I don’t usually get political on here. But a man named Khalid Jabara was shot down on his own front porch on August 12th, and I can’t not talk about it. Jabara was shot for being a Muslim. Khalid Jabari was an Eastern Orthodox Christian. To the killer it did not matter who he was, or what he actually believed. To the killer, he was one of a group, and he was dispensable. Khalid was a refugee from Lebanon. He fled the horrors of war only to walk into the nightmare of American Prejudice.
Stanley Majors, Jabara’s murderer, ran down Jabara’s mother, Haifa, with his car last September, with the obvious intention of killing her. Haifa survived, and Majors spent far too little time in jail before being released without parole, only to terrorize the family several times before killing Khalid on his own porch. Despite having an order of protection and despite involving the police several times, in the end, the law was unable to protect Khalid Jabara’s right to life.
For further reading on this story, see the article in the Huffington Post .
There is a scientific explanation for why we generalize, why we group people together. It has a lot to do with making sense of the world, deriving order from chaos, and survival (think “sticking with the tribe” and having a healthy fear of outsiders). But God help us if we are not more than automatons, slave to our primal subconsciouses.
There is a part of this whole grouping thing that can be healthy. For example, I feel a sort of camaraderie with the Jabara family. Khalid was one of my own. I am not Lebanese, but I do belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church. I also feel a camaraderie with other Irish-Americans, other moms, other writers and lovers of literature. Making connections with others helps us to work out the complexities of the human condition. But when we allow ourselves to group people into categories colored with hatred, we deny a shared humanity; we become like animals.
We live in a time that screams for a revolution. But so much of our energy is violent and misdirected. When we react to hate, do we not so often react with hate ourselves? In many respects I might call myself a feminist, and yet haven’t certain strains of feminism spoken hatefully towards men? How is this helpful? How does hateful speech help in the case of women’s rights? How is it justified? I am passionately pro-life, and yet the idea of someone killing an abortionist to appease their own hatred of the practice offends my respect for the sanctity of life. Black Lives Matter. But this cannot be properly expressed by dehumanizing white policemen (this is not an accusation against the entire movement, not a delegitimization of some very genuine concerns, only a commentary on the extremists that take the issue too far in the other direction, the cop-killers, the non-peaceful protesters). To repay hate for hate is to make a more polarized and prejudiced culture; it only instigates and enflames the initial issue. To terrorize an entire family for being of the same ethnicity as the 9/11 terrorists is to simply make a false and illogical connection, to become part of the problem that you think you are fighting against. Every “group” has it’s evildoers. There have been Christians that have started unjust wars. There have been Atheists that have committed genocide, etc., etc. No one is without guilt when forced to face the sins of their people.
The problem isn’t men. The problem isn’t Arabs. The problem isn’t white people. The problem isn’t guns. The problem is hate. It is arrogance and ignorance.
Stanley Majors is a caricature of a deep prejudice that infects American politics.
Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed – but hate these things in yourself, not in another.
– Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
Democrats. Republicans. I am honestly ashamed to claim either of you right now. America, there is blood on your hands, and that blood runs both Red and Blue. Can we just try to have some conversations without the molotov cocktails? Can we stop fueling the hatred that is causing people to kill each other in the name of their theoretical gods, and start trying to understand each other a little bit more?
A drop in the ocean. I know. I know it’s been said a million times. But I cannot hear a story like Khalid’s and not say something.
I am still trying to figure out how to react to the hatred I see in the world. I have experienced hate on a personal level– directed toward myself and my family. I don’t know what to do with this. To return hate for hate would not only solve nothing, but bring a burden of bitterness on my heart that I refuse to bear. And yet love? That seems nearly impossible. But what is love, really, in this sense? Need it be soft? Need it make one weak? Perhaps Love is the fuel of a true revolution. Perhaps it is being patient, patient with those who do not see things the way we do. Perhaps it means showing kindness to those who are more vulnerable than ourselves. Perhaps it refuses to demand any more than it needs, and doesn’t express a feeling of entitlement. Perhaps love honors the individual regardless of race or religion. Perhaps love means not being hot-headed and argumentative, not meticulously counting and seeking out each other’s flaws, not celebrating any act of violence or evil. Perhaps love celebrates truth, protects and nourishes the weak, trusts and hopes in a brighter future, and holds no prejudices. This kind of love is the love of revolution. This is the Rosa Parks kind of love. This kind of love gets results. This love does not fail.*
If this struck a chord with you, follow my blog by entering your email address on the upper right hand side of this article. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter and/or share the article using the share buttons below.
*Paraphrase: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, The Holy Bible