OK, let me start out by saying I’ve long been a fan of Madonna’s music — coming of age to songs like “Borderline,” “Material Girl” and “Like a Virgin.” (Yep, I’m a girl of the 80s.) And because I enjoy her music, I try to limit my exposure to her commentary on things outside the realm of music, like her latest religion or raw food diet, for example. I respect her as a musician and pop star, but don’t consider her a particular arbiter on anything beyond that.
But the music icon’s latest statement smacked me upside the head while I was following news of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. And I kinda wish I hadn’t seen it, it was so stunningly naive. (My apologies then for turning around and sharing it with y’all! Consider yourself warned.)
Madonna paused her concert in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday night and broke down in tears as she paid tribute to the victims killed in terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday — but the singer drew the ire of some social media users for suggesting that “only love” could change the world, and consequently, prevent terrorism.
“Yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people that do atrocious, degrading and unforgivable things to other human beings,” she said, “but we will never ever, ever change this world that we live in if we do not change ourselves, if we do not change the way that we treat one another on a daily basis.”
“Only love will change the world,” she added. “But it’s very hard to love unconditionally and it’s very hard to love that which we do not understand, or that which is different than we are. But we have to or this will go on and on forever.”
The singer’s later comments came under fire from some social media users and at least one editorial writer, who called her speech “well-intentioned,” but “misguided.”
“While in broad brushstrokes, there’s no argument that spreading love and treating one another with ‘dignity and respect’ will make for a better planet, but ISIS doesn’t play by those rules,” a writer for GossipCop wrote in an editorial. “ISIS detests our way of life. ISIS wants to wreak havoc on the Western world.”
“Does Madonna really think if we gave ISIS ‘love unconditionally’ they would no longer perpetrate horrific acts of violence? And can Madonna really ‘love unconditionally’ a group that beheads, throws over the sides of building, and stones to death men for being gay?”
Of course, upon a moment’s reflection about Madonna’s comment, I realized her stance is remarkably similar to someone else’s position on how to fight terrorism. Yeah, seems Madonna and President Obama are aligned on this. If only we could show them love, make them LIKE us, extend our hand and they will unclench their fist. Since that’s working out so well, right? I mean, Iran clearly loves us now — if we can just look into their hearts, beneath their chants of “Death to America” — now that we’ve struck our historic deal with them and told them we trust them. So perhaps that’s all we need to do with ISIS, right? Easy.
I’m a pretty loving gal myself and do believe showing kindness to people, even strangers, in one’s daily life can go a long way. Unfortunately, somehow I don’t think ISIS speaks this language.
To be fair to Madonna, I do agree with her stance that we must not let terrorism cow us and prevent us from enjoying our freedoms:
“I was going to cancel my show tonight but then I thought to myself, ‘Why should I give that to them? Why should I allow them to stop me and to stop us from enjoying freedom?’ All of the places where people were killed were places where people were having fun. People were enjoying themselves, eating in restaurants, dancing, singing, watching a soccer match. These are freedoms that we take for granted, of course, and we must not but they’re freedoms that we deserve. We work hard and we deserve to have fun, and there is no one in this world that should have the right to stop us from doing what we love.”
But we cannot stick our heads in the sand and pretend strong action is not required to PROTECT these freedoms — that the likes of ISIS wishes to destroy. And, sorry, Madonna and Obama, love alone ain’t gonna cut it.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]