Blame vs. Compassion

Dan O'Donnell
Dan O’Donnell

I was the number four boy growing up during the ‘50’s in a family of seven children. I had four brothers, two older and two younger and two sisters, one younger and one older. As a boy in that era, the worse thing that could happen to you was to be called a girl, usually couched in the term “sissy”. I did all sorts of crazy things to avoid that moniker, like playing football, pretending to be interested in baseball and choosing clothes that looked very manly.

Ameera Ahmad Harouda, “Mr. Rambo” works as a fixer in the Gaza Strip and in the above TED Talk, shares what I believe to be the real face of bravery, perseverance and strength—in short, all the masculine virtues (Latin root vir means man) that I have always aspired to. “Mr. Rambo” is a woman. She has another virtue not often demonstrated by men, compassion. If you doubt that statement about men, read the comments that follow Ameera’s talk. While there seems to be one woman, Louise, involved in the discussion that follows, the rest look to me to be men who I think have missed the point of the talk all-together. Ameera is telling the moving story of people caught up in conflict. The men continue to discuss who is right and who is wrong. If my life’s experiences have taught me anything, trying to assign blame, rather that compassionately learning to live in the present moment will surely continue the war.

There’s another woman’s story told in the May 2, 2016 New York Times article: Departing Judge Offers Blunt Defense of Ruling in Stop-and-Frisk Case whose strength, I believe, far exceeds that of the men she has had to work with. Judge Shira Scheindlin, is stepping down after 22 years as a federal district judge in Manhattan. During that time she had the nerve to stand up to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in her 2013 ruling in the stop-and-frisk case. Her response to interviewers demonstrates compassion rather than fear:

“Think of the lives that that has changed, the lives that that has touched,” she said, “the lives of people who were stopped for no good reason and how intrusive that is.” The policy had “bred nothing but distrust,”

Just as important, Judge Scheindlin noted that her ruling reduced the number of stop-and-frisks from 685,000 to 24,000 in just a few years. Maybe we should change the word virtue to mulierue (Latin root mulier means woman) and encourage little boys to be more like the girls.

Aside: This post has nothing to do with the 2016 politicking going on right now. I'm actually supporting Bernie Sanders
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Author: CPP

We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.

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