Thought for the Week – 21/2/19

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Is it easier to be a ‘hard man’ or be a just person?

Well, judging by the growing number of self-projected ‘hard man’ politicians, it must be easier on the thought processes to be inflexible.

The plight of Shamina Begum, the UK-born and -raised teenager, who with her newborn child is seeking a return to Britain has brought forth a storm of controversy. And in the mix of social media outrage and cheap tabloid headlines, certain types of politicians and pundits vie with each other to be perceived as being strong in the face of terrorism. You can hear voiced, ‘She has made her bed and let her lie in it. Let her rot in Syria.’

Hard men are bullies. When they gang up on a 15-year-old girl who has been groomed, forced into marriage, brutalised, lost two children through malnutrition, and seen numerous bombings and the blood-spattered aftermaths, the bullies’ outrage costs him or her nothing.

Western values are found in our Christian heritage and theology. We believe in mercy, forgiveness and the power of love, and that may be tough love, which can transform a person. Through judicial process, and a compassionate approach we can do something to undermine terrorism rather than stoke the fire through simplistic and unlawful knee-jerk reactions.

There is no justification for the actions of ISIS and such terrorist groups. However, the west has helped create the grievance and outrage which boils in the Middle East through our hypocrisy and ignorant interference over decades.

Showing compassion to one young girl will not sort the bigger picture, but it will remind us of deeper values – and simply show to her and her child that there is hope in a better way to live.

Rev Dugald Cameron, Kilmore and Oban