I realize my presence here has been…erratic. Sporadic. If there are any other -atic/-adics feel free to add them here.
I’ve realized I want to write out, not just talk out, my feelings on terrorism. On one set of humans utilizing violence as an end to any means. Gandhi said it. MLK said it. Jesus said it. Even Malcom X came to his senses and said it. Violence is not the answer.
I’ve lived in diverse places in Europe and the U.S. I’ve lived among Muslims and Mexicans, Protestants and Poles, I’ve met, loved, cried, and laughed with friends who were (almost) every color of the rainbow.
I lived in the Netherlands when Yugoslavia broke up. I saw a country and its inhabitants open its doors to people who just wanted to live. I will repeat that. People who just wanted to live. Not necessarily thrive, be happy, drive a Mercedes, eat foie gras, dance the cha cha on Thursdays, or do any specific activity except get up every day and have the privilege (actually the right) of breathing.
I’ve watched the social media outbreaks all day. “You’re forgetting Beirut!” No, we have not forgotten Beirut. It’s just that what’s happening in Beirut has gone on so long we’ve become jaded to the fact it is still happening. Again, a repeat. IT IS STILL HAPPENING.
What can we do to fight intolerance? We can show peace and understanding for others in the world. For me, as an American, that means celebrating my RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and allowing others to practice theirs without shaming or disregarding them. It is when we sweep these things under the rug they come back to smack us in the face.
ML King has always been a great hero of mine. While my friends had posters of bands on their walls, I had a life size MLK so that I never walked out of my door without reading the “I Have a Dream” speech. I don’t think “all men are created equal” have ever rung truer to my ears than when MLK said them, although I’m grateful to the forefathers for writing them.
I’ve been watching this violence. I’ve been seeing frustrated and angry young people break into schools, and movie theaters, auditoriums and stadiums and shoot others down. It has nothing to do with religion. Religion may be utilized as a weapon, in the same way an AK-47 is used, but with more psychological damage instead of physical. Religion is used to JUSTIFY, but it is not the reason behind these attacks.
Do we need to address mental illness? Yes, yes we do. Do we need to address gun control? In the States, absolutely. Other countries such as Canada and Australia have enacted tougher legislation without infringing on people’s rights.
The bottom line is, yes, we care about Beirut. We care about Paris. We care about Oregon community college students and Virginia Tech. Anyone who incites terror is a terrorist, be they from Syracuse or Syria. What this absolutely means is this has to stop. THIS HAS TO STOP. And you, me, all of us that live in democratic nations have an especial means to do so. We have a responsibility. YOU AND ME. So that terror doesn’t win. No matter the color of its face. So that terror DOES NOT win.
So let’s stand together. Christians and Muslims, Jews and Atheists, Buddhists…all of you. ALL OF US. Let us stand together and shut down the violence. Today.