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Heroic young activism inspires the very generation that has failed to protect it

By March 28, 2018 No Comments

At a student walk out recently in solidarity with children across the world, the headmaster of a small international schoolin Amman, Jordan, asked his students to forgive our generation for failing to protect them. From Yemen to Palestine, from a refugee camp in the deserts of Jordan to a high school in Florida, senseless crimes against children are shamelessly and defiantly committed. And my generation has consistently failed to stop them. (We have fared well on prayers, condolences, and memorial services, however.)

I cannot lament the past. How I wished this week I could go back to school even for one day for this has been the week to celebrate in awe stories of heroic young activism. It also happens to be the week of the anniversary of the murder of a young blond Washingtonian activist on the soil of Palestine, at the other end of the world.

In my head, I dream big. That has served me well, as I am sure it is serving this promising young generation as we speak. In the past few months alone, we have heard/seen/and read stories of youthful heroism. A 16-year-old Palestinian student defies an occupation and awakens a cynical, hardened world. An 18-year-old activistsilences hundreds of thousands of people for six minutes and moves the globe. An 11-year-old fifth-grader fearlessly reminds a forgetful humanity that not much has changed for black lives.

In this month of March 15 years ago, Rachel Corywas 23 years old when she was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while protecting the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.

And the list goes on.

Equally powerful are the silent stories of heroism starring my generation. In a small house in West Amman, I met a number of powerful Jordanian and Palestinian women who are working tirelessly to clean up the mess we have created that is drowning out the potential of a young, aspiring youth waiting to blossom. These women are real, powerful, passionate, and educated. They are the giants on whose shoulders this new generation will rise. And they are cleaning up my mess.

Dreaming bigcomes highly recommended. But I realized recently how limited I have been in the bigness of my dreams. I recently looked up activist in the dictionary:

a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

This explains the conditioning in my head of what activism entails: political and social heroism worthy of attention. I paralyzed my activist potential by assuming the only path was to travel to far-away lands and lead masses calling for change the ending possibly involving imprisonment or martyrdom followed by prayers and memorial services. (My far-away land is a half-hour drive away from where I write, across a shallow river that I hear is barely a stream today, where the occupier stands behind American-made killing machines bulldozing anyone who stands in his way.)

I know today my big is sacred. My big dream is a human conception of change that aligns me with the Divine.

Simply, it is to stand or sit or squat in the face of injustice in all its forms.

In one of her emails from Gaza, Rachel Corywrites,

I cant change the world single-handedly. But I can wash dishes.

I can wash dishes too. I can also carry my daughters on my shoulders so they can have a better view of the world.

Do you know what else I can do? I can start with myself.

I had the privilege of listening to a number of inspirational hero activists this past week at Compassion Summit 2018. Many of them have washed dishesin far-away lands.

 

Heroes from far-away lands. Dr. Mads Gilbert and his wife Arna

 

Thankfully, they are still around to remind us that activism takes many forms. Most importantly, they are here to shine a light on the beauty of our human experience, finding moments of grace in the most unlikely of places including the tip of a machine gun. In each of their stories, without fail, are lessons learned and fruits borne.

The most damaging phrase in the language is: its always been done that way. Grace Hopper

These inspiring youths are here to show us that there is no one way. And they are teaching us that our way is defunct.

I have never been more excited for what is to come. Across the world, the young generation is rising to speak against injustice, moving hundreds of thousands of people with their silence. When asked about her greatest accomplishment, the mother of computer programming Grace Hopper said,

All of the young people I have trained.

It is all coming together. The old, the middle aged, the young, the infant all are beautifully weaving an inspiring picture of hope and justice. These pieces are fitting together seamlessly to reveal an army of compassionate, sacred activists in perfect alignment, whose path is illumined by the bright souls of those who have departed. And they are regular folks like you and me. It is their very ordinariness that makes them magnificent.

 

The pieces are coming together. And they are regular folks like you and me. From left: young Tiahn, Mo Hourani, Ruba Fityani, Khadija, Anne Russell, Jennifer Suleiman, Jumana Qubain, and Nadine Khoury

 

Sacred activists are beings living a compassionate life in body, in power, in Spirit, and in Light, who are energized, healed, healing, aware, and conscious.

I can start with myself.

 

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