The editors and writers at Altmuslim and Patheos’ Muslim Channel are heartbroken over the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. As the news and stories emerge, and journalists, writers, bloggers and pundits are weighing in on every aspect of this horrible tragedy – from debates over gun control, to addressing mental health issues, to the important role teachers play in our children’s lives, to how to help our children cope with all of this. We are reminded of the words from the Quran: “Verily with every difficulty, there is ease. Verily with every difficulty, there is ease.”
We’d like to pause and share these words from writer Zaki Hasan, on the how very important it is for humanity to follow one Golden Rule – be kind.
By Zaki Hasan
Hearing and watching the news and horrible images coming out of Connecticut over the last few days, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by despair and disillusionment But then I see stories like this, and my mind is drawn back to this quote by Kurt Vonnegut, and the small bit of reflection it elicited in me a few years ago for Geek Wisdom:
“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
— Kurt Vonnegut
Man shows inhumanity to man. It’s axiomatic of our existence. It’s the story of our past, it’s the story of our present, and it will very likely be the story of our future. Indeed, it’s a lesson that’s reinforced every day, whether we’re watching the evening news or the latest entry in the Saw series. However, our history is also littered with awe inspiring examples of men and women showing incredible compassion in the face of unspeakable evil and insurmountable odds.
Every story of tragedy has a story of heroism to go with it. For every Holocaust, there’s a Schindler. Vonnegut’s words, spoken so simply, are nonetheless laced with considerable profundity. The imperative to be kind to one another may seem obvious, but part of being human means that both the right thing and the wrong thing are forever at arm’s reach. It doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and then which one we should choose.
Zaki Hasan is a San Fransisco-based writer and professor of communication and media studies. He blogs at Zaki’s Corner, where this post was originally published.
Here is the video of the Muslim community’s participation in the Newtown, Connecticut interfaith service.