Monday, July 20, 2015

A Dose of Hope

Sometimes it can feel like the whole purpose of our media is to convince us that the whole world is going to hell in a hand basket. Nothing grabs clicks and eyeballs like stories that either horrify us or get us pissed off.

Whenever I can, I try to bring stories that counter that narrative. Sometimes it can feel like (as Crowded House once sang) trying to "catch a deluge in a paper cup." But as Gandhi said, "Everything you do will seem insignificant, but it's important that you do it." So here's a couple I saw today that gave me a dose of hope.

This one reminds us that comedy can be a powerful tool:
Saudi comedian Nasser Al-Qasabi is hoping laughter succeeds where bombs have failed by taking on extremist group ISIS. Al-Qasabi, one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular figures, is facing down death threats from the terrorist organization after mocking them in his hugely popular Ramadan series Selfie. Aired on pan-Arab TV market leader MBC, Selfie is a satirical sketch show that fearlessly tackles sacred cows in the region. Prime in Al-Qasabi’s radar this year was the group who have murdered and pillaged their way across large swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.
And how about nominating this guy as today's hero? The story takes place at the First A.M.E. Church in Pueblo, CO - which celebrated its 140th anniversary on Sunday.
After a June 20 vigil, Rev. Margaret Redmond received a call from a man who, distressed by the mass murder in Charleston, wanted to stand guard during First AME Church services.

The man, Michael Williams, also told Redmond he didn’t believe in God.

“He said, ‘Although I am an atheist, I’ll be damned if my fellow countrymen can’t worship in peace,’ ” Redmond said. While a bit surprised by the offer, Redmond said a reference from a trusted community leader led her to take Williams seriously.

“After prayerful reflection, I felt comfortable that he was genuine,” Redmond said. “And he’s been there at every Sunday service, standing in front of the church, observing and making sure that nothing happens.”...

Williams said he doesn’t see himself as a hero or savior but simply an American “who is doing his duty to his fellow man. I mean, if you can’t be safe in a church, then where in the hell can you be?”
"An American who is doing his duty to his fellow man." Wow!

Talk amongst yourselves...I'm a bit verklempt.


  1. There have been some surprising cross-currents of humanity recently. Here is another.

    Al-Qasabi has guts. But humor is, as Mark Twain said, a very effective weapon against fanatics precisely because they are so pompous and humorless. Here's another example.


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