The capture of Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb general accused of masterminding the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, is good news.
It also is a painful reminder of the depravity that is alive and well in the world. This is nothing new, of course. Nations, and individuals, have, throughout human history, engaged in horrific crimes against whole groups of people, as well as individual persons in those groups. Think of the Middle Passage and chattel slavery in the U.S., untold violence in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Rawanda, and of course the Nazi Holocaust.
The seeds of such horrors were brought home to me on Tuesday as I visited Capitol Hill, lobbying for LGBT equality with other Virginia clergy. As we tried to enter the House of Representatives office buildings, we had to walk through throngs of angry protestors, both anti- and pro-Israel. The signs were ugly, and the shouting and screaming were, too. I noticed mostly anti-Israel signs, but there were anti-Palestinian signs as well.
Police were very evident, and I was glad. Even though no one was killed, the level of rage felt frightening. So it was unlike the actions of those, like General Ratko Mladic, who are accused of mass killings–and creating and filling mass graves.
Still, the slope is slippery, and it does not take long for deep hate to lead to murder, and group extermination.
Somehow, we must find a way to break the cycle of hate in Israel and Palestine so that it does not result in more violence. Please pray for peace.