Soon, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi and Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad both will pass into history’s dustbin mingled with the blood of thousands of innocent citizens murdered by each regime. Revenge would be a natural and tragic response by those who have been brutalized and oppressed by each ruler for so long.

I have been thinking about the peoples of the Middle East emotional need for revenge this past week not only because of the revolutions coming to a head in both Libya and Syria, but also in light of the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul that arrives on Monday evening and leads a month later to Rosh Hashanah.

The following are reflections taken from voices uttered over a long period of time on revenge:

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
-Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948, India)

In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.
-Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626 CE, England)

Live well. It is the greatest revenge.
-Talmud (500 C.E. Babylonia)

Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind.
-Juvenal (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, Roman poet, late 1st and early 2nd century AD)

Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools.
-Juvenal (ibid)

Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt.
-Thomas Moore (1779 – 1852, Ireland)

Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.
-Walter Weckler