Still another unforgettable face appeared among news media pictures this week. This time it was from Syria. Her face joins many others showing unmistakable effects of tragedy, with abundant past examples from this planet we inhabit –
* a boy, 5 or 6 years old, with his brave older brother and mother, staring uncomprehendingly at an opaque box cocontaining the remains of a father killed by a cluster bomb in Desert Storm
* another boy, accompanied by several Iraqi siblings, minutes after both of their parents were killed because ofof a misunderstanding at a roadblock
* a man, overcome by grief, carrying the body of his beloved wife who had just died (was it starvation in BiBiafra? With so many disasters who can recall?)
* plus so many more — enough to fill more pages than the number available.
Because most of us in the U.S. haven’t had those experiences, many of us tear up maybe once or twice in a decade. That leads to the belief that we just don’t care (“out-of-sight = out-of-mind”). Don’t believe it; those reminders of others’ shattered lives are enough to make anyone burst out crying. The question is: WHAT CAN WE DO to prevent those tragedies? The disasters that have already happened, being in the past, can’t be retrieved — but what can be done to bring any comfort to those who suffered through devastation ??
Past events that none of us have any power to change clearly indicate looking beyond ourselves for answers. For those who believe in God that means: IN THE LONG RUN (in the final analysis) “the last shall be first … ” — if I didn’t believe that I couldn’t write this because I wouldn’t have any idea at all.
A related question: what can be done to help prevent any FURTHER tragedies? OK, here I have to extend beyond my reach in attempting to answer that one. Immediately it must be admitted — I don’t know what the answer is but only what the answer ISN’T. The answer ISN’T to follow the advocates of hatred. I’ve always believed that names like bin-Laden never represented Islam, but “pretend”-Islam, accepting murder of innocents (including women and children). Another example: Zarkawi, not content to murder Christians but other Muslims as well. The pattern repeats and repeats over again throughout history.
The philosophy tracing (at least) as far back as Napoleon (“When France is at war against England, then ALL of France is at war against ALL of England”) — was obviously dead-wrong. The Muslim woman whose face prompted this writing had nothing to do with 9/11/2001; I care about her. Having no power of my own I can only derive assurance that God will take care of her. There’s no doubt in my mind that, at some time, God will do that — the same God recognized by all “sons-of-Abraham” (whether Christian or Muslim or Hebrew).
When will we EVER learn that monsters who lead by killing have no legitimate call to lead? “My-way-or-the-highway” brought ruin not only to Hitler and Stalin but also to more recent examples (Timothy McVeigh among tons of others). If Muslims will let an outsider (I’m a Christian) recommend an alternative, let me suggest the name of Sistani. I easily recognize him as a man of God.
Admittedly it’s easy for me to say: Muslims, disown your extremists as we in the U.S. must disown ours. Your task is harder than mine (no one will kill me for debunking Rush Limbaugh) but still it’s equally imperative. It is widely recognized that the overwhelming majority of Germans in mid-1900’s DID NOT WANT Nazis in power. The Nazis were organized while others were terrorized. Again this was far from a unique case in history; the results were perfectly clear, even as they unfolded. The same lesson now applies to the vast Muslim majority: Stand united against the criminals who hijack your culture and who threaten to destroy your legitimacy for generations to come. Overrule them. Anyone else trying to do that for you will fail, with disastrous results.