Friday, August 20, 2010

A Response to the NYC Mosque Debate.

As a people, we seem to have a problem learning from past mistakes. In a time when our natural resources are in peril, our infrastructure is crumbling, people are looking for gainful employment, the poor are looking for food, the middle class is dying and are taking the jobs normally held by teens who are entering the workforce, we have taken upon ourselves to find someone to blame.

Rather than using the energy of great thought, inventiveness and ingenuity to improve the quality of life for our citizenry and all future generations we have reverted into scared little children following the loudest parent we can find on TV, Radio and the Internet.

Yes, The Cordoba Community Center will have an independently run Mosque. It will also have a inter-faith chapel, a swimming pool, gym, basketball court, meeting rooms for organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, a restaurant and culinary school, art studio space, a library, reading room, and child care.

The name given to the Cordoba Community Center couldn't be more appropriate. It is named after Córdoba, Spain from the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries. During this period, The Muslim City of Cordoba was a city of intercultural peace, enlightenment, scholarship and science when the Spanish city was the undisputed global center of cultural advancement. This city of 400,000 residents had remarkable achievements in mathematics, medicine, science, language, scholarship, the arts and classical studies.

It ended as politics took over, splitting the city and overrun by the forces of King Ferdinand III of Castile, during the Spanish Reconquista. What followed was the Spanish Inquisition that expelled, converted, tortured and killed both Jews and Muslims alike. Not since the Roman rule of Caligula had hate ruled supreme and human dignity been so trounced. All in the name of God.

Sadly, the United States has not learned from previous mistakes of other countries. Even as we won our independence from England, we still enslaved a people who were brought to this country against their will. We also continued to methodically remove natives by force from their ancestral land, moving them, in most cases, hundreds of miles away and placed them in Reservations, many of whom are today living in poverty. In 1942, right after Pearl Harbor, people who looked more like the enemy than "us" were removed from their homes and businesses and placed in War Relocation Camps. 62% of these people were citizens of the US.

We as a people have a great capacity to hate. We hate people because of their color, their religion, their perceived differences from our own. We take it to the extreme. We take our eye off of what we really should be looking at because it is simply easier to complain than to contemplate; easier to muddle through rather than educate, both ourselves and our children; easier to condemn rather than to absolve.

The solution to our problems can be found, but fighting among ourselves is not one of them. If a group of people of Anglo-Saxon descent, who had attended the same church as Timothy McVeigh, wanted to open a community center next to the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, OK and got all the government approvals to do it, do you think there would be such an upheaval as we have now in this mid-term election season?

Does such a group exist? Have they actually opened such a center? If you plan to look this up after reading this, then YOU are part of the problem. Finding this information is not finding your neighbor a job. It is not removing the oil from the gulf. It is not feeding the displaced tribes of America. It is not housing and feeding the working poor. It is not paving the roads, which some states are now 'un-paving roads' because they cannot afford the upkeep. It is not solving any problem except your need to blame someone. Yet another untapped chance to hate.

(Originally posted on my Facebook page August 18, 2010)

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Blooms of Plunkett

Blooms of Plunkett
A Banana tree in the backyard in full bloom