Why do we feel sadness? Why is the world in such a mess? Why do oppressors get away scot-free? Why is the media saturated in politics and inaccuracies? Why are people emotionally and sexually abused with no one to protect them? Why are innocent children murdered by brutal forces? Why are there so many massacres that wipe away entire generations? What has happened to humanity?
In a frenzy, my dear friend Ayesha texted me early this morning about Gaza saying,
I can't get over the conflict that is going on. I feel guilty to simply smile. I can't sleep or do anything without thinking about it. The problem is that it's all thoughts and prayers and no action. Does this mean we are all cowards?
But you must see your fury, your sorrow, your disdain for injustice as the literal beacon of hope. Your moral compass is pointing in the right direction. And your unease or outrage at oppression is in itself resistance to all these tragedies. In a world where it has become exceedingly common and even trendy to be apathetic towards a different people's struggle, you are, by default, already doing something by feeling what you're feeling.
When you speak up, that's the next step. When you share an article, when you discuss it with a friend or a coworker, when you use your social media, when you attend a protest, when you sign a petition and when you pray, you are countering the waves of horrific events on this earth. You are feeding our livelihood as human beings, you are a part of the motor in the vehicle moving forward and not an obstacle in the road.
And no, that doesn't make you a coward. You didn't choose where you are. Neither did those who are barely able to sleep at night in fear of their home being bombed, like those in Gaza. You do the best you can with what you have, and care for those who need your care.
As for the anger you may feel, it is important to realize that forgiveness does not erase accountability of the perpetrators. Forgiveness removes the burden of hate from the shattered hearts of the oppressed. Anger harms you, and does not stop the aggression.
When the earth starts to feel like it is spinning faster and gravity tightens its grip on us, we feel weighed down. Witnessing so many atrocities and disasters, even on a screen, is disheartening to say the least. Some fall into depression, some distract themselves with entertainment, and others try to stay positive and proactive. In times like these, we must remember what God said:
And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of God upon you -- when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. [Quran 3:103]
No matter what religion, we must all hold onto His rope. And to each other, as brothers, as sisters. He is the only one that will allow for the remedy of all the ills on this earth, whatever they may be. And we must know that, as the philosopher Hamza Tzortzis says, "He has the picture, and we have the pixel."
In the meantime, don't be still. Move.