Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day and Hannukah

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Day, and today begins Hanukkah. 

It is important that we honor those who have fought in wars:  in obedience to orders, they may be forced to commit acts that no person should do to another, with the faith that their commanders understand the greater good, and they are injured and die in this same faith. 

Americans have reacted strongly to attacks on our soil, after Pearl Harbor and after September 11, 2001. However we must beware of the racial hatred that follows in the wake of such attacks, and lingers long after their resolution. Pearl Harbor Day offers us the opportunity to remember how many years it took for average Americans to accept average Japanese people as anything but enemies, not because of anything they had done, but because of actions taken by a small number of leaders. The soldiers in their armies took orders and fought with the same faith in their leaders as our own. 

How long will it take for us to grant the same respect to Muslims around the world and try to understand them before condemning them?

Finally: is it possible for those who are faced with an aggressive attacker to remain steadfast while having compassion for the attacker, seeking to understand their beliefs and their perspective, no matter how alien it may seem? 

Not only is it possible, it is essential for peace and growth in our world.