“Exhaustion changed me – when people who I claimed to hate, treated me with kindness”

Earlier today on Radio 4, I was blown away by an interview with Arnaud Michaelis author of My Life After Hate”, former Founding member of the White supremacist movement in the States, former Lead screamer in a White Power Metal Band, Centurion, & former Leader of a Skin head Gang. I’ve transcribed some of it, because it was so amazing.

What changed you?

“A growing exhaustion, the biggest source of that exhaustion came was when people who I claimed to hate, treated me with kindness. I had a Jewish Boss, a Lesbian Supervisor, Black & Latino co-workers, who treated me with kindness when I least deserved it. That really drove home how wrong I was to hate people and everyday I am grateful for their bravery and the forgiveness that they had to practice in order to show me that kindness.”
“Practice & Cultivation of Forgiveness”
“I believe people lash out at other people because they are hurting, I think that all violence and hating is rooted in suffering. The more of us that proactice kindness and practice forgiveness on a daily basis, the grater the odds that the next person out there on the verge of hurting themselves or hurting others is reached and diverted from that path.”
Trump – and the Rise of the Far Right
“Speaking of forgiveness, one of the things that has been keeping me sane is seeing this this situation is a an opportunity to practice it as well as to challenge it – we need to challenge the fear and ignorance behind the far right narrative but we need to do it whilst keeping in mind that the people practicing that narrative are human beings as well….”
Powerful stuff.
You can hear the interview Radio 4 Today Programme 9th March Start from 2hrs 48mins 50 secs (if you’re outside the UK you may need a VPN like Tunneller).
The Forgiveness Project is hosting Arnaud as part of an exhibition at the Oxo Gallery in London.
“Choosing the path to stop the cycle of violence is just as difficult as choosing the other path of anger and hatred.” – Elizabeth Turner (England)