Yes, I did just see Star Wars VII. Yes, it was terrifically entertaining. But the world does NOT need another Star Wars blog post.
What it does need–what I need, in this era of heightened hate, is little stories of hope. I found this Al Jazeera story, “Muslims in Kenya Offer a Christmas Present to the World,” a few weeks ago, but even though it references Christmas, it’s the start of the new calendar that has me turning back to this story for a little renewal of spirit. In the words of authors Muhammed Fraser-Rahim and Beth Ellen Cole:
After a year marred by violence that has led some people to suppose that confrontation is inevitable among humanity’s religions, a busload of Muslims in northeast Kenya has given us all a gift beyond measure for Christmas and the New Year.
On December 21, when armed al-Shabab extremists halted a bus near the town of Mandera, they asked the Muslims on board to help separate out the Christian passengers for execution – a pattern of attack with which they have repeatedly traumatised Kenyans in recent years.
But the Muslim passengers threw a human shield around their Christian compatriots and told the attackers that they would have to kill the entire busload, Muslims and Christians alike. Muslim women took off their traditional headscarves and handed them to non-Muslims to wear for protection.
Normal, everyday people defying expectations to save each other. My kind of story.
The article goes on to mention other acts of defiant philanthropy which–big surprise–failed to make major headlines in the US:
We too often fail to notice the acts of courageous compassion just like that at Mandera. In February, more than 1,000 Muslims formed a human chain of protection around a synagogue in Norway to condemn an extremist’s attack on Jews.
Orthodox Jews in a London district recently formed street patrols in part to protect their Muslim neighbours from hate crimes.
There’s not a lot more to the story; the article is short. But it’s enough to get me through another day of candidates talking seriously about banning Muslims and calling each other losers and low-lifes.
If you, too, find this story encouraging, please, pass it on. Might as well do what we can to counter-act all that crash-boom of violence out there…even the terrifically entertaining, Star Wars kind.