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.
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.