By Rich A Rosendahl
Warning: Adult Language
This week, the American President publicly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Part of my response to this travesty, was to post a meme on my Facebook wall in support of Palestine (see below) My meme had been shared 40 or 50 times when someone decided to share it in an Anti-Muslim Facebook Hate group, with over 450,000 members, called The Deplorables. Once that happened, my public profile began to light up with bigotry, hatred and more.
At first, I deleted all the comments as they came in. Some might call this censorship or suggest I am unwilling to listen to others. Well, to give you an idea of the poignancy of many of them, here’s a sampling; Jew Hating B*tch, Stupid C*nt, Idiot Twat and a whole bunch of F*ck You’s and more…
By midday, I realized there was little or no end in sight and decided to stop deleting them, no matter how horrible, allowing others to see them. Not to give a platform to these radicals but rather to allow others to see what can happen when we speak positively about Palestine and our Muslim neighbors.
Here is a link to main thread that caused such a significant meltdown from the members of The Deplorables: https://www.facebook.com/Rich.TheNations/posts/1938316763154073
So why should we care about these bigots and trolls, the fake ones and the real ones?
Once I took a closer look at the Facebook group, I noticed one of the Admins was none other than Pamela Geller. If you don’t know her, know this, she has made a ton of money off spreading anti-Muslim ideologies and has garnered a huge audience in America. She is not some random, possibly fake troll, she is a leader in spreading hate.
While seeing all the insults and horrible language used toward myself and our Muslim neighbors was bad, the part of all of this that we should be the most worried about is the links and videos that were shared.
You see, we can easily shrug off the crazy talk, but organizations like Pamela Geller’s are well-funded and producing boatloads of content intended to stir up fear or hatred toward our Muslim neighbors.
I don’t know how many times I have been forwarded YouTube videos or links from people who are most often trying to play some weird ‘gotcha game’. It’s like they are trying to say, or even directly saying, ‘see Muslims are bad’.
You know, I have spent almost a decade building friendships with Muslim neighbors here in the US and travelled to places like Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, etc. and so these garbage links and videos are quickly brushed off and easily identifiable as, well, garbage.
But just because some can see the propaganda for what it is - preying on our irrational fears - doesn’t mean everyone does. In fact, a few years ago my wife and I were in Palestine (West Bank) and a guy I know (in real life) sent me one of these trash videos. Despite the fact that I was literally in a refugee camp in Palestine, his belief in this video had led to an obvious close mindedness that left little room to even consider other perspectives.
Who knows, maybe he is one of the 450,000 members of The Deplorables, and who knows, maybe Pamela Geller’s org helped fund and promote the video? Now consider how many millions more in America eat this stuff up, you know, the crazy racist Uncle types we all seem to have. Or I guess even the Presidential types who like to tweet hateful videos.
How do we Love through all of this?
We resist the oppression, the fearmongering, the hatred. We resist dipping to the level of the extremists who found my Facebook wall. We resist the ‘tone police’ who try to minimize our voices. We resist the urge to be silent altogether. We resist the urge to become irrelevant middle ground peacekeepers, and instead become passionate peacemakers.
We resist by learning more about our Muslim neighbors and Palestine from quality sources. We resist by sharing accurate and humanizing stories about our neighbors. We resist by going to the Middle East and learning firsthand.
We Love through all of this by resisting.
In doing so, we become an encouragement for those who are in fact oppressed (or worse) like our Palestinian neighbors. And we also create a place for people who reject the ways of Pamela Geller, The Deplorables group and others like them. We may not be able to change them but for those who do, we welcome them to the resistance, with Love.