This Week's Comment from Network 7 News 

Edition 385 – November 13, 2004.  

 This weeks  was written by AWR's International Correspondent, Olga BudarovaThe full programme can be heard in Real Audio on our web-site.

Destroying the human heart?

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A chief Rabbi in London  Jonathan Sacks… says the greatest weapon of mass destruction is the human heart.  

The quote is especially true today when we hear so much about terrorism and violence.  

The whole world has been disturbed by the recent events in Russia when terrorists took over a school in Northern Ossetia and over three hundred people died as a result.  

Half of the dead were children.  

English newspaper… the Guardian… reported the Ossetian men are now angry. They say their revenge is blood for blood. They want to take three times more blood for the dead children than the terrorists did.  

The Russian authorities are worried.  

According to the Russian intelligence reports… most if not all of the terrorists involved in the school siege are now dead.  

If the men from North Ossetia want to take out revenge… the only people who will most likely be in the centre of this revenge… will be the people from the same nation …. the same country as the terrorists.  

There are reports some of the terrorists were Ingushetian… a country bordering with Ossetia … some were Russian… some Aarabic… and some Chechen.  

This means more violence and death is to be expected in the Southern region of Russia .  

It’s sad certain nations are going to be blacklisted only because some terrorists came out of them.  

My father went to work in Chechnya over ten years ago. He is a building engineer and his contract was to build houses in the destroyed capital of Chechnya .  

He was working under the protection and command of the Russian authorities… yet his employees were Chechens.  

He admitted to me once he was worried about working under such circumstances. He heard many stories about how violent and hot tempered the Chechens could be. He had his own prejudices.  

But when he arrived in Chechnya and started working with the people… he realised they were just like him. They were normal human beings with dreams and hopes and plans for the future.  

He would sometimes go and visit them in their homes for a dinner or a drink. He would learn about their culture and understand how their religion influenced their lives.  

They once told him they couldn’t understand why he had only one wife. As Muslims… they would marry more than once and they tried to encourage my father to do the same. He laughed it off and said one wife was enough for him.  

He would simply talk to them like he would to any other friend.  

But he also knew the very same people would go out at night and kill Russian soldiers.  

When he returned into his own country… he came back with a different perception of Chechnya .  

He understood the people a bit more. He knew they hated the Russian occupation. They wanted their freedom and that was what they were fighting for.  

He didn’t just have one sided prejudiced view of Chechnya . He knew things were more complicated than just seeing the Chechens as barbaric terrorists.  

Things have changed greatly over the ten years since my father last visited Chechnya . There might be more terrorist groups. There might be more violence.  

But the common people are still the same. They still dream about peace, about re-building their own homes and possibly about living in a free country.  

If those angry men from North Ossetia decide to go and revenge their dead children… they will most likely want to kill the Chechens and Ingushetians. They might be able to find terrorist groups among the people. But I’m afraid they will most likely go and kill anyone from those nations. They will not care whether their victims are terrorists or just innocent women or children. After all the terrorists in the school didn’t care either.  

The problem is though these men will then unleash a circle of killing and revenging the killing and revenging the revenge of the killing. And this circle of violence will never end because there will be too many people and families involved in the killing in order to revenge their relatives.  

As Jonathan Sacks says… the greatest weapon of mass destruction IS the human heart because its anger has no boundaries. When it explodes it spreads and infects others with the self same anger and lust for revenge.  

Unless we are able to stop and control our anger and forgive those who’ve hurt us… we will never be able to stop the revengeful circle of violence. We will only bring more pain into this world… not healing.


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