Many would argue that every life lost is worth mourning. I’d possibly lose the argument if I held a contrary position as a soul means something to someone at any given time.
The loss of 3 souls in the recent Chapel Hill Shootings, however, demonstrated to me how some losses entail more anguish and reactions than others. While the news is rife with savage killings of innocents at the hands of the beleaguered , this death compelled people to take note of a time before the brutal murder.
The three victims were young, American, and most importantly, they wished to live long, as Americans as much as Muslims. They carried their American and Muslim identity proudly on the same lively face, knew how to have a good time with their loved ones and showed that age’s no criteria when it comes to making a difference in society. They did not wear their Islamic identity up their sleeves and flaunt it when the world watched, rather their actions compelled the world to take note of this when they breathed their last.
In his early 20s, Deah Barakat tried to do for people who are mere spectacles for us on TV, and that’s only if they make it there. Deah was going to embark on a humanitarian trip to Turkey to help the refugees in Syria by using his expertise in Dental care, and was constantly involved in fundraising. He lost his new bride Yusor Abu-Salha who was on her way to join him in the same profession. Razan Abu-Salha, a competitive architect in the making, was laid to rest there where foundations of building stand – the ground.
Deah’s plea – possibly one that will resonate stronger after this death :
It was, perhaps one of the few times, that the death of 3 individuals dented not just the spirits of a community, but of the entire country. It was, perhaps for the very first time, that the funeral of 3 individuals of the Islamic faith was covered by the mainstream media. Some people reflect that the legacy of their lives is displayed through attendance at their burial service. Close to 5,500 paid their tributes at the funeral of the 3 slain Muslim student, an enviable turn out at a time when condolences can be shared on social media and text messages.
If their lives garnered little attention on their action and conduct, their death has cast the spotlight on places where it matters the most. It is as if their demise was an inevitable end to spark the spirit in people to spot the flash points in society and work towards mending them. Very few families can take pride in a death that doesn’t go unnoticed. For the Barakat and Salha family, they enjoy the support of 5,500 people, and the others who cried while the family managed to hold back their tears. If in death is a reminder, this is the greatest of them all.
Deah made some important observations before leaving :
A profound reflection on the incident and the 3 lives by an Islamic scholar and Imam in the West, Dr. Yasir Qadhi
Deah’s sister, Suzanne, musters up great courage for what is an emotional interview with CNN