Since the beginning of my training as a psychotherapist, and maybe before, I’ve known that one person can change the world. One person’s actions, but also one person’s thoughts and feelings. That person’s own immediate world built in and around him or her. That person’s extended world of relatives, coworkers, and everyone he or she comes into contact with through a day or a week. And on and on and on into society and our world.
A clear, destructive, and dangerous example of this occurred on March 21, 2011, when Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida – the same Terry Jones who threatened to hold an International Burn A Koran Day on September 11, 2010, and then after the world response said he would not go through with it – carried out his threat to burn a copy of The Koran, the holy book of Islam. Jones held a mock trial, execution and burning of the Koran, with 30 people witnessing. He claimed the holy text of Islam was guilty of crimes.
Terry Jones’ took the action he took . . . “the consequences be damned.” His action has caused more damage than perhaps we will ever know. Certainly we do know that after he burned the Koran, 12 United Nations workers in Afghanistan were killed by demonstrators protesting Jones’ action. Nine other people were killed and 90 injured in a separate demonstration in Kabul.
Terry Jones’ behavior and all the rhetoric around it were filled with prejudice. Prejudice he learned and developed where in his early life? But it was also filled with more. What wounding in his own life was Pastor Jones acting out? Who hated Terry as a little one? Who declared him as just a tiny boy “guilty of crimes”? Who held a mock trial for little Terry Jones? Who threatened to burn him as a child? Literally or figuratively? Who gave him a chance to defend himself, but when he was unable did something violent to him . . . as violent as burning his sacred self? Who acted out the hate and fear and woundedness of their own childhood(s) on Terry Jones many long years ago? And what were the consequences on Terry and others in that person’s world? And now this is the consequence on the Koran, the world’s Muslims, our country, and our world!
We are all sacred. Wound one of us and that wounding gets passed on again and again, from generation to generation . . . until someone says ‘enough’ and does his or her own healing to the root. Until we all say ‘enough’ and do our own healing to the root!
© Judith Barr, 2011