“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. . . I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From Hiba, a Pakistani woman, mother, sister, artist, and peacemaker:
Two days ago when you posted about Pakistan, I wanted to write to you and thank you for your heart, but I felt shy.
Today, when you have written about stepping gently into each other’s worlds, I am compelled to reach out to you; to somehow make this invisible thread connecting us, stronger, more tangible.
You see, I am a Muslim Pakistani woman. I am the ‘other’ in many, many ways. And I am of a people reeling from tragedy. 132 of my school children have been killed by people who profess to follow my faith. It’s so hard, so very hard, to be of a race and a faith that is the subject of so much misunderstanding, so much misrepresentation, so much hate both internal and external. But we can do hard things, right?!
I am connecting with you today to make a deliberate declaration, however inconsequential, to those who spread hate that peace and goodness and bridge building will always be more powerful than they are. To announce that whether we are a Muslim Pakistani woman like me, or a Christian Florida gal like yourself, we are all the same. To prove that Love Wins.
I am sharing below an excerpt of something I wrote on the day of the school massacre. Some people asked why, as a Muslim writer, I included a Christmas carol.
Where it doesn’t matter who is quoting what as long as they are truth-telling and hope-spreading.
Glennon, in Islam, we believe that Muslims, Christians and Jews worship the same One God, the same Ii’lah. May that One God bless you with increasing wisdom, continued eloquence, a bigger cloffice and ever-excellent coffee.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and a happy new year. Hiba
My three year old daughter adores the color pink. Every time she sees it, no matter where, she exclaims joyfully, “For me? For me!” Last week, I was at the beach with my kids. As the sun began to set, pinks and purples streaked and lept across the sky in a breathtaking evening dance. When I pointed it out to my little girl, she exclaimed, in her particular high sweet voice, “The sky is so beautiful for me, Mama? For me!” I held her in my arms, kissed her head, in the way that us sappy moms do when our kids school us in Life, and said “Yes. Yes, of course it’s for you.” Because she was absolutely right, it was.
There is a beautiful sky above us today, Pakistan. It is for us. There is beauty, in every shade and color, all over our beloved country today and every day. It is for us.
These terrorists, these evil, loathsome, misguided individuals, win when we tell ourselves and our children that this world is all darkness. They win when we stop believing with our very core that “Hum aik hain. Hum naik hain,” We are one. We are good.
Tomorrow, when you wake up and your stomach sinks and you remember the horror of this day, do something good for those one hundred children no longer with us. One hundred random acts of kindness for one hundred strangers. Give one hundred rupees to as many people as you can. Light one hundred candles. Recite one hundred verses from the Quran. Spend one hundred seconds in reverent silence. Do whatever you can to announce loudly and proudly to your heart and whoever else wants to hear you that “Pakistan is for me! This world is for me!”
There is a beautiful Christian hymn of which one part is:
“Said the King to the people everywhere
Listen to what I say
Pray for peace people everywhere
Listen to what I say
The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.”
May these sleeping children pave the way for goodness and light for Pakistan. May the horror of today become the promise of tomorrow. And may in God’s wisdom and mercy we always trust, amen.
Amen, Hiba. Love You True and Deep and Real. We are one. We are good. We belong to each other. Love Wins.
You can see the original Facebook post by clicking here, and below are just a few of the hundreds of beautiful comments you wrote to Hiba.
If you’d like to read more from the indomitable, vast, brilliant Hiba, you can find her here.
Under the Same Sky-
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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