Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Something is very very wrong here

By now, everyone's heard of Virginia Tech. I have a habit of turning on CBC Radio One while I get ready in the morning, and for the last two days, as I listen, I tend to start crying at a word or two in the newscast. The whole situation is just so upsetting, but on top of how angry/sad/helpless the thought of these poor 32 people who lost their lives so senselessly makes me feel, there's a feeling that's poking around at the edge of consciousness and upsetting me even more. And it's this:

How many other deaths have I heard about while I get ready each morning in Iraq, in the Palestinian territories, in Afghanistan, in Rwanda, in Somalia, in Thailand, and in so many other countries and regions I can't even remember which ones they are anymore? Did I cry? Did I feel anything more than a twinge of frustration as I picked out my shirt/skirt/scarf/jewellery for the morning? Did my mind wander to other topics while that part of the newscast aired, and only snap back to attention when I heard something "relevant" to me, like the day's weather?

On Saturday, I was at a panel discussion on Promoting Peace and Healing between Muslims and Christians, and I spoke about how Islam ties the concept of Peace to the concept of Justice, how every believer has a responsibility to bring about justice in their day to day life, whether it be with something big or small. I quoted this prophetic saying:

That who sees something detestable, let him change it with his hand, if he cannot, then with his tongue, and even if he is not able, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith

And talked about how at the very least, protesting with our hearts was the way to keep ourselves from becoming desensitized to the world's injustices. I am desensitized. I'd be willing to bet that most of us who live in safe countries with heating and stocked fridges and cable tv and shopping malls are desensitized. I definitely, definitely need to get myself sensitized again.


Aisha said...

i hear u ya Noha, we have become desensitized. Although I was discussing these same points you brought up with someone, and I think Virginia Tech made me cry, because its an unsuspected massacre, right?
Like in Palestine, Iraq, Somalia etc., it is without a doubt unstable situation where death the way they die, has become a sad everyday reality we have come to expect and to hear about, and ofcourse we should never forget them in our prayers, and we pray that they continue to struggle for their causes to be alleviated from living unstable lives.
However university students going to class early Monday morning, getting shot? That is too close too home, that is a reality that tells us we dont know when death is going to come knocking on our door. I think thats what has us crying. Allah Knows Best.
(I by no way mean to be little lives lost elsewhere, only try to make sense of why I, you, and probably countless others felt this way). Email me when, if u respond.

noha said...

Salaams Aish,
I guess you're right about it being too close to home and too relatable, while we've grown used to the massacres and dying in other places around the world that are "war torn". But you know what? The scariest parts is that, for example, the war in Iraq kills so many civilians in Iraq, while historically, most of the people who would die in wars were soldiers. Now, it's kids on their way to school getting kidnapped, journalists, aid workers, people lining up for jobs at markets and offices... and these people, they're really no different than some students on their way to their university class: They didn't sign up for the war anywhere, they just HAPPENED to be living in a country that was suddenly invaded. So in that way, despite the fact that war and lack of safety and death has become their norm, it should be shocking to us still.