Via Basel: I Am Not
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.