This morning I had a silly little post all cooked up in my head and was going to write it as soon as I had my tea and checked the news. Instead, there is something not-so-silly that I need to write about, just to get it off my chest.
In the Minneapolis Star Tribune today there is an article called "9/11 wrought violence of another kind." It is about a woman named Valarie Kaur, who at 20 years old took a leave from her studies at Stanford to travel across the country and "gather stories inspired by hate crimes and violence against Sikh Americans following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks" (Collins). Her journey included visiting the site of the murder of a Sikh immigrant named Balbir Singh Sodhi. His murderer acted out of revenge for the September 11Th attacks on the United States. The film has already won many awards and recognition world wide and is being screened tonight at Macalester College in St. Paul. A dean from the college said, "[Kaur's] message is to overcome hate while providing hope." (Collins) From what I have just read about the film, I agree with with the dean.
Then, I scrolled down the page and read the comments left by other readers of the article. All eight of the comments left as of 8:30 this morning were bashing the film, Kaur, and Muslims in general. They spoke of Muslims forcing their beliefs on others and practicing a religion of murder. Others said they believed the Muslim victims of the crimes had gotten what they deserved and even, perhaps, deserved more violence. Continuing on, they lashed out at the filmmaker saying that her opinions were that of an elitist on a privileged mission.
The vengeance and hate in these comments made me dizzy. What is the proper response to a group of people who are that angry? I don't know. I do know that it scares me that there is that much animosity bubbling beneath the surface of our every day lives. How will our country ever heal from the tragedy of September 11Th if we continue fighting against each other? Again, I don't know. If eight years later there is still this much conflict, then time does not seem to be a strong enough salve. I don't know the answer. I don't know how we resolve these issues and I didn't start writing about this to figure it out. I just wrote because I had to, to start sorting out my thoughts and to try to calm myself down after reading about all that anger. It makes me want to give someone a hug, bring flowers to a cemetary, say a prayer; something to counteract all that hate with a little gentleness. So, maybe that is where I will start, somewhere small, because I don't have the big answers. I wish I did.
Collins, Terry. "9/11 wrought violence of another kind."
Minneapolis Star Tribune. 15 Sept 2008. Available http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/28434334.html?page=1&c=y.