I’m going to try to stay as objective as I can on this subject. Objectivity is important because I believe that all parties who engage in war are wrong. We all see the world from a point of view forced into us from the time of birth. Other points of view are often seen as wrong, evil, sinful and other words denoting the same theme. My point of view is that all points of view are right and wrong, and that power-hunger lies behind violent actions. Perhaps that is my autism speaking, or maybe I’m at the point in life where I realize that there aren’t that many true motives for what we do.
How would I have reacted if I had experienced the killings in Peshawar, Pakistan?
In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday and killed 141 people — almost all of them students (Prince George Citizen)
Or been one of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram?
Of the 276 girls seized from the school, 219 are still missing, despite government claims in October that a deal for their release had agreed with alleged Boko Haram negotiators. (Zeenews)
Perhaps I could try to figure out what living in the areas that ISIS kill their way through would be like. Maybe even one of the children whose “religious education was now over”. (Reuters)
What would it be like to live in the US having the “wrong” color of an African-American (USA Today)?
I can never understand how the people going through these things are feeling or what they are thinking because I will never be them. People think that autistic people cannot put themselves in another person’s place. Why any person would think that they could place themselves in another person’s mind or emotions is beyond me. People can only truly understand and empathize with their own feelings. What we do when we try to understand others is simply a projection of our own emotions. What I can do, is try really hard to imagine how I would feel (or have felt) if something gruesome happened to me. Many autistic people have plenty of those experiences to remember.
There are some experiences in my life that could help me on my way to pretending that I was in one of the above situations. Seven years of my school life were spent being bullied. During that period I was intermittently sexually abused. My autism has placed me as an outsider because of things I do and say when I am with NAs (non-autistic). Then there is a handicap brought about by child-birth. At times it is highly visible (wheel-chair) but when it is not I have received some pretty harsh comments.
None of these experiences are the same as the ones above, but they do give me a starting point for trying to understand what it must be like to live those lives.
Fear is my first thought. Fear creeps into the crevices of our minds and glues itself to all the neurons that will accept it. Life would probably always have an element of this fear. At times it might become panicky and completely irrational while at other times fear could combine with a clear mind and give me enough adrenaline to find a way to deal with what was happening. But fear would always be present.
- My tendency in dangerous situations is to dissociate. Inside my head that means everything from distancing myself from what is happening to blanking out while whatever is going on happens. Sometimes I later remember the dissociative experience. Other times it is gone forever. But my body remembers. Certain smells and sounds used to bring out an intense fear-experience. Shudder.
- Usually there is part of my head that manages to stay cool. At times I have even been able to do what needed to be done, and then later on I would have a melt-down. My non-melt-down part is able to figure out everything while the rest of me melts down in my “safe” place. For me that is a corner of my mind that I crawl into.
- Then there is helplessness. Feeling powerless is awkward. Hope disappears and it is as if I have accepted whatever situation I have been forced into. Perhaps once the feeling of helplessness has arrived, giving up is right around the corner. I imagine many of the perpetrators above hated their feelings of being powerless so much that they were willing to do anything to get some kind of power. Killing, maiming, raping and destroying became a way of grabbing for what they wanted.
Point of view depends on which side of a conflict you stand. I do not know how the powerless can gain power without harming people. What I do wish is that those who grab for what they do not have could try to realize the extent of harm they are doing others, probably innocent others, and find a method that goes after those who do not wish to share power.