I am tired of being Mr. Nice Guy!
I immigrated from Syria in 1984 and became an American citizen in 1989. I bask in what this country offers from freedom to democracy to opportunity to dreams of a better life. And like you, I get to vote. My voice counts.
As a matter of fact, I just voted for my governor in Alabama this week and then called my three children and screamed: I JUST VOTED. They know the ritual. They know their father gets extremely excited when he votes. For 18 years of my life, I have witnessed enough corruption in Syria to last a lifetime.
Last night, I attended the Stand Against Hate march in downtown Birmingham, and I didn’t see you racists there. I wanted to stick a small yellow flower in the front of your shotgun.
I do have a message for you
No matter what you do, we will not go away – the people who see no skin color.
No matter how much terror you inflict, we will not be scared – the people who care about he poor.
No matter how many people you injure, we will stay the course of reconciliation, tolerance, and love – the people who help those who have not.
And no matter how many people kill and scare and push and yell at, we will keep marching, we will keep protesting, and we will keep raising our voices until we are heard – the people who want to live and let live.
Here’s a fact you may find delightful: Despite my being born in Damascus, I am more American than you are.
Did you hear me?
You were raising Confederate flags in Charlottesville, a flag that stood for slavery and drove this country into its most gruesome war. You were also raising swastikas, a symbol that stands for the most horrific event where six million Jews perished. Neither of these symbols is a gathering symbol. They stand for death, inequality and horror. You are not a patriot. You use the ugly past to forge an uglier future.
Tonight, I saw signs preaching love and compassion. I saw homemade posters colored by little ones hoping we leave them a decent planet to inhabit. I saw white hands holding black and brown hands. I saw blue smiles, hopeful eyes, and reverent bows.
What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend would probably repeat. After all, we have one of you in the White House. The point is not what’s taking place or who’s insulting whom. The point is what’s on the inside of our hearts and souls. Until that heart is sparkling with only love as the driver, we will again hear the echo of Charlottesville.
We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart gets rid of racism.
We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart squelches intolerance.
We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart crushes prejudice.
We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart tramples xenophobia.
And we will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart silences bigotry.
The human heart does not know racism when young, it learns racism later in life. Lets keep our heart young and innocent.
My message to the neo-Nazis and white supremacists?
Love is more powerful than you will ever be. Love will destroy you like it has destroyed your ancestors millions of times over the last few centuries. Even if it looks promising for a while, love will ultimately crush you.
Love is mighty, effective and potent. I dare you to mess with it.
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