No Fear

In today’s world, all one has to do is turn on the news to trace the body-littered path of ISIS carnage. Images fill our screens of ISIS as they douse a pilot in gasoline and set him on fire; eagerly record his tortured screams and writhing agony. But this is only their latest atrocity. ISIS beheads parents in front of children, children in front of parents, and hostages in front of the world. They crucify Christians, bury children alive, and line up their victims in front of firing squads. You’d think we’d get used to the images, that pictures of slaughtered innocent children wouldn’t rip our hearts out, twist our guts into knots every single time. You’d be wrong.

I find myself shouting at the television, railing at the heavens, why doesn’t somebody stop this? How can America, a country that swore there would never be another holocaust, stand by while entire villages of Christians are massacred, while the Kurd population is decimated by ISIS ethnic cleansing, while American citizens are beheaded by radical Islamist terrorists.

Where’s our American media? Those self-righteous journalists who love to blanket the airways with coverage of Michael Brown (aka thug) who they think didn’t get a fair shake yet offer only distant, spotty coverage of thousands of children who never stood a chance. Where’s their outrage over Kurdish children robbed of a future, brutally murdered, for no other reason than their ethnicity.

And why doesn’t Congress act? It’s because they won’t and can’t in that order. Democrats refuse to buck their leader no matter what the cost. And Republicans are boxed in from a badly-played game of political chess. They played defense, retreated, and hid while their opponent kept charging until there was no where left to go, check and mate.

Then there’s our President, Barack Hussein Obama. Don’t look to him for help. He’s more concerned with protecting ISIS than its victims. He’s tripping over himself to release as many terrorists as possible from Guantanamo Bay before anyone can slow him down; he sided with the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab spring, holds meetings in the White House with the Brotherhood’s known associates on ‘anti-Muslim bigotry’, preaches anti-Christian sentiments to defend ISIS, and the list goes on. Oh he occasionally makes noise about fighting ISIS but in reality, it’s just noise. Does he support the caliphate, secretly cheer a rising Islamic rule. One has to wonder.

So who, if anyone, will fight ISIS? Do those of us who are sickened by these acts of terror stand alone? Are we too scattered to make a difference?

There’s a scene from the movie Hunger Games that moves me in forgotten ways, stirs sleeping passions. I’m always left with a sense of longing after watching it but never sure why.

The Hunger Games is about the iron-fisted capitol of Panem punishing the outlying districts for an uprising. Two children, “tributes,” are reaped from each district annually to participate in the Hunger Games, a fight to the death. Twenty-four children go into the arena, only one comes out.

Much like the victims of ISIS, the people in the districts have no way to protect their children, no way to fight back. But they do share a sign, a secret handshake of sorts. They press three fingers to their lips then hold them out to the person or persons they’re honoring.

When 16-year old Katniss Everdeen watches her friend, a 12-year old girl named Rue, die in her arms, she breaks down. Katniss arranges flowers around Rue’s lifeless body then walks a few feet into the woods, stops, and turns to the cameras. She puts three fingers to her lips, then defiantly holds them up to the cameras, to her people.

The scene shifts to the town square in District 11, Rue’s district. Katniss on the mammoth screen, her arm extended out to the crowd below. One by one the people return the salute. The music rises as every hand goes up until the crowd stands as one, bound together, united against their masters. Then the people rebel.

I’ve played that scene over and over trying to figure out why it stirs such passion, such longing. Then today, I got it. When I saw Jordanians flood the streets to protest ISIS, crowds marching in unison, single-minded with a shared purpose, I got it. I long for that kind of unity, to be one of many who listens to their heart, not the cacophony of shrill voices that surround them.

But that solidarity can’t happen in America, not anymore anyway. Even if we know what’s right, we’re not allowed to take sides. It’s not acceptable behavior in our relative society.

So we ignore our inner voice instead listening to the supposedly educated, smarter-than-us, people who scold us for being small-minded. There’s always two sides, they preach and who are we to judge.

We commend ourselves for being open-minded when we tune into talking heads screaming and railing at each other; right vs. wrong, right vs. left, right vs. right. But in the end, it’s just more saturation, more pummeling us with their drivel until we no longer care either way.

We applaud our unprejudiced, unbiased, un-anything positions as we soak up calls to stand down. President Obama and, by extension, our government, keeps telling us to step back, don’t rush to judgement. All Islamic extremists aren’t bad, hell they’re not even all extremists. And we certainly can’t judge these people as a group because there could be some innocent Muslim stuck in there amongst the butchering psychopaths. Can’t judge, can’t take sides, can’t label these murdering radicals as bad people.

Wrong! They’re the bad guys, Mr. President. They’re not a few extremists giving Muslims a bad name, they’re a growing militant army intent on conquering the world. A CIA assessment puts the number of ISIS fighters at up to 31,500, more than three times the number previously estimated. That’s just Iraq and Syria. Their numbers are growing in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, and, yes, America. And those numbers will explode if we do nothing.

Hey, Congress, media, those guys torching the man in the metal cage and burying babies alive, they’re the bad guys. They’re barbaric evil people who need to be destroyed not excused.

We all know the truth, deep down we know who the enemy is. Yet on all sides the voices tell us to keep it down, don’t jump to conclusions, give ISIS a break. In other words, give people time to chew on these abominations, digest the horror, and eventually pass the processed mess out of their systems.

But color me a rebel, I’m taking sides. I’m with those who want to ride in and rescue the helpless victims from the villains. And be clear on this, the villain is radical Islam.

Maybe, like the people in the districts of Panem, I’ll use a sign to send my message. ISIS thrives on terror so I’ll take a page from Yoga. Mudras are symbolic hand gestures used to ward off evil among other things. I like the Abhaya (fearlessness) mudra. It’s simple, the right hand raised above waist level with palm facing out. And I love the message, “no fear”.

Abhaya mudra painting by Sabina Espinet

Abhaya mudra painting by Sabina Espinet

So if you see a stranger passing, hand frozen in a half-wave, it’s probably me saying I’ve taken sides, I’m with the good guys. I pray others will line up with me to stand together against the enemy, unite against radical Islam before it’s too late.

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