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Risking friendship for principle

November 15, 2008

We’re used to getting stupid stuff forwarded into our email inboxes, but stupid and racist is a special category.  Yet we’ve all experienced the disappointment of receiving that kind of stuff from our friends.  Like this perennial forward about the EID holiday stamp:

If there is only one thing you forward today…..let it be this!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of Pan Am Flight 103!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993!
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon !…
(and it goes on like that, with ever-increasing font sizes leading to an admonition to forward it to everyone you know.)

Usually when this happens we shake our heads, and momentarily mourn the slight reduction of the esteem in which we hold the friend who clicked “forward” and sent it to us.  But once in a while it’s too much and we hit ‘reply’, as my wife did yesterday.  She had received the EID screed from an old friend, and she replied…

Please note the reason for the Muslim holiday; sacrifice of Ibrahim’s son to Allah (Jehovah God) is also noted in Hebrew and Christian rituals.

Muslims referred to by General Colin Powell in speech as quoted in our Chicago Sun Times.

photo of a mother whose son died in Iraq

The EID postage stamp is displayed right next to one with a picture of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.  Don’t you think that might cause a Hindu or Muslim to be a bit upset?  The post office just wants to make sure mail gets delivered.

I have too many kind and considerate Muslim friends who live in my town, went to school with my sons, and so I am unwilling to forward on this racist piece of garbage.

Consider for a moment what goes through your mind when you hear the word; “racism”.  Do you think of bad people?  Lynch mobs in Klan outfits?  Or is racism something woven so deeply into the whole idea of human culture, that good people are not aware of it?  Racism hides in the notion that “I am a good person, and only bad people are racist, so I am not racist.”  This is how good people find themselves, before they know it, grabbing torches and sweeping down the street with the angry mob.  Or clicking ‘forward’ without thinking about how the screed dehumanizes everyone it touches.

Long ago I learned that if you really want to make someone angry, humanize their enemies. We don’t yet know if Diane has lost a friend, but I’m damn proud of her!

  • USPS press release on EID stamp

  • City Of Brass on The EID stamp
  • Hungry For Ramadan on The Story Of the EID stamp
    “It is a testament to the character of America that such a stamp could be sold alongside others commemorating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Thanksgiving, despite the political turmoil of the past six years. No such stamp has been issued in the UK, Europe, Canada, or other countries where Muslims are a minority. To top it all off, the House of Representatives has just unanimously passed a resolution (376-0) commemorating this year’s Ramadan.  It is this acceptance and acknowledgement of faith that has, in part, allowed for a healthier integration of Muslims in America and has contributed to a strong spiritual identity that could, inshallah, inspire Muslims elsewhere around the world.”

  • Be sure to visit the photo link in her reply, and scroll down for more photos of American soldier Spc. Kareem R. Khan.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 16, 2008 at 07:53 | #1

    “Lost a friend.” Who cares to call that kind of person friend?

    Yeah, I know, everyone is flawed and everyone’s list of perfect friends is a null set, and you can hope by moral suasion to change your friends’ views but not strangers’.

    I used to get forwarded stuff, but not any more. I just wrote to the people who sent it and asked them never to send me another email in my lifetime.

    I’m rambling.

  2. November 16, 2008 at 09:38 | #2

    One of my nephews just posted a video on Facebook that is really offensive.  The tune is the Internationale, with lyrics about Obama being a socialist, taking away all the guns, etc., etc.  It makes me (and my wife) sick.  My nephew doesn’t even understand the definition of socialism, yet he chooses to disseminate divisive hate speech.

    I am struggling with how to “deal” with him at Christmas.  He is young and ignorant, but the whole business of being an a-hole really bothers me.  When it’s family, it’s more difficult.

    Maybe I should write to Dear Abby.

  3. November 16, 2008 at 09:54 | #3

    Our culture does not encourage confronting racism.  It is a mystery to me why “Sweet Home Alabama” is still on the radio, since it celebrates the segregationist efforts of gov. Wallace.

    But then, Rush Limbaugh is still on the radio too.

  4. November 16, 2008 at 09:59 | #4

    “Lost a friend.” Who cares to call that kind of person friend?

    Friendships just sort of happen, in the ebb and flow of life.  We are the kind of persons who grew up in a cultural context, and have to learn to question it.  It isn’t easy.

    Our culture does not encourage confronting racism, either.  It is a mystery to me why “Sweet Home Alabama” is still on the radio, since it celebrates the segregationist efforts of gov. Wallace.

    But then, Rush Limbaugh is still on the radio too.

  5. November 16, 2008 at 12:13 | #5

    I guess in some ways it’s good to have people forward emails like the EID one. Then we can get at least know who to talk to about these issues.

    Weedram, that’s a tough situation. I think I would be very careful how you approach him because it’s important not to sever ties with him completely. I wish you the best.

    But then, Rush Limbaugh is still on the radio too.

    More depressing still, people call into his show and treat him like he’s some savior.

  6. November 16, 2008 at 15:22 | #6

    It would be wonderful if we could enlighten friends and family. Sometimes, we are able to and other times not.  While we can easily say who the hell wants friends like this, it’s not quite so black and white. I applaud your wife’s handling of this issue. We should all stand up for what is right. After all, it is only because others who came before us did so that we are able to do so now.

  7. November 16, 2008 at 19:44 | #7

    Thanks, Webs … my quandry is because indeed I don’t want to alienate/lose him.  But even bigger is my desire practice and show compassion.  I keep wondering “What would the Dalai Lama do?”

    And that’s not being facetious.

  8. November 17, 2008 at 02:22 | #8

    I used to be much more tolerant of such things as racism in my friends. Nowadays, I simply won’t make friends with a racist.  I don’t need the grief.

  9. November 18, 2008 at 03:28 | #9

    So many people confuse terrorists with Muslims. Ignorance rules, doesn’t it?  Diane sounds like my kind of woman, and yes, you have a lot to be proud of!

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