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The Monster's Face: Terrorism through a Child's Eyes
by Leah Sellers
2016-09-06 10:29:52
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“Mommy, Mommy ! Look at me ! Look at me ! I have made my very own Halloween costume ! I have put on my Monster‘s Face”

Peggy could hear her nine year old son, Johnny, running down their home’s long hallway‘s hardwood floor. She stopped working on her computer and turned around to watch him make his grand entrance with a big Smile of Anticipation on her face. Her Johnny was a Bright and Imaginative Child.

The moment Johnny slid into her bedroom-turned-into-an-office, Peggy’s Smile of Delight became a look of disturbed puzzlement. “Johnny, why are you dressed-up like a member of ISIS ?”

child01_400Johnny’s handsome face was hidden behind the black shawl he had rummaged out of his Mommy’s Closet. “I’m not a ISIS, Mommy. I’m a Jihadist ! Are you scared, Mommy ?!  Arrrrgh !”

“Johnny, do you know what a Jihadist is ? And, if so, how ?”

“Yes, Mommy, I know what a Jihadist is. They are the Monsters, dressed-up just like me, killing real live people on the t.v.. I see them when you and Daddy watch the news. And I have friends at school whose Mommy’s and Daddy’s have to fight the Monsters somewhere across the ocean. Somewhere East.”

“You mean the Middle East ?”

“Yes, yes ! That’s it Mommy. The Middle East. We are helping the people the Jihadists want to make their Slaves. But Mommy, I heard one of Daddy’s friend’s say that the people the Jihadists want to make Slaves are already the under paid and over worked Slaves of the Rulers making lots of money off of them to begin with. That those Rulers are very greedy, and hanging onto all of the wealth of the Nation for themselves anyway. He said that most of those Rulers were Dic-ta-tators, who were Manipulating the Jihadists to make a mess of things for other Dic-ta-tators that they don’t like or want to steal things from in the name of Allah. And then America hopped into that very same mess for the very same reasons, Mommy. But we did it for God and Country, not understanding that we were being Manipulated, too.”

“Mommy, what is America stealing from those other Dic-ta-tators and their Slaves ? The news never talks about that Mommy. Only Daddy and his friend, Mr. Buddy McCain. And Mommy, what is a Allah ?”

“Allah, is the Muslim’s Word for God, Johnny. Did your Daddy know that you were listening in on that particular conversation, young man ?”

“No, Mommy. I was looking for Daddy, but when I heard him and Mr. Buddy McCain talking so serious-like, I hid behind the pick-up, and sat on the side-board, and waited for them to not sound so serious anymore so that I could join them.”

“Mommy, does Allah know Jesus Christ ? Does Jesus Love Allah like he loves God ?”

“I’m sure that He does, Johnny. Jesus Loved EveryOne. I’m pretty sure that He understood that as long as Folks were trying to be Good to one another, and trying to Love and Understand and Work with and Do Right by One another that it didn’t matter what they called God.”

“But Mommy, the Jihadists are killing people, and doing all kinds of terrible things to people, and making them Slaves. How can Jesus Love them ?”

Peggy cringed inside. She was not ready to have such a heavy philosophical and religious discussion with her son. She quietly cursed she and her husband being so lax about what Johnny viewed on television with them.

“Well, yes, Johnny. That’s what the Good Book tells us. That Jesus Loves them, but that he wishes that they would stop their Bad Behaviors and Behave in better and more positive ways.”

“What’s a better and more pos-tive way, Mommy ?”

“Well, that they would stop killing and being mean so mean to other people. Even if they think and feel as if those people treated them in the very same ugly ways in order to make money, take power or territories or settle old scores.”

“Why do the Jihadists hate Americans so much, Mommy ?”

“Johnny, that’s a very complicated answer, but much of it boils down to how we treated them in the past. Hateful people like the Jihadists don‘t just pop-up in Cultures all over the World for no Reason.”

“What did we do, Mommy ? Mommy, I thought that America never made mistakes. I thought that America is perfect.”

“No honey, we’re not any more or less perfect than the next Nation. Just like Human Beings. That’s just the state of things. But we are responsible for the Choices we make, good or bad. We‘re responsible to and accountable for the ways we treat other people in the short-term and in the long-run.”

“You tell me that all of the time, Mommy. Did Jesus tell you that ?”

Peggy smiled tenderly at her young Inquisitive Son, “No, Johnny. Life has taught me that, and a few Wise People along the way that I Chose to Listen to.”

“I try to Listen to you and Daddy, Mommy, but sometimes it’s so hard to be Good. Sometimes, I just really, really want to Be Bad. Sometimes, I talk to Jesus about it when I pray in bed at night, and I ask him to Forgive my Monster Face.”

“Every Human Being walking this Planet feels that way from one time or another, Johnny. But in order for the World to Work in an Orderly, Fair and Just fashion, it’s important for Folks to try to Be more Good than Bad. And I‘m glad that you talk to Jesus about controlling your Monster Face.”

“Mommy, what will God do to the Jihadists. Will he send them to Hell to be with the red-horned Devil ? Will they have to burn like barbeque for the rest of their lives ?”

“I hope not, Johnny. You see, each one of those Jihadists has a Mommy and Daddy, a Sister or a Brother, a Son or a Daughter just like you and me. I wish for them what is Best in Life, not Hopelessness, Poverty, Chaos, Endless Suffering and Death. I wish that they would all put their guns and bombs down and their war machines away, and start Talking in meaningful and calm ways to EveryOne. In the long run, that’s the only thing that really brings people and Great Nations together. They just need to Truly Talk to and Listen Carefully to one another’s Needs and Hopes and Dreams. They need to Re-Member that we are Equally Valuable in the Sight of God - of Allah.”

“Mommy, the Jihadists aren’t the only Monster Faces hurting the World. There are Monster Faces everywhere. When I’m being a Bad Boy, I am wearing my very own Monster Face. But I am Brave and Strong when I Choose to take my Monster Face off. Is that what you’re talking about, Mommy ?”

“Yes, Johnny, that’s what Mommy is Talking about. We all have Monster Faces inside of us, Johnny. It’s up to us to put our Monster Faces on or not. It’s up to us whether or not we kill or hurt or do very bad things to other people or even to ourselves. And we shouldn’t hide behind God or Allah when we put our Monster Faces on. We need to call out and challenge our Monster Faces with honesty and kindness.”

“Mommy, I think I want to be Batman this year. I‘m going to tell the Jihadists to make better decisions that help people or get out of Gotham !”

“Batman, it is. At least we’re making a little progress in the right direction.”

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