After the recent Paris terror attack, a lot of people showed their support for the city. However, there are also some people who took it the wrong way and lashed out on innocent people because of it. Just because these people exist, though, doesn’t mean that we should reciprocate their hate with more hate. In fact, this goes for just about anything in life: always confront evil with love.
Netizen Gary Reloj reminds us of exactly that. And, although his story didn’t happen in Manila or involve Filipinos, it is one with a strong moral story that everyone should share or at the very least, read.
As posted on Gary’s Facebook page:
Warning: Vulgar language used but worth the read.
It’s 3am, and I’m buying a Diet Snapple at my local corner store before calling it a night. I’m on line, waiting for the cashier to come back, and in front of me is a man of Middle Eastern decent, maybe in his 50’s, and two guys that are clearly drunk. I’m minding my own business when one of the guys tapped the Middle Eastern man on the shoulder and said “I hope you’re real fucking proud of what your people did in Paris tonight, you sandnigger motherfucker”. I’m in complete and utter shock of what I just heard but the Middle Eastern man just ignored it, as if this wasn’t the first time today someone’s harassed him. I’m trying to be a typical New Yorker and keep to myself when the other friend said “I can’t wait for Trump to become President and sends your Muslim ass back to Syria” at which point I politely say “guys, how about we leave the gentleman alone and let’s just buy our sodas and chips”. Of course the response from them was “fuck you this has nothing to do with you”. Biting my tongue, I try to keep calm but the guys continue their racist harassment of the guy as we’re waiting for the cashier to come back from wherever the hell he was. After listening to another 20 to 30 seconds of them accusing him of being a terrorist, the Middle Eastern man turns around and he looks like he’s about to respond with angry words that would escalate the situation. Before he could say anything, I don’t know if it was just my instincts to redirect everyone’s attention, but without thinking I quickly and stupidly shouted out “hey do you guys like Korean food?!?” (I just came back from K-Town) and the two of them look at me and were like “huh?”. So I just go “so here… I have leftover Korean BBQ, it’s really good. How about I give it to you and I’ll also buy you your sodas. All that I ask for in exchange is for you to leave the guy alone and we all just go about our night.” Immediately after I said what I said, in my head I’m like “wtf did I just do??”… but wow, it actually worked! The cashier came back the second they said “okay, deal”, I paid $10 for their sodas and snacks and they left the store with some parting words for the Middle Eastern guy.
What happened next is why I still can’t sleep. Once those guys left, the man looked at me, started to cry, and softly said “thank you… thank you”. I just came to him and we hugged each other and I started to cry with him, as if I could feel his pain from the constant racial abuse he faces daily – all because he’s Muslim. He offered to pay me back and cover my drink, I told him to just pay it forward when it’s his turn to help someone. We shook hands and before leaving I told him “Asalamu alaykum” (peace be upon you). Impressed and with a smile, he responds “Wa alaikum salaam” (and upon you, peace).
I’m sharing this story with you guys because I think it’s important to note that the goal of ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist groups is to disrupt our way of life by creating a viscious cycle of hate that breeds xenophobia in our society, leading to further disenfranchisement amongst many in the Muslim community, which creates fresh recruits for the “Caliphate”. I’m telling you now that the best way to say “fuck you ISIS” is by breaking that very cycle of hate – through acts of kindness and love.
If you see your fellow man being abused, stick up for them. I know what I did tonight was a small act, but compound this message of love to 100 people, then 1,000 people, then 10,000 people, then 100,000 people, and then a million people and then an entire society – maybe that’s the real sustainable strategy in beating ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban…
So do the right thing and confront evil with love and please, send your thoughts and prayers to those in Paris.
Btw, the cashier must have felt crazy awkward seeing two grown men crying in front of his register lol… Peace be upon you all.
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