August 11, 2006

Beat Swords into Plowshares

When I was 8 years old a hornet's nest began to take shape in the back of our yard. I went out and watched with a combination of fascination and fear as it grew day by day.

Finally, unable to stand the suspense, I took a big brick and threw it at the nest, breaking off the bottom half and sending the hornets into a swarming frenzy. I ran away as fast as I could as the angry bees swirled behind.

When I think of the relationship of the United States to the Middle Eastern Muslim countries, my experience as an 8-year-old comes to mind. "Why do they hate us?" Americans ask. Well, we've thrown a brick at their hive.

Forget the rhetoric about World War III. Choose the rhetoric of the Middle Eastern prophet Isaiah: "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

Frank O'Hara is vice president of Planning Decisions in Hallowell.

By Frank O'Hara