Arnold Schwarzenegger takes to social media to inspire those who live hate-filled lives to stop fighting the war against others and focus on the war against themselves.
The Austrian-born weightlifter and actor has been very vocal on his stance on war, hate and prejudice, an example being another social media message that was aimed at Russian citizens when the Russo-Ukrainian War intensified in March 2022.
In the video, he begins by remembering his tour of Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp a few months ago. He describes the heavy feeling that is present when at the site, remembering all the horrors that once happened there.
"Let me tell you something," says Schwarzenegger. "The weight on your back hits you at the very beginning, heavier than any squat I've ever done. And it never goes away. It's the feeling of history, of the millions of voices that were silenced decades ago begging you, begging you not to just look at their shoes, but to spend a few hours in them—to imagine you were there."
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After summarizing the typical life of the Jews in concentration camps, he poses a very important question, "How do we stop this from ever happening again?" The actor says this is where the real work begins.
Schwarzenegger then states that this video is for anyone who believes others are inferior to them because of their religion, the colour of someone's skin or their gender or sexual orientation.
His father, Gustav Schwarzenegger was a member of the Nazi party and fought in World War II. Since this information came public, many people have used it to disregard the actor's words and credibility, but Schwarzenegger has used it to talk about peace.
"I've talked a lot about my father and the broken men that I was surrounded by when I grew up in Austria after the Second World War. You know, they drank to numb their pain. Their bodies were riddled with injuries and shrapnel from the event of war, and their hearts and their minds were equally riddled with guilt. But besides the guilt and the injuries, they felt like losers, not only because they lost the war, but also because they fell for a horrible, loser ideology."
Schwarzenegger continues to say it didn't matter what the reason was for these men joining the Nazi party in the first place, he saw all of them ruined with guilt.
But he didn't make this video to guilt people, but rather motivate them to choose love instead of hate. It won't be easy, but it's worth putting in the effort on becoming a better person.
The Austrian then compares changing the path someone is on to working out, which he is very familiar with.
Reflecting on his journey, he says that he didn't get his strength from doing easy lifts, he pushed himself to his limits, until it hurt. The mind and character of someone are no different from their body and muscles.
Change is uncomfortable, but the way we grow as people is to embrace the discomfort.
"You know, the war that you have to really fight is the war against yourself."