One of my dearest friends wrote this beautiful blog post. Read it if you can and check out her blog, follow her on twitter and all that great social network stuff. She is phenomenal and this post is stunning.
A Lesson in Humanity
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN ON SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
R.I.P Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith & Glen Doherty
R.I.P Tyrone Woods
I started this week with the theme of Beauty. For me it was a natural transition from ‘Wisdom and Age’ that would bring us to “Awe,” corresponding with the “10 Days of Awe” between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. My themes are generally organic; they represent what is relevant for me in my life, while at the same time trying to keep in synch with current events. No matter what, they are always an expression of my values and perspective.
This week current events inspired me to take leave of my chosen theme of ‘Beauty’ – or perhaps helped me continue with it in a different way than I had expected…
On Wednesday morning I woke up and began my usual routine. My husband and I were talking over tea when he received a phone call from Libya. The US Ambassador had been killed in Benghazi. This was heart wrenching news. We didn’t know how or by who, all we could do was hold on, wait for more information and offer to help in any way we could. It was frightening and saddening. What I had heard went against everything I know and have experienced in Libya. I was worried for my family there and my heart was with all our friends who have worked so hard for the liberty and progression of their country.
Then a beautiful thing began to happen. I started receiving text messages and phone calls from people. They were concerned for us, for our friends and for our country. Over the next few days people from all over the world, as close as my family and as distant as business colleagues and professionals – from Europe, South America, the US and Asia – were sending their condolences. Before I met my husband I didn’t think much about Libya – it just wasn’t on my radar. Since I have known him, Libyans have become a part of my family. For many of my friends it was the same way. Many of them were concerned about my getting involved with a Libyan, a Muslim, especially my American friends and, understandably, my Jewish family. They hadn’t met any Libyans, many of them had never met a Muslim. For my husband & his Libyan family & friends, it was the same.. Americans, and in my family’s case Jewish Americans, were unknown to them. Through the friendship, dedication & care brought by people like Chris Stevens, and in a different way, through the union of our marriage, we have built a subtle bridge that has impacted all of our lives. Consciously or unconsciously we have all carried the prejudices perpetuated by our medias, histories, folklore and hearsay.. and with no human, person to person experience; we lacked a reason to re-evaluate our beliefs.
In the last year, Libya has gained new friends. There are new people all over the world who are watching her, routing for her and caring about the well being of her people. A link in the human family has been re-established through friendship: For the people in my life Libya is no longer a place of “them,” it is a place of “us.” This is beautiful.
This is one of the many triumphs bore of last week’s tragedy. We cannot undo the past and bring back the lives we have lost. What we can do is mourn, recognize the significance of this loss and perhaps, in the spirit of these Jewish High Holy Days, repent. We do not know exactly who killed Ambassador Stevens and his colleagues, but they alone are not responsible. Each of us, when we allow fear and prejudice to prevail over love and humanity, are responsible for their deaths in some way: Fear and prejudice are the root of such violence.
So, let us all; Muslims, Jews, Christians et al honor the lives lost in Libya last week – and all those lost around the world this last year. As intended in the Days of Awe, let us solemnly look inside ourselves – not to punish or feel guilt, but to find internal peace and resolution. Let us seek to heal wounds we have caused, and make amends with people we have treated with violence – no matter how small the act. Let us vow to overcome the fears that keep us from recognizing our perceived foe as friends. Let each of us re-establish at least one link in the broken chain of humanity. Le’shana tova.
Here are a few of my favourite tweets from the past week:
“No one is born hating another person..” – Read it here – Love this quote from Mandela & so poignant re situation in #Libya & around the world..
Imagine if we put as much effort into restoring ‘internal damage’ as we did external.. @TheAtlantic – Read it here
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ? Marcus Aurelius #Quotes #Beauty
?RT @INLIFO ’Peace Be Upon You’ @saletan writes for @Slate – Read it here