I admit that Arab News correspondent Linda Heard is not among my favorites. There’s rarely an issue upon which our thinking meshes. Here, though, I have to agree completely with the view expressed in her current piece.
She writes that by reacting emotionally to provocation gives control over one’s own mind to the provocateur. Those violently reacting and rioting because of a stupid film have allowed themselves to become puppets of the filmmaker. When the filmmaker yanks a chain, off the puppets dance.
She’s absolutely right.
Muslims should resist being baited by enemies
It is utter madness that any hate-consumed or lunatic nonentity located anywhere in the world can turn the Muslim world into a seething cauldron of violence, negatively impacting geopolitical relations and economic outlooks. Decades ago, a wise person I met in Jakarta imparted a lesson which has guided ever since. He said, nobody can hurt you with insult unless you hand over your power to that individual with anger, an emotional reaction that boomerangs back to you the source, inevitably harming you more than its intended target.
Don’t permit anyone to gain control over your mood, he said. Don’t be baited by harsh words to respond in kind. Meet aggression or insult with a smile while thinking to yourself ‘you’re a nasty piece of work, but that’s your problem.’ Once your adversary realizes that you are impervious, that you refuse to be a party to his power play, his game will consist of a single player and lose its luster. I couldn’t help but ponder on that snippet of wisdom as I watched furious mobs attacking US, British and German diplomatic missions with devastating consequences in terms of human life, all because of a 14-minute amateurish production that would have remained buried in the bowels of YouTube unnoticed if a few emotive viewers hadn’t predictably over-reacted.