all violent attacks - rest in peace.
May their families and communities find peace.
And I hope we can all work towards a peaceful world where hateful narratives don't drive us towards violent actions.