Tuesday, December 8, 2015

To the daughter of Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik

You are still a baby, just six months old, but my own daughter and I have already discussed your plight.

At this writing, you are temporarily in foster care, having been taken from your family on the day… on the day your parents died.

But your aunt and uncle have pledged their love and commitment to you, and they are doing everything necessary to reunite you with your family so that they can raise you as their own child, keeping you, as your aunt stated, from ever knowing the truth, if they can.

Is that even possible? Your parents made choices that resulted in their deaths—and the deaths of many others. Will this truth follow you, haunt you, all your life? For now, you are innocent, blissfully unaware of the grief and sadness surrounding you and your surviving family. But as you grow and learn, will your aunt and uncle be able to shield you from those who may seek to punish you for the acts of your parents by piercing your heart with the knowledge of those violent and bloody moments on December 2, 2015? It may be impossible.

But how are you culpable? You are not. You are simply an innocent child, your heart a pristine vessel untouched by those who would taint it with fear and hate.

And this is why our hearts—mine, my daughter’s—this is why our hearts hurt for you. Because there is anger and hate on the side your parents chose… and anger and hate on the side which opposes them. No one will win.

No one will win.

No one can. This is not a war of territory or boundaries, or even a war of oppression, though some will say it is. This is a war based solely on fear.

Some will say I am too sympathetic. Others will say I am not sympathetic enough. My words will be interpreted according to the reader’s predetermined mindset. Do you see? There can be no logical reasoning here, no resolution reached after thoughtful consideration of the facts on both sides. Because with all our centuries of accumulated knowledge, we have failed to establish a world that moves forward based on love and mutual exchange. We have created a world entrenched in rhetoric and based on greed and jealousy.

I see little to indicate that this world will change much by the time you are old enough to understand it. Indeed, I see only a worsening of our fear, our greed, our jealousy in the coming years, because few are willing—as yet—to say enough is enough, to blink, as the expression goes, in this stand-off, to back down and give ground and ask, “How can we make peace between us?” Perhaps—and I realize this is much to hope for—perhaps it will be your generation that turns the tide. Perhaps, in learning of your parents’ deeds, you will be the first to say enough is enough.
Or perhaps you will never know any of it. If your aunt is successful in keeping you from this history, you may never know any of it, and your life can be lived without the burden of knowing the events of that day. I would envy you that oblivion.


  1. enough is enough,,,but I fear wars will be fought over the definition,,,reckon?

  2. I don't have any problem with people who want to believe in God. I think it's on balance a positive thing. But I am beginning to think it's time we got rid of organized religion. Tough actually to ban it, but how about no legal status and no tax deductions? How about religion becomes something people do in private?

    1. Mike, when people ask me what religion I follow, I tell them that religion is much like sex--best practiced in the privacy of one's home. And no lie--my friend John Evans wrote a great sci fi novel with this premise: In order to reach a global peace accord, world leaders agree to end the public practice of religion. While I think that is a bit extreme, I do see the danger in allowing individuals to unite for the purpose of revenge and hostility behind a shield of religion. I would not try to define who or what "God" is for someone else, and I do resent when others attempt to do so for me.