Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter February 5, 2002

Dear Friends,

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." (Martin Luther King, Jr).

Again, we're much later getting this newsletter out that we hoped. One of our scribes has been contending with a winter virus, and so has been less energetic than usual. Our apologies. In this case, it isn't because there isn't lots to say.

First, to upcoming events. We've all been waiting to learn when two television movies would be coming out. Well, now we know. Ignore the dates we gave in our January newsletter. There's been some changes.

On Saturday, March 9, HBO will be screening "The Laramie Project". This movie version of the stage play has already been shown at the Sundance Festival, and was very well received. Not least by the people of Laramie. At this time of writing, we understand it will run at 8p.m. Eastern time, but check your local listings.

The following Saturday, March 16, will see NBC air "The Matthew Shepard Story". We understand it will run at 11p.m Eastern time, but, again, check your listings. This is the movie done with the co-operation of Matthew's family.

If we learn of ways videos of these efforts can be had, we'll try to pass the news along.

In the past week, the work crews clearing up the debris of the World Trade Center towers found five more touching stories. It may serve as a positive reflection. The five bodies belonged to a disabled woman in an evacuation chair, and four Port of New York Authority officers. The officers had been clearing the North Tower floor by floor below the place where the tower had been hit. They had met this lady, who could not possibly get down the many flights of stairs, and carried her down in this rescue chair. They nearly made it: although we don't yet know how many floors they'd had to descend, we know they were in the lobby when the North Tower collapsed. It's another example of how that event showed us both the worst and best of human nature.

We have often hear of heroism in relation to the efforts of so many on that day, and in the days since. For the most part, the people we call heroes will tell you that they didn't feel particularly heroic. They seem to be people who simply act according to their usual ideas of duty and right in unusual circumstances. They frequently couldn't imagine anyone acting any differently in the same situation, and the term "hero" isn't a title they're all that happy with. The ordinary virtues of everyday life simply held up under extraordinary events.

We could extend that idea to a number of "everyday heroes" around us. There's a lot for whom the process of getting up and living a life approaching normal can in itself be a heroic act. That can be for many reasons. But look around you, they're there.

And the five people found last week remind us of another truth. To paraphrase Mother Theresa of Calcutta, we aren't called to be successful, but to be faithful.

All of that brings us back to Dr. King's statement, with which we started this newsletter.

Unhappily, we have bad news to report as well.

We have from time to time noted the prejudices against children. sometimes it can take an active form, and from the least likely source. Two of these came to our attention.

In Los Angeles, the parents of a 3 year old boy, who had already had a history of child abuse, have been accused of scalding his with a bath of boiling water. We're happy to report the boy is still alive, and, in deference to the fact that the parents haven't been convicted, we don't have his name.

One who didn't live was 7 year-old Randal Dooley, of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His father and step mother have been on trial this past month for his death. We're awaiting the verdict, but Randal, when found, looked as if he'd been run over by a bus. Spare a thought for him.

And we were reminded from abroad that even groups which traditionally have been objects of persecution can become pretty good persecutors. So we must add Zhao Liu Tao to our list of victims of hate and violence. He was a Chinese student in Dublin, who was set on and beaten to death by a group of four or five young Irishmen. No statement is made against Ireland or its people (one of us had the joy to live there for a couple of years); it's a reminder that there's no community from which these darker angels are completely absent.

Given how late in the month this newsletter has been, we're going to try to aim for the end of March, or the beginning of April for our next one.

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team

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