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Love is only weapon that can destroy hate speech

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Rev. Fr. John Damian


Early this year the Federal Government of Nigeria declared a fierce war against hate speech. The operation python dance is still going on in different states in Nigeria. The number of soldiers that are deployed all over the country is more than what we have during the military regime. I’m still wondering what is happening in our borders. May God not allow the enemies to attack our borders! Now that the soldiers have taken over the internal security of the country, I wonder what the police will be doing.

Whatever be the case, I want to use this medium to let my fellow Nigerians know that no amount of violence can stop violence. Revenge is a barbaric and irrational way of dealing with issues. That is why great leaders and thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi declares, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Vengeance belongs to God! We cannot use fire to quench fire. Using hate action to stop hate speech is like using fire to quench fire. Two wrongs cannot make a right!

When the Late President Yar’Adua was having security challenges, he had the option of using military force against the aggrieved youths, but he decided to introduce the Amnesty programme. The money he would have used to procure weapons were channeled into the Amnesty programme. That is why there was relative peace during his reign.

The amnesty programme is rooted in the principle of love and forgiveness. As soon as the President granted political pardon to the militants, most of them surrendered their weapons willingly and embraced the amnesty programme. Instead of Amnesty what we are hearing today is hate speech, crocodile smile (tears), python dance, etc. These military actions have not succeeded in bringing insurgencies to an end. The more we apply military actions, the more violence and hate speech we record. What then is the way forward?

While reflecting on today’s second reading from 2 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 where St. Paul presents Love as the only virtue that can transform our society, I concluded that the only way to bring all forms of hate speech to an end is through love action and love speech. Moreover, Nigeria is no longer under the military regime where force and command are the only language people understands.

Love is not just the greatest virtue that can destroy the kingdom of hostility, violence and aggression. It is the only weapon that can destroy the forces of hate speech. According to St. Paul, we are nothing without love. “…If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

For St. Paul Love is patient and kind; “love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love endures all things.” Love is not just the only weapon that can destroy the forces of hatred it is also the only ladder to climb up to heaven. Without love we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. With love we can transform our society into a peaceful and more united nation. So, let there be love!


In this article:
Rev. Fr. John Damian
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