Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun?

Yesterday I was saddened and sickened and it left me downcast.

We have a sales rep at work who is originally from Pakistan. He speaks English very well but has a slight accent, and his appearance makes him look like he is from the Middle East.

I found out that he and his family were moving. Why? Because he was tired of being vandalized. The other day, some unknown person(s) had put deep scratches throughout the entire body of his car, and had dumped paint all over his wife's car. He didn't want to move, but he had had enough because this was just the most recent in a string of vandalisms. He realized if he got the cars repaired and stayed there, it would just happen again.

He's a nice guy. I have met his family and they are also very nice. He has a lovely wife and typical children who love to run around, but are also very well mannered.

Yet, here he is, the victim of a hate crime. It angered me to hear about it, but also made me very sad to know that such things still happen today and all too frequently. And it scared me, too. At any point in time, any group can become a victim.

I recently read Looking Like the Enemy - My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese Internment Camps, written by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald. It was the author's account of her teenage years, living with her parents and brothers in a peaceful farming town in Washington, then herded into an internment camp after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

You think those kinds of things can't happen anymore, but history repeats itself.

Take a look at this video:

Here are the lyrics:
I come and stand at every door
But no one hears my silent tread
I knock and yet remain unseen
For I am dead, for I am dead.

I'm only seven although I died
In Hiroshima long ago
I'm seven now as I was then
When children die they do not grow.
My hair was scorched by swirling flame
My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind
Death came and turned my bones to dust
And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice
I need no sweet, nor even bread
I ask for nothing for myself
For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace
You fight today, you fight today
So that the children of this world
May live and grow and laugh and play.

-Nazim Hikmet-
Today after hearing about our sales rep, I felt the same as I felt the first time I watched the above video and read the lyrics.

But there's another side to things. The world is not full of cretins. There are those who see what could be:

Laura Nyro, may she rest in peace. For every ugly thing, there's something beautiful as well.

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