This recent shooting tragedy in Connecticut, where almost 30 persons, Human beings, mostly children, were savagely cut-down by gunfire, reminds me of the malice that occurs the world over. There are places in this world, where people would probably say, “Almost 30 killed, and that’s it?!!! We get that in about 1/2 hour, everyday.”. It’s very morbid for me to even put that out there, I know. But, for a lot of people, in places like Somalia, Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, these atrocities occur on a daily-basis, and much like what happened recently in Connecticut, most of the victims, at least 70-90% are in fact children.
My question, without getting into the possible-motive of this horrible act, is the following: When we hear, by word-of-mouth, or read news papers/magazines, or watch T.V. news, and we see these atrocities in front of our very own eyes, do we really make a distinction between those children & these children, as to say that a certain demographic of children are more precious than the other/others? This is obviously a question that we would all have to honestly answer for ourselves.
You, whom may be reading this may get defensive & say, “Of course not…children are children!!!”. However, if your heart bleeds less for children in Palestine, because these people are mostly Non-Jewish, or less for children in Somalia, because they’re largely Non-Arab, or less for children outside of your native countries, because they’re not citizens or your native land, than this is a hell of a pathological problem. We don’t want to admit this, but, we do pick favorites, especially when it comes to tragedies, and especially if/when it involves religious, ethnic, or national factors.
Each & every one of us have ties to all of the above mentioned. For example: there have been many Syrian & Palestinian relief-efforts, to help them in their hours of need, and rightfully so. But, when is the last time that we’ve raised money for people living in fear, poverty & oppression, countries like: Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Togo, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Angola, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc.? Why are we not quick to jump on the charity band-wagon for nations such as these?
Some of the answers are very simple:
1. General lack of global-concern for our fellow man-
It’s very easy to just go with the flow & support an effort, which is fueled by so much back-end/backroom politics & is shoved down the throats of the world, as a result of specific propagated agendas. But, what if we were to just step-back and be charitable to/for a nation that hasn’t really ever been focused on in the public-sphere, but, whose people are still in desperate need of urgent assistance? How about we try that. We won’t because we generally don’t see the relevance of it, because they’re not in the spot-light, or because they don’t share our respective religious, ethnic or national commonalities.
2. We are only reactive activists-
Many of us raise funds & go to rallies for justice & all of this good-stuff, when it is deemed popular to do so. But, what about when no else is talking about things that need to be addressed? It’s very clear, to me, that many of us are only followers, who just allow the whim of the day to dominate our activeness like a helpless leaf in the river: it’s just goes with the follow, where it decides to lead it…that’s exactly how we all are.
3. We are generally very internally biased-
It’s very easy to stick-up for someone whom is of the same religion, ethnicity, culture, nationality as you. But, let’s examine how often we actually jump out the window, to help those whom are outside of ourselves, our circles/cliques, or our (religious, ethnic, cultural, national, etc.) communities. We will find that it’s so much more challenging and that it’s a lot easier to give lip-service than to commit to action. I mean, of course, it’s natural to want to help your own; but, at the same time, why do we not view our entire Human family as our own? Why do we make distinctions, based upon religion, ethnicity, culture, nationality, when the things which people anywhere/everywhere have entitlement to, as to who deserves what and at which time? Whenever, if ever someone is in need of something which is crucial to the preservation of their lives, then it is upon all of Humanity, to make sure that all of Humanity has all that is necessary for their general well being.
Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said it best, “None of you believe, unless he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”.(an-Nawawi) Unfortunately, most Muslims, think that this only applies to other Muslims, but think about it: We are, in fact, all Human brothers & sisters, by virtue of the fact the we all have the same common-ancestor…and, no…I’m not referring to the Great-Apes…I’m talking about the first Human beings, Adam & Eve (Peace be upon them both). We are all from them, and they are the parents of Humanity.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’/Stories of the Prophets, ibn-Kathir) And, also, we know from the general character & actions of Muhammad, that he treated all people with a sense of respect, mercy, compassion, love, dignity, and as Muslims, we are obligated to follow in his footsteps, but, alas, we often don’t.
Let us learn from tragedies like this and learn to appreciate the fact that all of the creation of Allah has purpose, rights, relevance, significance, and beauty, and that whenever a tragedy that takes the life of any of Allah’s creation, that it’s not something to make a joke out of, or to think that it is deserved, especially in the case of murder. It doesn’t matter whether those murdered were Muslims or not; it doesn’t matter whether these people were Black or not, it doesn’t matter, whether these people were from wealthy families or not; it doesn’t matter whether it was only 20 something persons killed, or thousands upon thousands, killed in a war-torn nation; it doesn’t matter whether this tragedy happened in a suburb in Connecticut or in a bombed-out city in the Muslim-World; it doesn’t even matter whether the children killed in this tragedy were born to Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindhus, Jains, Shamanists/Tengrists, Animists, Atheists/Anti-Theists…what happened was a tragedy…what happened was a massacre…what happened was murder, and murder is a sin & crime before Allah, and Allah will hold those who sin against Him & His creation, on the Day of Standing.