Our hardworking Ottawa Police have charged a 17-year-old man with the spate of hate-related graffiti that has plagued the capital in the last few weeks: http://bit.ly/2gdpxG4 .
Sociopolitical theories aside, whatever catalyzed the accused to lash out with such vitriol, it seems apparent that he is not a stranger to the act, nor was this the first time he’s used hate, aggression and intimidation to spread his message, whatever that is. Here’s a report of an incident that is suspected by police as related http://bit.ly/2gFUEvC , and the earlier acts of aggression that preceded it: http://bit.ly/1THGJMD.
Let’s get something perfectly clear: Violence is not just physical. We simply understand physical violence at a visceral level because we’re all afraid of being hurt badly and sustaining pain. But different people experience different fears and have different threshold for suffering. Violence can be verbal, emotional, situational and psychological. The propagation of hateful messaging is an intentional act devised to cause fear and hesitation in the recipient. It’s a message that says “fear me, because I hate you, and I want to hurt you.”
In defense of yourself, you may sometimes be challenged to defend your integrity and the sovereignty of your person. All that makes up “you” is not just flesh and bone that can sustain an assault. You have a personality, consciousness, an identity, a sense of self, memories, dreams, relationships, aspirations – you have personhood. Bruce Lee might call it something like the “totality of the ‘is-ness’ of your person”.
An assault on your person, if unprovoked, warrants an assertive response. Where aggression and revenge are products of the ego, assertiveness arises as the necessary condition of self-worth. If you value yourself enough that others must not and will not intimidate you, then you owe it to yourselves to learn to assert with confidence, and if need be, to back it up with action.
To all of those people in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities affected by this hate: If you fear for your safety or that of your loved ones, I wish to offer you freedom from that fear. Your communities are welcome to a free self-defense and assertiveness seminar, 4 hours in duration, for as many people as you can fit in the room. I will make the time for you.
Let’s put an end to the hatred by working together in the spirit of community.
Contact me by any means below and let’s bring more Salaam, Shalom and Peace to this diverse city.
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You can reach me directly anytime at email@example.com or 613-627-3018.