Today is Sunday, the fourteenth of July. I’ve been fasting since Tuesday. I’m starting to get into the swing of things, though getting up at o-dark-thirty to eat when I’m barely conscious is something I’ll never be good at. To the point; my breakfast this morning was two slices of leftover cold pizza and an ice cream sandwich. Took my vitamins, glugged my water, prayed, went back to bed.
I’m trying to pace myself. I have been reading Qur’an and working on my memorization more, but other than that I’m pretty much doing the same thing I do all year round, only more so. I still work – have to pay the bills and you can’t use a Ramadan Mubarak card to pay the light bill. I’m still cooking dinner, just later. I’m still trying to help the kids be good Muslims. Still working on my crochet during a rare down moment. Still typing little snippets on Facebook.
I am watching less TV. I’m kind of a news junkie and I wanted to tone it down a bit. Instead of keeping the TV on all the time for background while I’m working, I put on Qur’an or just work in silence, like right now. I’m listening to the quiet whoosh of the air conditioning and the muted noises of the kids from upstairs, punctuated by the faint birdsong that penetrates from outside. Not a bad thing, quietude.
I did turn on the TV last night just in time to see the result of the Trayvon Martin case. We had just completed our prayers and I planned to wind down a bit before sleeping. I didn’t realize the jury would be deliberating so late. To say that I am disappointed in the verdict is an understatement; I’m sad and mad and so heartbroken for the family who will never see their boy again in this world. I can’t say I’m surprised, though. The prosecution was inept, to say the least. They were prosecuting a case they didn’t want and it showed. I’m sure they had wished the uppity black folk would have just quietly taken the body of their son home to bury and left it at that. Now George Zimmerman is a free man and Trayvon Martin is still a dead young man. And moms and dads, especially moms and dads of color, will hug their kids a little more tightly and spend at least the next couple of family meetings reinforcing lessons with their sons on how not to get shot while out walking in the neighborhood.
There was of course a lot of reaction on Facebook expressing similar sentiments. And some comments about the hyperfocus on the case. Without fail there are people who jump on the “people are dying in – Chicago – Syria – Palestine – Nigeria” bandwagon who criticize the fact that we are following this case and commenting on it. So, sigh, I hate to have to say this again but I will – Because I show compassion for a particular person, or because TODAY I comment on a particular disaster, does not mean that I lack compassion for people in other challenging, dangerous, disastrous circumstances in other parts of the country or in other parts of the world. It’s not like I have a finite amount of empathy, so that if I express sadness at the death of Trayvon that means I take away some of my rage at the genocide in Syria. I can hold more than one thought in my head and today’s focus on the trial does not diminish my ongoing grief at the deaths in Damascus or Cairo or Gaza, or indeed in the mean streets of Chicago where black-on-black crime is wiping out a generation of young black men and bystanders of other races and genders. You are not in my head and you do not know what I cry over at night and what I complain to Allah about when I’ve got my head on the ground in my prayer. So don’t reduce me to an apologist Muslim who has sold out by caring about a kaafir at the expense of my Muslim brothers and sisters around the world. You do that, you are just as bad as the racists who say his death doesn’t matter because he was black. I can care about a non-Muslim. It doesn’t make me a Muslim Uncle Tom.
I suppose I’m feeling a bit cranky today, perhaps because my digestive system has not adjusted to the fasting schedule or because I’m tired or just because I have down day sometimes. But I get a bit irked when people tell me how I am supposed to be allowed to feel, so I just had to put it out there. Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to go practice my Arabic and memorize for a bit and then do some more work, because, once again, you can’t use a Ramadan Mubarak card to pay the mortgage either. Remember that this world is a test and true justice will be had when Allah judges us when he brings us back to life on the Day of Judgment. You, me, George Zimmerman, all of us standing naked and afraid, unsure of our destination, not knowing if we will be given our Book in our right hand or our left hand. At that time, we won’t be worrying about the person next to us. We will be gathered together in congregational isolation, praying for Allah to have mercy on us, reviewing every time we did not have mercy on each other. Think about that. Think about that.