Sunday, September 10, 2006

Manuel Chea from the 'Lessons Forgotten' event at the NY Tolerance Center replies to my post!

As you all read, I wrote a post about attending the Lessons Forgotten event at the NY Tolerance Center. I criticized one of the attendees of the event, Manuel Chea. Incredibly, he responded to the post. I am very surprised he happened to even find this blog, but he did! The post was so moving, that I think it deserves its own thread. I also think there may have been a misunderstanding between Mr. Chea and I, and so I owe it to him to clear up this misunderstanding. Please read this post:
Hi Red Tulips, This is Manuel Chea. Funny how I find your blog and comments on the panel discussion that I was part of. You mentioned that my morality tale on Jews not helping as bordering anti-semite. Yet you failed to mention that I only paraphrased the well known parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus on that tale (and he was teaching a Jewish crowd) did say that a Priest and a teacher of the law did not stop and help a man who was robbed and left for dead. Subsequently a Samaritan did come and help and save the man's life. The point of that tale was that someone of a different ethnic and religious tradition displayed what Jesus was teaching about "loving your neighbor as yourself" and wasn't a criticism of Jews. What he was teaching here was that we must consider the concept of "neighbor" that our neighbhors are not only people of our own ethnicity, or our own faiths, or nationalities. The concept of "neighbor" as Jesus taught meant that we must love people of all kinds of ethnicities, faiths, nationalities, gender, etc. If my paraphrasing of the parable gave you the impression of "borderline anti-semitism" then I must apologize. Don't forget that I tried to extrapolate the concept to the present time by pointing out in general that I heard of cases of individual Israelis helping an injured Palestinian and vice-versa. That is as I explained were real life examples of loving your neighbor as yourself. As for my comments about Muslims Americans, I did not say I felt sorry for them but that I felt sorry for any backlash against them as a result of 9/11. I have no qualms with you saying that they should also speak out against extremism and hatred. Yes they should. Your question was a very good one and I'm not going to top Fred Margulies's answer which was superb. But I will say that to me tolerance does not extend to those who commit acts of hate and so Mr. Margulies is correct in saying that he does not tolerate intolerance. We cannot change them and I agree with Mr. Margulies in saying that we should work to stop the spread of hatred. I talked about forgiveness but that also is in the context of letting go of my own sense of anger, bitterness, and desire for retribution. Unfortunately, the time given to the panel to speak was short and so I wasn't able to elaborate further. I did also say that forgiveness of someone like Bin Laden does not mean that I do not seek justice. Forgiving Bin Laden does not mean that I absolve him for what he's done. He must answer for his crimes and suffer the consequences. I would certainly agree with you that "those bastards must be brought to justice." Once again, the time alloted just wasn't enough for all of us to elaborate and I have to pick and choose what to focus on. So I chose to focus on loving and accepting one another regardless of our differences, and to spread this concept one person and one heart at a time. As a Christian, certainly I used Jesus to highlight this concept and nothing more. Thanks for your comments in this blog. For me it is feedback and I do wish we talked afterwards. I think you would have realized that our views are really not as dissimilar as you might think.
Thank you, Mr. Chea. I appreciate beyond words your post, and I am honored you stopped by. Regards, Red Tulips


Thomas Forsyth said...

I am impressed that Manuel Chea has posted a repsonse, though I wonder if he googles for people mentioning him, like I sometimes do.

I can understand where you are coming from about the Jesus stuff, though I know the story all too well (I think almost all my religion classes taught that tale), and it is more about accepting different peopel or ones that are disliked by society, but I can see the confusion.

Manuel said...

Actually I did find this blog via google but I didn't google my name. I googled the title of the panel discussion "Lessons Forgotten: Survivors Bear Witness."

I'm glad I found the blog because it allowed me to express what I should have last week. When Redtulips asked her question, I realized she was asking me. My mind was racing to prepare my response (I write better than speaking on the fly). Before I could say anything, Fred Margulies and Eugenie Mukeshimana responded. Then Morry Alter went for another question.

In retrospect I should have addressed the question the next time I had a chance to speak. But I learn. This was my very first time being a speaker in this type of panel discussion. I admit to being a neophyte at this. If I can become half the speaker that Mr. Fred Margulies is, I would be very happy indeed.

I'm glad that you highlighted Mr. Osman's organization. We really must raise awareness of what is going on in Darfur. Darfur is a horrific example of what can happen when Islamic fundamentalists are the ones in power.

The lessons forgotten and that which survivors like myself should bear witness to is this: We were attacked by Islamic monsters who hate us, who hate what we stand for, who call us the Great Satan, and who would not hesitate to kill us just because we are not like them.

Alright, I'm sorry for being so long winded again. I need to learn to express my thoughts more succintly!