The Eco-Consciousness pages of The Zoo Fence are about the planet's environment, the pollution that threatens its health, and the efforts necessary to redress the damage and restore balance.
Surely the most dangerous form of pollution is hatred.
The February 2002 issue of Smithsonian Magazine features a story about hatred that is at once disturbing and inspiring.
It began in September, 1957, at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The US Supreme Court had mandated school integration, and the Governor of Arkansas had chosen to resist. Nine black American youths attempted to enroll. A crowd of white students and adults responded in anger, venting hatred.
Among the black youths was Elizabeth Ekford, and among the white youths was Hazel Bryan Massery. In this extraordinary photograph, a Pulitzer Prize runner-up, the two appear, Massery (center, mouth open) taunting and jeering, Ekford (at right) exhibiting “courage and grace”.
Imagine the destruction and pain caused by that hatred, to the individuals involved, to the nation, and to the planet. And yet, awful as it was, it has been repaired. Six years after the event, Massery telephoned Ekford and apologized, and in 1997, forty years after the confrontation, the two met again at the school, in person in peace.
If they can, we can. Whatever anger and hatred each of us harbors is destroying us and polluting the planet we inhabit. We can release it, and channel that energy into healthier, more constructive directions. If we will to do so.
A character on the Public Broadcasting Service television program Foyle’s War (1:3), quotes another on the subject of hatred,
Do not go into that dark place. Fear it. Fear the embrace that awaits you,
For you must know it touches once and then will not let go.