Book Reviews

The Opposite of Hate; A Field Guide to Repairing our Humanity: Bezuban Baloch

Sally Kohn is one the famous liberal political commentators and community organizers. She is also the founder and CEO of Movement Vision Lab- a grassroots think tank, majorly focuses on spreading liberal and progressive ideas. Besides, she is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News and a well-known TED-talker. She is a regular columnist. She writes for Washington Post, New York Times, New York Magazine, Time, and many other outlets.

The writer begins with the famous saying of Nelson Mandela, “ No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate”. To her the hate is an art to be learnt not an inborn characteristic of a man.

The writer introduces us different types of hate, why do we hate, our justification to hate, and all other things. This hates begins from a street and torches the whole mother planet Earth. It spreads at every nooks and corners. It ranges from white supremacy and even does not end at terrorism and religious extremism. It goes much more beyond one’s comprehension. This has been emphasized that hate is not an inborn and genetic expression rather a man’s architect.

This book is a researched oriented outcome. The writer visited Africa, Middle East and traveled across the USA. She aimed at exploring the philosophical and historical deep rooted reasons of hatred in societies. She narratored some unbearable and unbelievable stories of hate. She also explains how she herself hated Vicky and how she herself was hated and trolled on twitter.

She spotlights that social media is a fueling tool of hatred and discrimination. Interestingly, when internet was invented it was perceived to be a principal source of connectedness. However, soon this blessing transformed into a total deception and disappointment. Tragically, Social media platforms have become the field for spreading hatred notions. It is even more dangerous than the physical violence. It is a psychological virus. This arena is even more secure to spread the hatred. Twitter trolling is the best example in this context. According to the writer, “ Twitter seems to be more alluring modern platform for hateful expression”. Because, they are less visible and less accountable.

According to writer, the self-deception is one of the major reasons of hate. We deceive ourselves and do hatred. Because we believe that those we hate, they actually deserve the hatred.It is justified by the one who commits hate and violence. It is a common psyche among the people to believe that their hatred have genuine reasons. Wittingly or unwittingly, we all human beings do this evil. One way or another way, we all do this because of a self-deceptive perceptions. None is exception. W e all hate, and if we think we don’t , we’re lying to ourselves. The subjugated and hated person is always regarded as the creation of lesser God. Writer remarks, “we all hate. All of us. That includes me- and I am afraid it also includes you”. She further says, “the capacity for self-deception is in all of us”.

Likewise, Kohn also recognizes that essentialism is another major reason of hatred pronouncement. Essentialism is basically a concept in which it is assumed that the whole community must have the same characteristics, traits, traditions, properties, qualities, life style norms and other things. The difference against the essentialism always breeds violence and hatred. The diversity is opposite of love and activator of hatred. This essentialist concepts can safely be related to our society. Where we hate other castes, tribes, sects, and ethnics. Because, to us they don’t have the essential characteristic what we have. Thus, the fire of hate is ignited against those they sound different.

Apart form Essentialism, We-versus-they phenomenon is equally responsible for the spread of hatred notions. The societies and people are divided between two groups: the one who belongs to us, is loved, and other who is the other, deserve hatred and violence. This is a kind of generalization. The concept of family, community, tribe and other are regarded within groups while the rests are dubbed as “ outer-group”. Hence, ours and youse is a divisive approach where hate is sowed and violence is encouraged.

Hate is as dangerous as a pandemic. Hate notion destroys everything. This makes the people sick and angriness is a sickness: “It weakens our immune system and leads high blood pressure, stress and anxiety”. The writer shares the panic genocide experience have took place in Rwanda in 1990s. This hatred bred genocide which snatched lives of nearly around 6 millions people. Therefore, it is more fatal than any pandemic.

Finally, the writer concludes with an articulation to substitute the hate. She articulates if not hate then what? And what can replace the hate. Mostly, people may think that the opposite of hate is love. But writer mindbogglingly negates that the opposite of hate is also not love. The opposite of hate is connection. She emphasizes the elimination of habit of historical hatred begins within individuals. An approach from smaller to a bigger change. She says that if we don’t find this change in ourselves then we cannot find it in others and society arounds. She rightly remarked, “but the good news is, it is possible[ to abandon hate]. Just look at the terrorist who became a peace activist. Or a white supremacist who became a Buddhist”.



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