Via Basel: I Am Not

Art by Anna Emilia Laitenen

Inspired by Pope Francis’s recent visit to Iraq, and complementing my post six years ago, “I AM.”

I am not Catholic, but

I am in awe of Pope Francis’s courage and compassion.

I am not Buddhist, but

I am inspired by the Dalai Lama’s humility.

I am not Hindu, but

I am attracted to Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent resistance.

I am not Shiite Moslem, but

I admire Iraq’s Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s moderation.

I am not German, but

I am impressed with Chancellor Merkel’s leadership and steadiness.

I am not a Black woman, but

I am appreciative of Isabel Wilkerson’s literary skills and historical perspective.

I am not a revolutionary, but

I respect Malcom X’s passion and activism.

I am not a wild animal, but

I encourage protecting the tiger population as a symbol of wilderness.

I am not young anymore, but

I absolutely love Amanda Gorman’s poetry and energy.

I can go on and on, but

I will stop and suggest:

Go ahead. Do your own list, and

share it with the world.

If we are to strike out

tribalism, groupism, nationalism, racism,

or any other isms that limit us,

it is a small but significant contribution these days,

countering division and hate, spreading love, forgiveness, and unity,

just like the beloved Pope.

Basel Al-Aswad, father of EIL founder Christopher Al-Aswad, is a yogi trapped in an Orthopedic Surgeon’s body. His loves in life include reading, writing, hiking, enjoying nature, meditation, and spending time with his large Iraqi family, and now, semi-retired, he is exploring new avenues in medicine, education, and social engagement.

Via Basel: I Am

Via Basel: Caste, a Masterpiece

 Via Basel: Big House in Baghdad series



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