When a vandal threw a 20-pound rock through the window of the Iraqi family-owned Babylon Restaurant in Lowell, Massachusetts recently, the community could have reacted just like any faced with an obvious hate crime: With anxiety, fear, or maybe even turning a blind eye to the unpleasantness. But a group of veterans, the Veterans for Peace, knew they had to do more.
Even though a suspect confessed and said it wasn't meant to be a hate crime (give me a break!), Patrick Scanlon, a Vietnam vet with Veterans for Peace, organized an eat-in, involving various vets ranging from current Army Reserve members to a former vet in Iraq and Afghanistan to a 96-year-old former Merchant Marine who was in WWII, according to the Lowell local newspaper. He said he thought it was "outrageous" that someone would try to "scare and intimidate" a family that was only trying to live their American dream. AMEN to that!
What an amazing story ... one that I think really depicts how we should be behaving as Americans but aren't always.
It's crazy, actually, that we aren't doing more as individuals to protect our fellow Americans' rights and safety ... because we've all been there at one point. Maybe not us personally, but if it wasn't your father or mother who came over here as an immigrant, then it was their parents, or their parents' parents. We've all been in this Iraqi family's shoes at some point, but America -- and our fellow Americans -- are supposed to be protecting our freedom and right to be who we are in this country.
But what these veterans did is a shining example of how we should all be behaving and treating one another. You know, that is, if we actually want to practice what we preach as far as believing all citizens -- no matter their background or where you were born -- have the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Just check out what the restaurant owner, Leyla Al-Zubaydi, had to say about the Veterans for Peace's eat-in. It literally made tears spring to my eyes!
This solidarity gives us the courage to stand. There is no more fear in my heart because there are such nice people behind us.
Amazing! Now, imagine what it would be like if this kind of solidarity wasn't so rare. We could really get somewhere as a country. Here's a video of the eat-in and Patrick Scanlon explaining more about what he was trying to do ...
Do you assume the rock-throwing was definitely a hate crime? What do you think about the Veterans for Peace staging the eat-in?
Image via LowellSun/YouTube