Written by Mindy Hartung
This past Thursday there was an interactive and engaging conversation in the Lakeside Room at the Wilson Center. Dr. Monica Dimauro, Prof. Troianne Grayson, and Prof. Melissa Boyd lead us on a deep and thought provoking journey through the ideas of hate and revenge. The talk centered around the wonderful book “The Bosnia List” by Kenan Trebincevic. In the book, Kenan gives us his first-hand account of the conflict his country faced during his childhood, the terrors he and his family endured, and the emotional journey back home in his adulthood. It is on this return trip where Kenan makes his ‘Bosnia List’ full of things to do to make amends as well as get some revenge.
Revenge is the topic of revenge that kicked off our conversation. How that the thought of revenge most certainly stimulates the parts of our brain that control pleasure, but the act of revenge itself brings about a whole range of emotions and often times doesn’t bring the peace and closure we thought it would. “A man that studied revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which would otherwise heal, and do well”. –Sir Francis Bacon. Because these wounds don’t actually heal, the cycle of revenge only escalates and becomes nothing more than hate.
The conversation had us thinking about things others had said and done to us as well as what we had done to others. In small groups, we discussed specific events from our lives involving hate and how it impacted us, how it was important to stand firm against it, and what can be done to stop it. It was agreed by every group that hate has played a major role in shaping who we are and how we react to the world around us. The solutions to this vicious cycle of hate and revenge were to educate, open minds, and above all else, remember that we are all human and should be treated and respected as such.
This was a memorable experience hearing stories from so many different types of people about how hate and revenge influenced their lives. It was a shocking realization that this is a major problem not just here, but everywhere. There is no quick fix, but through education, understanding, and a bit of compassion things can get better.