To My Beloved Royalty...
I was going to do some sort of "wrap up" for Marta and Felix, but I was moved.... called even.... to change my agenda by a few things. So I switched to Basanti. I've never explictly stated that she's of Pakistani descent. But, she is. Always was.
The first was the Sydney Siege. For 16 hours, a gunman took a cafe in Sydney, Australia hostage. During the siege, he forced two hostages to hold up an Islamic banner in the window. During this time, a hashtag started to spread. The story went that a Muslim woman started to remove her hijab out of fear for that she would be target, and another rider, not Muslim, said that if she kept it on, she'd ride along with her.
This struck me in the gut. I think a lot of us in the trans and gender nonconforming communities can relate to the fear. Of being different. Of being afraid. Of wishing, in a public space, someone would stand with us. At any rate, this hashtag became global. Some in Sydney gave bus lines they'd be available to escort fearful Muslims on. Others, far away, offering support, refusing to allow the narrative become one of blaming an entire people for the actions of another.
And then, the event in Peshawar happened. An attack on a school whose students were children of Pakistani soldiers.... the people fighting the Taliban on the ground. This made them a target. I won't spell out the event entirely, as I know all ages read this. If you're old enough and don't know, look it up.
Pakistan has suffered deeply in the past 13 years. If you look up the numbers who've suffered.... they're staggering. It's a land of many sorrows. Another hashtag arose after the tag.... #IndiaWithPakistan. If you know your history, you'll know India and Pakistan's history has been one of bitter acrimony. But they observed a national moment of silence. The parliment, the school children took time to honor those in Peshawar. Prayed. It was remarkable. If you wish to look it up, I encourage you to do so.
Humanity's complicated. We have the ability to be savage and sublime. We hate groups of people for the attacks of a few, even when that group's victims are mainly their own. But out of the worst can come the best. Fred... Mr. Rogers.... said that his mother used to tall him at times like this to look to the helpers for hope. It's wonderful advice, and I've been following it.
is a link to a fundraiser to help build a new school to honor the students of Peshawar. On twitter, the hashtag for the initiative is #OurReplyToTaliban. I encourage you to open your hearts to these people in this season of giving.
Bless you all.