One of my many jobs with Team Rwanda Cycling is handling all the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and keeping our website up to date. If this was not my job, I would never set my digital foot particularly on Facebook ever again....or until all the politicians in the US move to the grave. I use Facebook and other social media to bring Team Rwanda and all the work we are doing on the continent of Africa to the world. The world needs to hear about these amazing young men and women who have nothing, yet ride for everything. In my view, social media should be about telling inspiring stories, relaying accurate information, bringing the world together. Instead it has become a forum of hate mongers, armchair politicians and frighteningly a base to spew an agenda of hate, exclusion and fear.
Have we learned nothing from history? Why has the world, as viewed from my seat in East Africa, seemed to have spun off it's axis? Shouldn't we as the advanced human race be more able to resolve conflict instead of fueling it?
I never wanted to write about this as I did not want to open up my world to the internet trolls and for that reason your comments should anyone feel compelled to make one, will be monitored and approved or denied. Monitored, not censored. What made me decide to voice my thoughts? This statement:
I wish all the Syrians were as honest and sincere as this young boy. Not all Syrians are going to be terrorists, but even one is too many.
This statement was in response to a video shared on Facebook of a young Syrian boy, a refugee, who speaks about coming across the Mediterranean and how he misses home and his life and his toys. I wrote about my thoughts on refugees earlier this year. I know Eritreans who have crossed. I think about the lives of these people and how much they just desire hope, safety and freedom. They will risk everything for it.
Donald Trump recently stated all Muslims need to be moved out of the US and not be allowed to return, even if they're American. Didn't we do this to the Japanese in WWII? Well, I guess we just moved them onto camps and took their livelihoods. Are we really going to revisit that horrible time in history and repeat it?
But even one is too many....written on a Facebook page of a friend who posted the video as they were trying to be a voice of reason. Look at the situation from all sides. A white guy posted this. A white guy who also said Obama is a closeted Muslim. Seriously America, you have not let this go? And so what if Obama is a Muslim? I don't care if he's a Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or even an atheist (although I will pray for his soul). I care about his job performance not who he worships.
Oh, and by the way "white guy", just so you know, according to CNN, referencing Mother Jones,
According to data compiled by Mother Jones magazine, which looked at mass shootings in the United States since 1982, white people -- almost exclusively white men -- committed some 64% of the shootings.
Is one "white guy" coming back into the country after his business trip to the Middle East "one...too many"?
This is perpetuation of fear. The unknown being controlled by people like this "white guy" or Donald Trump.
Here's the face of a Muslim in the US...
Adrien, our rider who was the first to sign with a professional team back in 2008, the only Rwandan to date who races for a World Tour team, the ONLY Rwandan to race Tour of Utah this past year.
Adrien is a devout Muslim.
Is this who you refer to Donald Trump? Should he have not been allowed to race because of his religion? Or is it just Muslims from Syria?
Obed, an original member of Team Rwanda, the first Rwandan who aged out of international racing and parlayed his experience into a new career in cycling. Obed, our masseur and yoga teacher, who learned his skills and English in the US for four months back in 2013, who lived with several American families and now supports a wife and two children in Rwanda thanks to his work with Team Rwanda.
Obed is a Muslim.
Is he the "one too many"? Is this who you speak of Donald Trump, a man who was and is married to an immigrant.
Although Donald Trump is truly shocking (and by the way most of the rest of the world thinks Americans are complete fools for allowing him to get this far in the election process), what is more shocking are the people who follow him.
USA Today just said,
Poll: 68% of Trump’s supporters would vote for him if he bolts the GOP
The hate rhetoric he spews should be enough to bounce him....out of the country!
And he still leads in the polls with 10% over his nearest rival.
My great grandparents on my mother's side came from Germany. On my father's side they came from Poland. Didn't most of us Americans come from somewhere else? If we didn't we are Native American.
That's the thing...at some point, somewhere along the way in our family trees we came over to America. Where has the spirit of acceptance of differences gone? We, America, are a melting pot.
Stop embracing the fear and hate. Do your own research. Meet families different from yours, you'll see they are actually very similar. We all just want to raise our families in peace and safety with opportunities to be educated and to be productive members of society.
Yes, Muslims in San Bernardino killed people, but so did a white kid in South Carolina.
If places like Rwanda can come together peacefully, why can't we in America? On this team there are young men from both sides of a brutal conflict 21 years ago. Today there are also Congolese, Kenyans and a Ugandan here. Rwanda and Congo have a very long history of conflict. Not here within these walls.
Our prayers are said by Christians and Muslims together, all of us from different places, lives and backgrounds. Think about us next time you are afraid and instead of fueling your fear with hate speech from politicians, simply extend an offer of peace and grace to those you fear most. You might be pleasantly surprised.