Intolerance…: To give credit where it’s due, Ted Frier’s post, “Right Demands Respect for Intolerance in Jenner Controversy” inspires this post; that and the fact that I listen to a live stream of KPCC at http://www.scpr.org/ while I work on my posts. This morning these random streams of media conspired to connect some very disparate dots between Caitlyn Jenner and a remarkable man named Rais Bhuiyan.
…The True American on KPCC… - In very different ways Caitlyn Jenner and Rais Bhuiyan are icons of the true American. Jenner is an extraordinarily talented human being who has lived an extraordinary life filled with fame and fortune yet cursed with a secret that she has cast aside to start a new life. Rais Bhuiyan is a not so famous human being possessed of significant talent and extraordinary misfortune that has also led to a new life. A month ago while I attended services at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, CA, Salam al Marayati informed me of the extraordinary life of Rais Bhuiyan…
…and followed up with this verse from the Qur’an, Surat Fussilat Chapter 41 verse 34: “And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.”
He held up Rais Bhuiyan and his efforts to address the basic human issues of hate and forgiveness as the only plausible resolution to the Ending the Endless War, between the governments of the West and the terrorist organizations such as ISIS who profess to establish a fundamentalist Islamic worldwide caliphate, “Governments can’t do it. Governments exchange nice words and then pursue their agendas of power while they violate the sanctity of life.”
Quite by accident I happened to be listening when Larry Mantle’s Air Talk featured a nineteen minute interview with Rais: Forgiving the person that tried to kill you. Anand Giridharadas wrote the story of how Rais Bhuiyan’s life was transformed by an act of blind racist hatred. That book has been optioned for a Hollywood film to be produced and directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow, so I suspect that the programming decision to interview Rais may have as much to do with the incestuous commerce between public radio and Hollywood media as telling the story of how Rais forgave the man who shot him in the face, something that has been out of the headlines since 2011.
…and a world without hate - As I commented on Ted Frier’s post, “Caitlyn Jenner's journey has just begun. I hope it goes well for her. Aside from that, bigots are idiots on their face and a lot of idiots tend to be bigoted.”
As for Rais Bhuiyan, I speak from personal experience (1975-Psycho Longhair…) when I say that I hope that Kathryn Bigelow’s film is a resounding critical and commercial success, wins all kinds of awards and brings his story to people all over the world. I hope that it brings funding and attention to world without hate.org, so that Rais and his associates can succeed in their mission to, “…cultivate restorative forgiveness, radical empathy and nonviolent compassionate action through education, community outreach and advocacy…” and clearly demonstrate that, “There is reason for vibrant hope.”
BTW: I recommend exploring the links that I embedded in this post; they’re all worth the trip. Here’s some music for Rais and Caitlyn, one of my favorite covers from one of my favorite films from another of my favorite non-profits Playing for Change.com/:
Except for attributed photos and text, all content is copyrighted © 2015 JKM (an apparently ineffectual boilerplate joke?)