Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fanaticism, hatred, murder. The neverending story.

And here I was going to write a nice little normal blog entry getting back to the real raison d'ĂȘtre for this weblog, which is the hearing loss and cochlear implant... all about the physical changes to my head since the surgery (they've been significant), where we are now with hearing, and what is next on the rehab schedule.

Instead I find myself in my office having just finished writing yet another press release condemning yet another terrorist attack. My organization sends these pointless things out every time this happens - pointless because, tonight, on the radio talk shows and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will be frothing at the mouth saying, "WHERE are the moderate Muslims? Why aren't they condemning this kind of thing?"

Well, they're/we're here in organizations large and small and we're sending out our stupid little press releases, and everyone ignores them and the idea that there are, in fact, actually no moderate Muslims seeps ever deeper into western culture with every day's radio program and evening talking heads program. So I'm just depressed and sad and a little scared right now, so a self-centered note about me will have to wait until tomorrow.

Those of you that pray, keep praying. Those of you who fight, keep fighting. I don't see an end in sight.

In the face of such unspeakable evil done in the name of God, however, it seems fit to reprint the lyrics to the Neil Young song "When God Made Me", which Brian so kindly found on the web and posted in a comment below in response to my request. It puts into rather sharp relief the tiny-mindedness of anyone of any religion thinking that God loves or approves of any of us more than any other.

Was he thinkin' about my country
Or the color of my skin?
Was he thinkin' 'bout my religion
And the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image
Or every living thing?
When God made me
When God made me

Was he planning only for believers
Or for those who just have faith?
Did he envision all the wars
That were fought in his name?
Did he say there was only one way
To be close to him?
When God made me
When God made me

Did he give me the gift of love
To say who I could choose?
When God made me
When God made me

When God made me
When God made me

Did he give me the gift of voice
So some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
Not knowing what I might see?

Did he give me the gift of compassion
To help my fellow man?

When God made me
When God made me

(copyright Neil Young)



Anonymous Carl Fink said...

You're a Muslim?

Our local Islamic group (where for me "local" is Long Island) also put out a press release condemning the attack, literally within minutes of the explosions being reported. It got good coverage, but then the New York metro area is about as cosmopolitan as you can get.

12:29 a.m.  
Blogger David said...

Stop watching Fox news and listening to the extremists Limbaugh and (sublimbaugh) Hannity. You are doing the right thing. Those who make no noice are the moderate majority, at the end we'll prevail. Keep the good work.

4:58 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Hi, Carl.

I could be dramatic and say yes, I am Muslim, and I'm Jewish and Christian and Baha'i, and Bosnian and Indian and Iranian and Egyptian and Sudanese and Congolese and Guatemalan. I am Woman, hear me roar.

But I'm not some airy-fairy nut, and I'm not going to be dramatic.

The truth is, for the past 8 years I've worked full time for a multicultural group which works to settle newcomers in Canada doing policy and research work. When you are so immersed in such diversity every day, when your best friends at work and the people you lunch with and talk to and the ones who sit in your office and cry when they had a fight with their husbands and you hang out with every single day are "all of the above", you sort of organically begin to understand that we are all each other on a much deeper level than most people, of any group, ever figure out, prone as we are to hanging out with people like us, whatever that is.

And in addition to that, when you spend your days advocating for the rights of people from diverse cultures and fighting racism and xenophobia, you begin to relate to those peoples on a very fundamental, visceral level. The battle becomes "our battle", not "their battle that I'm helping fight". If it doesn't, you're in the wrong business, frankly. So when I saw "here we are, the moderate Muslims" I was referring on a simple level to my organization, which speaks for our Muslim members (my boss and several of our Board Members are Muslim).

On the other hand, on a more abstract level, I think that if you're going to beat the drum for diversity, whatever your ethnicity or faith, you also have to be willing to stand up against those who who would use it as an excuse for their own hatred and fanaticism and destruction.

Hope that clarifies it a little bit :) Thanks for telling me about the local Mosque and the fact that it was reported. It makes me feel better, it really does.


9:59 p.m.  
Blogger ronnie said...

Thank you, David. Sometimes we (at my office) do feel a bit like voices in the wilderness. Your comment actually made me feel much better than you'll ever know.


10:15 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Saturday morning on NPR's Morning Edition they played your song! It was wonderful, just like you said -
Keep telling it like it is -

The other Ronnie

12:39 a.m.  
Anonymous Cousin Shannon said...

Hello ronnie! i finally got the chance to check in here and see you received your implant! That's wonderful!! I have been thinking about you a lot and hope it is working, that your hearing is back... I subscribed to your update email so now I can stay better informed.

I am "home" visiting for a bit - a friend's husband committed suicide so i am trying desperately to help her a little, but it isn't easy. Life is so hard. Death is even harder...

Hope to hear more good news from you soon.

7:08 p.m.  

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