A letter from Ren A. Hakim (WAALM Awardee of 2008 in Literature)

I know how deep your commitment goes to forging diplomacy and peace the world over. In light of that, I hope you will agree to show solidarity for the following cause and get word out to others to do the same.

I want to preface this letter by firmly stating that extremists are found in all the major religions and DO NOT represent the faith/sect to which they claim they belong. I don’t want anyone to make the tragedy I’m about to discuss even more tragic by using it to fuel hate. The following is NOT a xenophobic rally cry for vengeance.

What it is, is a PLEA for you, as someone who believes human life has worth, to lend your voice to those who haven’t one loud enough to be heard.

On October 31st, 2010, a horror, more terrible than any Hollywood screenwriter could conceive, befell the parishioners of the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad, Iraq. Men, women, and children were in the midst of mass when armed militants stormed the building. The massacre that ensued is part of a broader genocide taking place against the Christian minority in Iraq. The details are too gruesome for me to personally type, so I will instead direct you to the following New York Times article (but, be prepared, as it is graphic) HERE

Again, I want to make clear that those who perpetrated this crime against humanity DO NOT represent the faith/sect to which they claim to belong. In the days following this attack, further bombings took place across Iraq, indiscriminate of whose lives they took.

I know that there is a great deal of darkness in the world. I know that tragedy is not exclusive. I know that sympathizing is not always the same thing as truly connecting. I know that there is a tendency to devote attention to causes which strike closest to home.

I also know that we are all ONE family.

I’m asking that we turn our attention to this particular branch of it now, because a *specific* ETHNIC CLEANSING –a GENOCIDE– is taking place against Iraq’s remaining Christians and time is of the essence, as further attacks are being planned. Acute awareness of the situation is crucial. Their voices are so few in number that, even joined by their families living in diaspora, they are still, seemingly, not being heard.

On Monday, November 8th, rallies to stop the violence are being held worldwide and EVERYONE who believes human life has worth is urged to attend:

Invitation on Facebook

If there is not a rally being held in your city, then as a show of solidarity for the cause, perhaps you will consider posting a black memoriam ribbon on your profile on Monday and ask your friends and family to do the same. That, at the very least, should garner further attention around the net, which will hopefully translate to more media interest in the marches themselves.

In the meantime, thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you will choose to join the chorus, in person or online. Your single voice may be the one that makes the difference in being heard.