On Giving Back

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Salaams everyone and I hope that your Fridays are going well – at least this week we do not have a hurricane breathing down our necks. It seems this week highlighted some of the best and the worst of human nature in the aftermath of Sandy, which left significant damage in its wake. We saw people come together to pick-up the wreckage and try to rebuild the best they can with what is available, not dwelling for long on the negativity – I hope I can be that strong if confronted with such a situation. I would like to think my faith, specifically the belief that all is known before it occurs yet humans have the capability of choosing how they deal with both the good and the bad in life, will see me through, but only another aspect of existence is present: a community. What was repeatedly mentioned in the media and in the stories relayed by loved ones was how communities coped together and people, often previously strangers, exhibited altruism and a willingness to help without seeking compensation. The storm came at a time when I legitimately began to worry about the “American fabric” being torn at its seams by the heated presidential election and all the mudslinging that accompanies it – a few days without seeing campaign ads (of all political stripes) was much welcomed. The most cynical part of myself believes that this community-focus will quickly fade and we will return to be xenophobic and scared to help our neighbors, but I would also like to think the wounds inflicted by Hurricane Sandy will be longer-lasting. I mean, the fact that many buildings and other entities were completely demolished serves as a visual reminder of what will be needed to be rebuilt and hopefully begin an honest conversation about climate changes. I fundamentally believe that nature, even outside of my religious interpretation, periodically reminds us how delicate our world is and that when you misuse it, well, you get burnt. In a few hours I will be, inshAllah, returning home to experience things first-hand and help my family with some of the clean-up in our garage. Last night when I called my dad to let him know I would come home for the weekend we laughed that the storm had finally prompted us to clear out the garage, which is something we had always talked about doing but never did. As my girlfriend has told me before in different instances, dealing with difficult situations through humor can be great and I think it works right now.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Also, one last thing for anyone interested in getting more involved with a cool art space in Baltimore. Charm City Art Space will be doing a clean-up next Saturday morning beginning at 11:30 AM. Let me know if you would like to join.

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