Justice vs. Revenge: A Sikh Responds to the Terrorist Attacks

Revenge, a kind of 'wild justice,' shoots wildly; justice aims exactly and exactingly.

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Non-violent methods of conflict resolution must be first exhausted. Do not go looking for war; it must be thrust upon you. Weapons are not to be picked up lightly; they must be used only under strict discipline and after grave and serious consideration. Non-violent alternatives must always continue to be explored even during war. And arms must be laid down as soon as feasible alternatives appear. Even so, justice and forgiveness remain at the core of all actions. For Sikhs these are not mere teachings, they are requirements of the faith every moment of every day. As Albert Camus reminds us, "There is no need to hang about waiting for the Last Judgment - it takes place every day."

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It is well to remember that though the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceedingly fine. The thought expressed in the Bible--that "Whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap"--is repeatedly and powerfully expressed in the Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth.

The prayer recited every day by every Sikh and in every Sikh place of worship asks God for the gift of discernment and critical thinking. It also asks for the betterment of all humanity, irrespective of religion, race, gender, color or ethnicity. Perhaps in such universality of thought and prayer lies the way to transcend fanaticism, hatred and intolerance.

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