Hate is the Easiest Emotion to Inflame.

Image source: https://www.redbubble.com/people/salacommander/works/17903217-trump-16-make-america-hate-again?p=sticker

My wife was born in Croatia and lived through the shelling of Zagreb by Serb forces. Over the last years with the polarisation of UK society over Brexit, Covid etc, we have repeatedly had conversations about how the climate in the UK was becoming increasingly like that of pre-war Yugoslavia. At first my reaction was, "Of course this cannot happen here, we are a progressive democracy". But as things began to play out and politicians were killed, my views began to change.

Today I read this excellent article by Bosnian born writer, Elizabeth Rubin of the Intercept.

Survival and Denial

I Watched War Erupt in the Balkans. Here’s What I See in America Today.

In it she compares the current state of the US with pre-war Bosnia. She says that ...

what flips civil strife into civil war is "A well-planned agenda, charismatic leaders, and fear. And perhaps one last ingredient that pulls together all three: the whittling down of history and all its complexities into a narrative of collective destiny — ours against theirs, us against them."

Those ingredients are abundant in the run up to US general elections right now - it does make me wonder what will be cooked up as the heat in the oven increases.

One thing I am certain of, is that hate and fear are the easiest of emotions to stir up in people, and also the ones that most quickly lead to violence and unimaginable cruelty. Hate and fear are so easily transmitted through social and digital media at speeds and volumes never before witnessed by humanity.

There are undeniably dark clouds looming, but I do hold out hope that love is a more subtle and robust emotion than fear, and if good people continually make efforts to connect with their subtler and broader sentiments rather than the cruder fear and hate, then the sun will shine again.