. . . yes, In Defiance, In Anger, In Frustration and In Memory of:
Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusra and his sister-in-law, Razan Abu Salha
Murdered on February 10, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by a Bigoted, Racist, Executioner!
And, while all the other victims of America’s domestic terrorism who were murdered by white fellow citizens (mostly qualified by the prejudiced as having mental issues), are mentioned, remembered, and talked about ad nauseum, these three Muslim Arab-Americans are hardly ever mentioned except within their ethnic community and, by one of the very few news programs with integrity, “Democracy Now.” Our national bigotry is very insidious and deeply rooted!
I know that you’re not at all surprised by my words. After all, you’ve all heard me ranting and raving on multiple occasions about various issues. Right? In fact, one of my children actually becomes quite unhinged when I publish a tame post wondering if I’ve lost my brains already! Well, there’s a lot to be mad about in our world, isn’t there?
However, today I am addressing Bigotry and Discrimination in particular. And I want to begin by saying that, in all honesty, every Single Person On This Planet starts out by being exposed to these two afflictions and, while some of us carry them for life, others evolve into another level of thinking. All Of Us! In one way or another we hear, feel and sometimes adopt or assimilate these disorders from the environment around us.
“Don’t talk to your sister like trailer trash kids! We’re not like that.”
“I don’t know about your sleeping over at Maya’s house. They’re strange. Maybe because they’re Chinese? I don’t know. They’re just not like us.”
“This woman’s face is covered.” Followed, in a whisper, by “they’re from another religion. Not like us.”
And on and on are the many thousands of examples, many of them uttered by otherwise wonderful people who are generally progressive, open and inclusive. Somehow though, our ingrained and sporadic words about “others” manage to find their way occasionally and surreptitiously out of our mouths and into children’s ears on whom such bigotry sticks like Crazy Glue! It has happened to all of us!
This goes on in the United States and Everywhere else on our planet. In fact, the US was much better than many other countries in this respect because, more than any other nation, it is a Salad Bowl mix of people where Tolerance, Inclusiveness, Non-Discrimination, Empathy and Acceptance were taught and practiced by government, schools, organizations, institutions and most – not all – of the the general population. However, since that fateful 9/11 date these attributes, that we all used to be proud of, have been slowly and surely eroding, being manipulated by corrupt, opportunistic politicians who are supported by a fringe mob that cheers them on and a mainstream media that airs their bigoted views thus, maybe unwittingly, encouraging them even more.
A propos of this, I must confess that even those of us who have evolved and consider themselves as rising above that basest of talk and thinking, sometimes slip. I did! I was calling Customer Service of one of the corporations I deal with. After umpteen minutes on hold, and after waiting to be connected to the “special department” that dealt with my issue, and after paying for a service, and after being lied to twice during the same week when I needed an answer yesterday, I finally burst out that I wanted to cancel the order, have my money refunded and that I never again wanted to deal with them, or – and this is the clincher – with any India Inefficiency! Boom, I slammed the phone down!
Oh, Fuck! There is No rewind button for our words. What did I just say? Me? Who carries the banner for anti-discrimination? I, who consider myself evolved and progressive? I said that? I uttered those words? Damn! It was a low moment in my life! I cannot tell you how horribly I felt! How badly I still feel! Inexcusable!
However, guilty as I still feel about this incident, it is nothing to compare to all the words being strewn around by some of our politicians in the US, by some talk show hosts, writers and other such irresponsible citizens of this country and that end up hurting people.
Moreover, whereas I immediately knew that I had committed a grave error, the people who are brandishing the hateful, bigoted, racist, polarizing, inciting words all around this country do not have a shred of contrition!
Since 9/11 and, especially, a few years later with the election of the first Black President of this Republic, the rhetoric has been notching upward, becoming, as each day went by, more vitriolic and hateful. And, in this past election year particularly, the words have become viler and more hateful.
Arabs, Sikhs who are mistaken for Arabs, mosques, Islamic Centers and stores have been attacked, some establishments have been subjected to evil-worded graffiti or even set on fire, some women wearing hijab have been flung with frightening and threatening words yelled at them.
It is an appalling atmosphere and it is being mainly promoted by a white, radical, racist minority that is being encouraged by the speechifying of those in prominent and powerful positions.
And so the picture herewith is In Solidarity, In Defiance, In Anger, In Frustration and In Memory of victims Deah, Yusra, Razan and every Arab-American, or thought-to-be Arab, who has been subjected to bigotry. Because, what we wear, who we are, our income, our religion and what we believe in, our skin color and our ethnicity should in no way set us up as a target for Any Racist! Period!