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OT - A Request for Tolerance

by tilly (Archbishop)
on Sep 17, 2001 at 16:23 UTC ( #112844=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

In the wake of the attack on the WTC, racist incidents throughout the US are sharply up. So what I have tried to do is put together a few words to encourage people who might be inclined towards being racist to hold back. (Of course people without such inclinations don't need words at this point.)

I worked on it on zIWETHEY, and I am calling it done mainly because at some point you have to stop trying to edit. So here is the text that I would appreciate if you send around...

A Request For Tolerance As we all know, the United States is in a war. In all wars we need many kinds of skills, and this one is no different. So far we have needed fire fighters, doctors, blood donors and police investigators. We will shortly have many more needs. And many with those skills will come from our own Arab American community. Obviously they can serve in all of the ways that any American can serve. But only they can infiltrate terrorist cells. Many of them can provide translation services for our intelligence agencies. Some can provide specialized training and background for us. For the most part this is a community of loyal citizens, thankful for the opportunities that all Americans share. The actions of a few notwithstanding, these Americans believe in our country and, like the rest of us, want nothing more than to help in any way they can. Yes, many of them may follow Islam. But Osama Bin Laden's terrorists no more represent them than Timothy McVeigh represents Christianity. Let us not repeat mistakes past and try to make enemies out of loyal friends. Yet racists in our midst are doing just that. Wishing to do something against Arabic enemies, they attack our Arabic friends. This undermines both what we stand for as a nation, and our nation's ability to respond effectively to the current threat. America's strength and promise lies in providing a common home and purpose to people whose ancestors were divided. We should not let terrorists take this from us along with so much else. This, my friends and fellow Americans, is not the time for our house to be divided by racism, bigotry and hate. Our diverse nation, welcoming all, is the treasure we must preserve. So when next you see someone of another race, please smile. Ask them who they are and where they are from. Welcome them as fellow dreamers of our American dream. And if you see anyone harming our nation by attacking people we need in days to come, do not be passive. Instead speak up and show why these States are proudly named United. And please pass on this message and others like to to friends and family to remind them what we stand for and value.
Thank you, and my apologies for the OT post.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by VSarkiss (Monsignor) on Sep 17, 2001 at 20:04 UTC

    Well stated, tilly. Though I wrote elsewhere that I was eager for the monastery to return to more on-topic material, I think this note deserves wide readership.

    I think some analogies may serve to amplify your third paragraph.

    • Assuming all Arabs are Muslim is like assuming all Americans are Christian. (I read somewhere that the majority of Arab Americans are Christian, though I can't vouch for that one way or the other.)
    • Assuming all Muslims are radical militants is like assuming all Christians are members of the KKK.
    • Assuming anyone with a dark beard or head covering is Muslim or Arab is like assuming anyone who is white is American.
    Overgeneralization and ignorance are a big part of the cause of this disaster. Let's not propagate them.

      in tragic illustration of your third point, a Sikh-American of Indian birth was killed in the early hours of the morning yesterday in what was apparently a hate crime (the 12 pack of stolen beer did not appear to indicate a financial motive). Balbir Singh Sodhi had recently moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Mesa, Arizona, where he was gunned down while working at the gas station he had recently purchased by a man who also killed a Lebanese-American gas station attendant the same night*. (from A.P.)

      in these sad times, tilly's call for tolerance is of paramount importance.

      *update: the Lebanese-American man was not actually killed or injured. he was targetted by a man who also fired shots at an Afghan-American home, but it is not yet apparent that this same man also killed Sodhi (though all three events took place in the area of Mesa, Arizona on the same night).

Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by idnopheq (Chaplain) on Sep 17, 2001 at 20:42 UTC
    Tres bien!

    I concur with VSarkiss' post also. Here's a little personal experience of a friend of mine ...

    I called my friend this morning from work to make sure he's okay. He lives in Dearborn MI - one of the largest concentration of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans in the US. He and his are fine, but scarred. They've received phone threats and notes in their mailbox.

    They had to turn their phone off and not let their kids play outside.

    This is about the saddest and most distressing thing about the past six days. My friend is a native born US citizen as are his wife and kids. His parents emmigated here in the 60's. He votes, contributes to charity, gives blood (one thing I cannot do ), pays his taxes, WAS IN THE ARMY!, and was called up during the Gulf War. He prob will be called up again, yet his wife and kids are afraid to grocery shop or head off to school.

    I am incredibly embarrased and ashammed of the COWARDS who would damn these wonderful people because of Tuesday. IM-not-so-HO, as I have posted on my home node, these cowards are executing the same spirit as was done in the hi-jackings. Firebombing a mosque in Texas ... Arab- and Muslim-Amrican organizations receiving threats faster than they call call the police ... I just have to shake my head in deep and profound sadness ... that this kind of ignorrance and intollerance is so rampant ... but I'm very proud of how I raise my kids, how they are reacting to all this and learning from it. I wish more people did likewise.

    UPDATE: glad to get that off my chest ... and thank each and every God that the Monastary is here ... it's been a lovely refuge from the media reports. Let us all take a moment and reflect upon the many merrits and spirit of perl! Perhaps in this we can find peace!

    HTH
    --
    idnopheq
    Apply yourself to new problems without preparation, develop confidence in your ability to to meet situations as they arrise.

Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by cadfael (Friar) on Sep 17, 2001 at 17:21 UTC
    It's not just the latent racists, but all of us who need to keep this in mind.

    Part of me sees the logic in looking toward the Muslim community (here and worldwide) for suspects, but another part says 'Hey wait! Aren't we just judging someone on the cut of their clothes or whether or not they trim their beard?'

    It will be a long time before we can resume life as it was, and meybe that time will never come. Thanks for putting your concerns into words.

    We all share the horror of what happened, and we all hope for a world in which this will never again happen.

    -----
    "Computeri non cogitant, ergo non sunt"

Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by George_Sherston (Vicar) on Sep 17, 2001 at 21:00 UTC
    my apologies for the OT post

    Squatting in tilly's long shadow it'd be a brave Friar who would set himself up as the maker of manners, but as far as I'm concerned it's quite unnecessary to apologise. This has been a hot topic lately, and I certainly come down on the side that spirited exchange of views and personal experience etc is only a healthy thing; it builds up the community, which in turn, I believe, makes the technical exchange more vibrant and effective.

    George Sherston
Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by charnos (Friar) on Sep 17, 2001 at 20:41 UTC
    Kudos, tilly. I agree with VSarkiss that the Monastery should soon resume normal posts, but I am extremely pleased that a node like this one could be written before that time. Such a thing needs to be said, and more importantly understood by the general public. We cannot allow this act of barbarity to let us lose sight of our humanity and civility while we gather together our patriotism. I have already sent this post to many of my friends, and urge all monks to do the same. If this is an Off Topic post, it is the most relevant OT post I have ever read.
Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 17, 2001 at 21:11 UTC

    Indeed.

    A bullet through a window. Firebombs. Death threats. These acts have been perpetrated by a tiny fraction of both US and Canadian citizens against our own Arab/muslim communities (and against those misidentified as such). These acts are shameful, cowardly, terrorist acts. These acts spread fear among our citizens, causing parents to keep their children home from school, causing children to fear expressing their faith, denying many the simple solace of gathering together to pray.

    How terribly terribly sad that so many of our own citizens have their shock and horror and fear and pain compounded by this additional threat. How alone and isolated they must feel. We must not stand by and hope that things settle down. We must stand up for our fellow citizens and stand beside them. We must all be ever vigilant against the fear and hatred that comes from within as well as without.

Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by pmas (Hermit) on Sep 18, 2001 at 09:34 UTC
    I found Web petition to urge Bush to show restraint and avoid starting WW III. Many europeans are praying Bush will show leadership and will NOT react as texan cowboy - shoot first, ask question later.

    Another interesting link: on the subject of winning wars by Sun Tzu (cca 500 B.C): "In war, it is of supreme importance to attack your opponent's Strategy. The next best thing is to attack your opponent's Alliances. Next after that is to attack your opponent's Armies. The worst thing is to attack your opponent's Cities." Snu Tzu teaching applied on current situation

    What happened 9/11 is terrible beyond comprehention. What we need now is to avoid it becoming even worse tragedy.

    Osama's goal is to provoke "holy war": Western civilization against muslim world. We need moderate muslims to join our side... "Crusade" is not helping it - we fought (and lost) this war thousand years ago.

    Osama is a provocateur, dont play game in his rules. Treat him not as worthy opponent, but as dog with rabies. With calm.

    pmas
    To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.

Re: OT - A Request for Tolerance
by buckaduck (Chaplain) on Sep 18, 2001 at 00:03 UTC
    I'm constantly amazed... These people are presumably reacting against terrorism. Can't they see that their actions make them terrorists as well?

    Killings, death threats, and bomb scares against innocent civilians are the hallmarks of terrorism. Innocent people live in fear, every day, although they have done nothing wrong. If we're truly in a war against terrorism in general, let's begin by stopping these domestic terrorists before they can do any more damage.

    buckaduck

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