Category Archives: Suicide-Prevention

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Mike Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

MC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

MC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

MC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

MC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

MC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

MC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

MC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

MC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

MC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

MC: As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

MC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

MC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

MC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

GB: Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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Muslims Giving Back @the annual Out of the Darkness Overnight Suicide Walk…Part II:

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Allah says, in the Qur’an, “As a result of this, We have ordained upon the Children of Israel the following: ‘Whomever kills someone, whom has neither killed anyone, nor has cause Corruption, within the Earth, it’s just as though they’ve killed all of Humanity. Yet, whomever saves them, it’s just as though they’ve saved all of Humanity.’.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32)

Every year, within the United States, alone, 1Million people attempt Suicide…out of that Million 40,000 people actually end up dying from their Suicide attempts…

…this needs to stop, and with the help of Muslims Giving Back, it will, by the permission of Allah. But, we @Muslims Giving Back need the help & support of each and every one of you, to aid us in projects like this, to help the other, which is the individual & collect responsibility of each & every single Muslim.

Muslims Giving Back @the annual Out of the Darkness Overnight Suicide Walk…Part I:

Video

Allah says, in the Qur’an, “As a result of this, We have ordained upon the Children of Israel the following: ‘Whomever kills someone, whom has neither killed anyone, nor has cause Corruption, within the Earth, it’s just as though they’ve killed all of Humanity. Yet, whomever saves them, it’s just as though they’ve saved all of Humanity.’.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32)

Every year, within the United States, alone, 1Million people attempt Suicide…out of that Million 40,000 people actually end up dying from their Suicide attempts…

…this needs to stop, and with the help of Muslims Giving Back, it will, by the permission of Allah. But, we @Muslims Giving Back need the help & support of each and every one of you, to aid us in projects like this, to help the other, which is the individual & collect responsibility of each & every single Muslim.

Muslims Giving Back’s annual project to spread Suicide Awareness & Prevention: #Walk4Life

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Muslims Giving Back

Salam/Hello!!!

Allah says, in the Qur’an, “As a result of this, We have ordained upon the Children of Israel the following: ‘Whomever kills someone, whom has neither killed anyone, nor has cause Corruption, within the Earth, it’s just as though they’ve killed all of Humanity. Yet, whomever saves them, it’s just as though they’ve saved all of Humanity.’.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32)

The following are just some, of the many, startling facts about Suicide:

1. Suicide is attempted, every year, 1Million people within the United States, alone.

2. Nearly 40,000 Suicide attempts within the United States, alone, are actualized.

3. Women are 3-times more likely to attempt Suicide than Men.

As a Muslim, I take great interest in seeing Suicide come to an end. And, even if I never live to see it end, I owe it to Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, to at least do my part, to help prevent at least one less person attempt Suicide. Every year, since 2011, I have made it my business to participate, as a walker, in the annual “Out Of The Darkness Overnight”, a Suicide Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which helps to spread awareness, as well as raise monies, to help others from entering the road of no return, which is Suicide.

Muslims Giving Back, would like to inform you that our organization will be embarking upon our annual Suicide Awareness & Prevention project, known as #Walk4Life. 

This project aims to do the following:

1. Give a real face to the reality of Suicide.

2. To help raise Suicide-Awareness.

3. To establish an Islamic/Muslim presence, to allow Non-Muslims to know that the Muslim-Community cares about the issue of Suicide, and regards it religiously, as a momentous & tragic act.

4. To inform Muslims of the reality of Suicide within the actual Muslim-Community.

Now, on to what’s needed, for the success of this project:

1. Sponsorship/Money: We, at Muslims Giving Back, want to raise no less than $5,000, which is intended to cover registration, donations to the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention), promotional paraphernalia (such as Wrist-Bands: MGB: #Walk4Life, T-Shirts: Muslims Giving Back: #Walk4Life, etc.)

2. Manpower: We need People to make announcements about this project, at Masajid, Schools, businesses, community-centers, etc.

3. Participants: We need People who are willing to actually come join us for this walk, scheduled for June 28th & 29th, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pa

Muslims Giving Back is going to be participating in the Out of the Darkness Overnight Suicide Walk, promoting Suicide Awareness & Prevention, in Philadelphia, Pa, on the 28th & 29th of June, 2014. It would be great if you all could join us in this walk. But, if you’re not able to, at least donate online to our profile donation page, or tell others in the Philadelphia area about this event. Suicide is very serious, especially among our youth. Please support us in our efforts to raise awareness about suicide.

The Out of the Darkness Overnight Suicide Walk is 16-18 mile trek, from sunset to sunrise. All proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, funding research, advocacy, survivor support, education, and awareness programs – both to prevent suicide and to assist those affected by suicide.

To register and/or donate for this walk, go to:

http://www.theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=10754

Thanks in advance,

Gareth Bryant
National-Spokesperson, Muslims Giving Back

 

In Memorandum of Suicide-Victims: To those whom are gone

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Author’s note:

Allah states, within His Noble-Book, “And, do not kill someone, whom Allah has sanctified, except with justification.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.151)

When it is mentioned, within this verse, “whom Allah has sanctified”, it also applies to one’s self…Each and every one of us has a life, given to us, by Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe, which is sanctified, sacred, full of relevance & purpose. Unfortunately, sadly, we allow ourselves to be negatively-influenced, to such a staggering degree, that we deem it necessary to terminate ourselves, to remove ourselves, via Suicide, from this Mundane-Life. My teacher/mentor, Jeffrey Kearse (AKA Imam Siraj Wahhaj), made a very poignant point, about the reality of Suicide: I heard him once say that, “Suicide is a ‘permanent-solution’, to a ‘temporary-problem’.”. I, myself, no longer want people to choose Suicide as “permanent-solutions” to their “temporary-problems”; rather, on the contrary, I, myself, as well as others who are of liked-mines, deem to establish putting a definitive end to Suicide, any way that we Humanly can. This also includes being sensitive to the sensitivities of others, to not make people feel low, to not berate them, that they no longer feel Human, or loved, or self-worthy of anything, or view Life as something that’s worth living any longer.

The following poem is a summation of all that has been mentioned previously:

We wish You were still with Us!!!

We love and miss you.

We wish that we knew.

We were too oblivious to the fact that you were in pain & needed our help.

Us losing you is like suffering from a beating, scared by a permanent welt.

Why didn’t we ask, “How are you doing?”, we should’ve looked for the signs.

We should’ve known that your laughs & smiles were hiding your many sighs.

You should’ve been told, by us, “I love you”, so much more often.

Now, we can’t say anything, but “good bye”, to you, from a coffin.

Alas, it’s just monumental regret, that you’re gone, today.

We could’ve & should’ve helped you to find another way.

You meant so much to so many.

Our hearts are sad and heavy.

I wish that I had never teased you.

I regret anytime I made you blue.

Should’ve never laughed, when no one wanted to go with you, to the Prom.

Mocking the fact that you never sat with the cool-kids at school was wrong.

You were full of life and love & it is so sad you’re not here.

I wish that you were still among us, that you were still near.

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Results of a Broken-Home: When Someone feels they’re all-alone

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Neghena Hamidi pic

Author’s note:

Neghena Hamidi, a young, new, literary-artist, has graced my blogpage, with a very endearing poem, about the ill-effects of a pathological homelife-experience. The piece itself is very captivating, describing, in detail, how someone may, and sadly, often, ends up, as a result of negativity in their lives, from home.

I walked past both of you upon being beckoned
My parents said to me “Don’t think this life is worthy for a split second”
Careless I was,
Walking to my room
Disrespecting my parents?
I just walked into my own doom
I did not know would happen that night
A dream that would leave be shattered
Unprepared to really fight
Lying in my bed
Forgetting about the prayers my dad just led
I closed my eyes and drifted away
Constrained
In a habitat
Where was I
What just begun
I heard cries all over just being sung
It was dark
I couldn’t see
Is what I’m imagining make believe?
I moved my left hand
What is this box i am in?
is it the box that He chose?
Knock and I banged. No one heard me
I can’t really see
Someone please answer
Hear my plea
Because I feel as though my heart is beginning to bleed
The ceiling began to slide
I caught a glimpse of my mama,
Crying on my side
White dress on my body
On this box i lied
I saw four people hovering on my home tugging on my scarf
“Wake up. You did not die, Her life was about to start”
Who was that?
Wait I’m dead?
That was my mother..
The one I never listened to when we uttered words to one another
“My baby sister, shes gone”
I think that was my brother
Never really bothered knowing you because I always snuck out undercover
“Guys…I’m not dead. Hear me. I’m dying inside”
Ha! Cracked a paradox
While I’m unwillingly trapped in this box
Don’t bury me six feet down the ground where the worms will have my fun with their feast
On the eyes that never bothered to see life’s true peak
The ears that never listened to her own just merely speak
The mouth that was blabbering when her enemies were so weak
That forehead that never gracefully leveled down to the atmosphere of my feet
The hands that was useless when I heard someone beg
And the feet that never ran to mosque when I heard Quran being read
Not now. I need to change
I know its a bit too late
Like a thread this life was cut short
I feel so estranged
Wait…
Water on my face?
Those were the tears of my father
Thought you would be tough
Please don’t leave your daughter
Someone pull me up
This must be a dream
Caused by bad habits?
And a hint of really bad fatigue?
I assure you I was sober
Just pull me up
My life just has been shattered by a bulldozer
My face was just covered
There goes my family
And the new roof of my sanctuary
My box is lifted despite my plea
Down I go with regrets and lack of the deen.

Neghena Hamidi/2013

2012 in review:

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Link

Salam/Hello!!!

I’m going to be participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Anti-Suicide Walk again, in the San Fransisco Bay Area, on the 9th. & 10th. of June, 2012. It would be great if you all could join me in this walk. But, if you’re not able to, at least donate online to my profile donation page, or tell others about this event. Suicide is a very serious issue that is a growing problem in the U.S., especially among our youth. Please, support me, in my efforts, to promote Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention. I’m trying to use my participation in this walk as a platform, to promote activism within my respective Muslim-Community, because unfortunately, Muslims are not given a lot of press, when we do partake in noble causes such as this one. Rather, we’re almost always portrayed negatively in the media. So, basically, it’s my intention to be a representative of the Muslim-Community at this walk, but I need help to raise as much money as I possibly can between now & June.

Thanks in advance,

Gareth Bryant

Donate to the AFSP: Out of the Darkness Anti-Suicide Walk 2012:

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Salam/Hello!!!

I’m going to be participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Anti-Suicide Walk again, in the San Fransisco Bay Area, on the 9th. & 10th. of June, 2012. It would be great if you all could join me in this walk. But, if you’re not able to, at least donate online to my profile donation page, or tell others about this event. Suicide is a very serious issue that is a growing problem in the U.S., especially among our youth. Please, support me, in my efforts, to promote Suicide-Awareness & Suicide-Prevention. I’m trying to use my participation in this walk as a platform, to promote activism within my respective Muslim-Community, because unfortunately, Muslims are not given a lot of press, when we do partake in noble causes such as this one. Rather, we’re almost always portrayed negatively in the media. So, basically, it’s my intention to be a representative of the Muslim-Community at this walk, but I need help to raise as much money as I possibly can between now & June.

Thanks in advance,

Gareth Bryant

The Muslims need to serve the people:

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On the night of June 4th & the early morning of June 5th, 2011, I participated in the annual “AFSP: Out of the Darkness Overnight” Anti-Suicide walk, in New York City. I didn’t even realize how important this walk that I had committed myself to was, until I actually got to the starting point of the walk, in Brooklyn. The walk hadn’t even started yet, and I was just jolted with anxiety & excitement, not knowing how this whole event would play out. There were all types of people there, at this walk, from all over the country & around the world. They were there to lend their support to put an end to Suicide, at all costs. However, there was one group of people who were not in attendance at this walk……it was us, the Muslims; we were nowhere to be found!!! It’s so ironic how something as prevalent & important an issue as Suicide, or this kind of walk, could possibly be the furthest thing from our agendas-It’s not something that we even think about, or are concerned about.

We are so pathetically distant from real issues in our society, like Suicide-I can say for myself, as an individual Muslim, that this walk is incredibly significant to my ability to be of better service to Allah, as His servant, as well as being of better service to my Human race. As Allah says, “From that which we’ve imposed upon the Children of Israel is the following: Whomever kills a person, whom has killed no one, nor has caused corruption within the Earth, it’s just as though they’ve killed killed all of Humanity. Yet, whomever saves them, it’s just as though they’ve saved all of Humanity.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.32). It’s a proven fact that Suicide-Awareness indeed saves lives!!! There were so many people here, all for the same objective: to save people from making the mistake of taking their own lives. Even if only one person was saved because of this walk, it would be worth it.

This walk was absolutely amazing, to say the least!!! Every step on this this 18-mile journey was an excuse for me to reflect on this precious gift that Allah has given us called life. This walk was in fact a celebration of life itself; my fellow participants, from every part of this nation, all had individual & personal purposes for committing themselves to this walk, along with a valid narrative to boot. I had the awesome privilege of meeting & conversing with some of the most humane, amusing, and positive people you could ever find on the planet-Take actress/activist, Mariel Hemingway, for example, who lost 7 of her own family members to Suicide. In spite of her tremendous loss, she displayed such fortitude, that I very much admired her for. And, she shared her personal story of familial tragedy, with such an immense level of grace, honor & dignity; she’s also a strong advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide-Prevention as well, which is the organization that annually sponsors the “Out of the Darkness Overnight”.

During this walk however, I still felt isolated, alone, and disappointed. Everyone had a walking team, or at least family or friends to walk with, but I didn’t have anyone initially with me walking, nor a walking team; I was just by myself. I tried very hard to conceal my immense anger and disappointment at the Muslim-Community, our leadership & organizations particularly. I reached out to at least 5 major Muslim institutions of Islamic-Learning, Muslim advocacy groups, and leadership councils…..none of them showed the significant want, or care, to partake in this cause, or endorse me, or even help me to spread awareness about this walk. When I sent out e-mails to these institutions, groups, councils, and organizations, they didn’t even have enough courtesy to reply to me and say they were not interested-I received zero responses, from at least 98% of those whom I contacted. But, in spite of all of that, I made it my business to commit to this walk, and to do it by myself, because you know what they say: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”.

Honestly, there were in fact instances where I wanted to just quit this walk, because of lack of support for it, from my own community. However, after every mile, and after every check point/rest stop, and all in between, there were people, congratulating us for the miles that we had already walked and encouraging us to walk even more. These people, the AFSP staff, volunteers, family members of those who were running, family members of those who committed Suicide, all of them gave us so much encouragement to go on and finish this walk. It was so wonderful having them there to instill encouragement to complete our walk.

But, there’s one thing I can say, walking by one’s self does have its advantages-Whenever people would ask me as to who, what, or why I was walking, I had the splendid opportunity to express myself individually, as an individual Muslim. Everyone whom I had told that I was walking on behalf of the Muslim-Community were absolutely ecstatic, and I could see the surprise, and delight on their faces; they were shocked that a Muslim would even be there, and at the exact same time, they were so happy that a Muslim was there. For those whom I came in contact with, and told that I was representing the Muslim-Community, it was a good feeling for them to know that somewhere out there, at least one Muslim actually cares about this cause, and this may have been the very first time that many of them have even met a Muslim. But, it shouldn’t have been just be me who cares, it shouldn’t have been just me out there, all of us should care, and all of us should’ve been there!!!

Alas, it was just me out there, one Muslim, by himself, and even just as an individual, I made a positive impact on people that I came in contact with. Just imagine, if the Muslim-Community had a significant presence there? It would have been such a powerful Da`wah power-play, for people to know that we empathize with them, and want to be part of the solution to this major problem plaguing America. We all owe it to Allah, then to our fellow man, to be a part of this particular walk and movement, to put an end to Suicide. The grand involvement of the Muslim-Community in this walk would most definitely place a positive imprint on the minds & hearts of the people who would witness us there. It would be a tool that we could’ve used to help us clarify the negative stigmas about Muslims being inherently religiously violent, that serves as every-day slander in popular media upon our religion, as well as the general character of the Muslims.

When we’re seen participating more often at these types of events, promoting the general preservation of life, then it would turn the tides of how we’re viewed in America and across the world. Participation in a walk like this would place us in a different light, as caring individuals, who respect, honor and celebrate life. We must all make a more valiant effort to involve ourselves in the society that we live in, to paint a better image of Islam & Muslims, through our actions, as well as contributing to the general betterment of our society, by being of better service to the people.

Gareth Bryant/2011