Monday, December 07, 2015

Looking Beyond Despair

"It's unfortunate that we're on this list now, a list like Newtown, Aurora and others where such tragic events occurred."
"It's not how I want San Bernardino remembered."
U.S. State Representative Pete Aguilar

"It is really sad that we meet because of this. It is sad that only in death are we able to celebrate humanity."
Ajarat Bada, Islamic Community Center and mosque, Redlands, California

"I think I can't say definitively right now what led either of these two to pick up guns and become murderers. I consider that is the focus of our investigation."
"We're looking at everything we can find out about these two killers' lives -- how they grew up, where they grew up, how they met. All of those things will provide us guidance."
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch
San Bernardino memorial
Cameron Owen, 21, writes a message of hope and sympathy for San Bernardino shooting victims at an ever-growing memorial near the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino

Hoping to try to understand what it might be that would guide people who seem ordinary enough other than a trifle too focused on religion, to become killing machines, authorities in the United States are puzzling over why two young Muslims, man and wife, would decide to slaughter the man's workplace colleagues. People he has known for at least three years, worked closely with, exchanged views and experiences with, however marginally.

It would be as though personal ties of familiarity lend themselves to the process of complete alienation; by slaughtering familiar faces and voices suddenly risen in a panic of resistance to death, the killers have formally cut themselves away from their own humanity. They obviously had no intention of dying themselves; martyrdom was not in their plans. They killed fourteen people, injured 21, then left the scene of the slaughter.

Because they were masked, it is likely enough they felt they would not be recognized, but as it happened Syed Farook was recognized by at least one of the people he attempted to murder, which set police after him and his wife Tashfeen Malik whose face no one, not even family, it appears, had ever seen. Pathologically reclusive, and harbouring a sinister hatred for non-Muslims that only a plan to slaughter as many as possible would appease.

As is the American way, mourners trekked to a number of memorial sites close by the centre where the atrocity occurred, with American flags, posters, balloons, candles and cards giving evidence of a community in shock, dismay and mourning. At the Catholic church the service spoke to the need to rise above anger, to find an avenue toward forgiveness. Forgiveness? Why? Why seek to forgive the kind of poisonous hatred that leads to a bloodbath? Is that rational? Right: religion is not rational.

Where the emotion evoked in radical Islam leads to the passion of the commission of murder, the emotion in the faith of Christianity appeals to people to look beyond anger to find forgiveness waiting around the corner. The Muslim community assembled to attempt communal amends, inviting non-Muslims to an interfaith memorial service, the very place where Syed Farook had himself gone to pray.

Whatever inspired him in Islam, is obviously not the same spirit that moved to inspire other Muslims to humble themselves in compassion for those he slaughtered.

Labels: , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Follow @rheytah Tweet