Monday, August 24, 2015

How to Make Sense of a Senseless Act of Violence

by Nomad

Whenever there is a senseless act of violence against the innocent, many of us struggle to find the means to cope, or some kind of an appropriate response. That often seems like an impossible feat.


"Chapelhillvictims" 
by Source (WP:NFCC#4).
On February 10, 2015, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23,  and his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21,and her 19-year old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were brutally murdered in their Chapel Hill, North Carolina home. 

All three died of gunshot wounds inflicted by their neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, a 46-year-old former car parts salesman. (Reportedly the motive for the triple murder was a dispute about a parking space.

Barakat and his wife were both students at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, enrolled in the School for Dentistry. Last Monday Barakat would have begun his third year there and his wife would have followed her husband with her first-year dentistry school. 
A senseless tragedy, there's no doubt about that. The question is: is there ever an appropriate response to such an event? It is too easy to match hate with hate, ignorance with ignorance, or perhaps worse, simply to shake one's head and move on.
How can we not surrender to despair?

Matching Hate with Love

In the aftermath, Deah's mother, Layla Barakat, told students at her son's school:
"He died of hate crime and his legacy is never hate. You don't respond back by hating the other. You respond back by love. By peace, by mercy. That's Deah's way."
Farris, his brother, warned:
"If, and it was quite possible, that this was an act based off of evil and a scared ignorant man, do not let ignorance propagate in your life .. do not reply to ignorance with ignorance.
Prior to his untimely death, Syrian-American Deah had been working on funding a project to provide free dental work for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
According to the source, prior to the incident, Deah had raised $20,000 for the trip and following the murders — that online fundraising surged to more than $500,000.
And there was more to come:
That — along with nearly $900,000 more in donations — is funding the “Our Three Winners Trust,” which will fund Deah’s dental clinics in Turkey and other service projects locally for many years to come.
This month Namee Barakat, Deah's father, and 50 volunteers worked with Turkish dentists and physicians realizing his son's dream. 

More than 800 patients, mostly children, were given free treatment on this trip alone. 

According to the U.N., more than half of the 7.6 million people Syrian refugees are under the age of 18. 
According to aid agencies, Turkey is now the world's largest recipient of refugees. In Turkey alone, there are probably well over 2 million refugees, the majority of which are women and children. 

Many of these displaced people live in appalling conditions in tent cities where resources are stretched to the breaking point. That's not the worst.
Some of them, families with children, live on the street, forced to camp in public parks, begging for spare change.

The situation is dire, by anybody's estimation. The need is clearly overwhelming. Providing free dental care was just Deah's attempt to do his small part. 
Now it has become a means of healing for his family in the wake of an inexplicable and tragic murder.   

In an interview Namee said that on the day he returned from Turkey, he visited his son's grave.
“It was a good feeling. I felt really good about it, that at least we’ve done what he wanted to do.”
Read more about the project in the embedded link below.  
Volunteers fulfill dental service dream of Chapel Hill shooting victim


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