Feb 27 (Day 25):
There was a murder in Kansas the other day. Two Indian men were sitting together after work — just talking to each other, doing nothing to draw attention to themselves, not causing any trouble. In fact, both of these men were known to be very nice, friendly guys. They both had valid work visas. They both had wives. One of them had a baby on the way. These men were just hanging out together at one of their favorite places after a day of work…like all of us have done hundreds of times. But these guys had the audacity to be “brown” in public…One of them was murdered for it, and the other is still in the hospital.
Right before the murderer started shooting these two innocent men he yelled “Get out of my country.” I’ll say that one more time…Right before this man fired bullet after bullet into the body of this father to be…into the bodies of these husbands, he yelled, “Get out of my country.”
Now, being from the United States, and having lived in India for the past seven months, I feel uniquely qualified to speak about the Indian people from the point of view of an American. In my entire life, I have never met a culture so accepting, so welcoming as people from India. They are deferential, compassionate and reverent. They are accepting of all religions, all races. They welcome people from all other cultures and countries. They value contribution and inclusion. In fact, the overriding tenet of their belief system is “Do no harm.”
For someone to murder anyone because of the color of their skin is unforgiveable, unthinkable. For some reason, however, the fact that the targets were people from India hits me especially hard — because I have lived here long enough to see what this culture is all about: love and acceptance. Since this attack, I have been ashamed to be the lone “American” walking into every room that’s filled with dozens of these loving people. I have felt responsible somehow…guilty by association to a degree I can’t even describe.
I am ashamed that our country has allowed itself to feed on this kind of hateful, racist venom. I will not let this murder stand unrecognized for what it is. Simply put, it is a symptom of the disease that is killing my country…hate. If each of us doesn’t get busy, and I mean really busy, protecting everyone in our country that is being insulted, demeaned, marginalized or attacked, at some point we’ll have to admit that we are as guilty as the ones doing the shooting.
I believe with all my heart that we are predominantly a country of idealists, of hopeful citizens who still believe in compassion and want to do the right thing. I know the problem seems insurmountable, but whenever I get discouraged I remember the parable about the man showing his son the importance of family. He stood by a pile of sticks, picked them up one by one and snapped them in half easily, with almost no effort. Each time saying, “Do you see how easy it is for me to break each one of these twigs when they’re standing alone?” Then he picked up a large handful of the sticks and tried to break them…but he couldn’t. He turned to his son and said, “THAT is why you always stand together in the face of trouble. On our own we may be weak, we may be vulnerable. But together, we are strong. Together, we are undefeatable.”
Tomorrow, I’ll talk more about my treatments and doctors again, but not today…Not today.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“A fight is going on inside me,” said the old Cherokee to his grandson. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “THE ONE YOU FEED.” — Old Cherokee parable
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” — Ryunosuke Satoro