“We Are All Human”

I’ve been thinking about New Zealand along with the rest of us since Friday morning.

Yesterday evening I was sitting in a coffee shop that is a frequent meeting place for a group of Somali men. I go there often enough to recognize their faces and exchange pleasantries. Last night was different. They along with a community of their family, friends, colleagues had to endure the tragedy of a mass shooting in New Zealand where 50 (current count) people of Muslim faith where gunned down in senseless violence by a white terrorist. The killer carried with him a manifesto that attributed the influence of our current POTUS and his remarks toward the Muslim faith. The dead are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, grandparents, elders, friends … the list goes on and ought to sound familiar to everyone. They are people, like you and me.

I am a high school English teacher. Earlier in the day, my students watched a Ted Talk by Suzanne Barakat titled Islamophobia which spoke to the loss of her brother, his wife and their friend in a senseless shooting in North Carolina in 2015. Same situation, different white terrorist, a hate crime against the Muslim faith. Looking at her Facebook page today, I discovered her brother and his wife and friend were killed four years ago on February 10th, 2015. Just over a month ago, and her comment on her page last night after the news of the New Zealand tragedy was very brief, “I can’t. I just can’t.” I have to wonder how frightened or angry or defeated she feels today.

As I left the coffee shop last night, I looked at the men in conversation together and felt compelled to approach them. I told them they were all in my heart, and they thanked me and nodded their heads in understanding. One man looked at me and said, ‘We are all human,” and I shook his hand and he said it again.

We are all just human beings. Is there any other explanation to give people of the Muslim faith, or people of color, or people that are different than ourselves a reason to be respected? One of the messages from Suzanne Barakat is to speak to your neighbors. Even if it feels like a small gesture , she said it will have miles of impact. It is a start, and today, the healing needs to begin.

We are all simply human beings.

Please practice love today.

 


 

Islamophobia – Suzanne Barakat

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When Walking in the Wood

I noticed tonight,

a deeper darkness

filling the mysterious quiet

of the wood, a forest of our mind.

 

We choose now today to be afraid,

we could walk freely

when in the stone castles

a moat our greatest fear.

 

Oh certain there were evil

lurking inside the shallows,

yet vulnerable as we might

have been, then it was so rare.

 

Today, and every day now,

it is not simply the forest life

watching our every move,

yet it is a jungle of lost humanity.

 

Such is a definitive cry of woe

to know our lives in a technical

brainwash of social embrace,

we forget a silent walk when alone.

 

Oh to know that forest of old

a place whereby our lives so bold.

Watching The Snowy Night Sky

I’ve been waiting all day for the snow,

now I glance my window,

it arrives with a light affection

reminds me of my childhood

perhaps a memory that haunts me more than love

the delight of family,

the anticipation of a gathering,

the death of a cousin,

where in my silent fog of misunderstanding,

I watched the burial of a loved one,

while treetops echoed the reminder of snowy limbs,

the sort of day we might play,

but instead we watched a passing of life,

confusion, anger, loss, and tears were rife

on this day I watched my cousin laid into the wintry earth.

 

So tonight, I watch the sky again,

a quiet reminder of how our lives

are sweet in their ties to memory,

of love, of pain, of the loss all so bittersweet.

 

The snows are beautiful though ever so brief

Silent Moment

When just a glance

offers no chance.

 

When a quiet remember

ignites angry ember

 

While offering some solution

quickly dies our absolution

 

With every offered ideal

there seems a ready deal

 

I walked inside a mirage the other day,

I thought i had sort of found my way

yet I was schooled

nobody fooled

there was still some recompense

to help me certain not make any sense

of the world around me

the choices astound when we

 

lose our way

step away

 

for the light of some distant thoroughfare

would shadow reality if their own fare

were an ultimatum that offered choice

an opportunity to personally rejoice

while the other, the saboteur seems an outlier

quickly thought to be just that suggested crier.

 

While in truth the merits of one

would that we were never done.

Anger Fed

Spread like a wildfire

in its first inception

simply ablaze

a certain force of reckoning.

~

Will cannot sustain

the deceit of lost control

only we the patient

our human condition.

~

Might we identify cause

rather than toss a stone

catch the ember

so nearby an out stretched hand.

~

For it is the onus of ownership

will allow ash an honest scrutiny.

Look Closely If You Can

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At a quick glance we might call sweet shelter

the homes hold hope and prayer and a safety

for everyone inside, security

the temps suggest a different manner.

 

Across the city another enclave

of soul seeker human condition airs

indifference as a blizzard ensnares

their grip on surviving a city cave.

 

Two worlds drawn as one to both be witness

a record breaking month of snow fallen

on a city left homeless and sullen

while neighborhoods are defined by address.

 

Look closely at the eyes quiet release

of pain of sorrow of some hope for peace.

Winter In Minnesota

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Something refreshing a pristine winter.

fresh sunlitĀ  snow touch silent runner’s eye

layered across a landscape painted sky,

we might let troubles risen disappear

 

if in this moment, trees become statues

dignified pose, a carnival in ice.

shaded sphere of heat will nearby suffice

light up a runner’s path – dawn guided views

 

We seek knowledge of a heartiness here

Gitchi-Gami, shadows quiet weakness

Inside the brilliance of a lovely dress

soft upon the runners, sweeping past fear.

 

Trails are designed, hold favor to imprint

lasting lover’s scene, a stepping stone stint.