I highly recommend this beautifully written and produced story from the BBC:
Is this the new Main Street, USA? - - Eliot Stein
It tells the story of Rasha Obaid and Majd AlGhatrif, the owners of Syriana in Old Ellicott City. I have been inside Syriana though I haven’t had food there. That’s something I hope to do as I return to the world post-vaccination.
There’s a letter to the editor in this week’s Columbia Flier that asks a question about hate crimes. The author supports prosecuting perpetrators of such crimes under the law, but wonders what we all could be doing to prevent these crimes from occurring. How could we be more proactive?
As I read the BBC piece about a married couple from Syria who have made a home in the United States and joyfully share their culture, I thought about how important it is to learn other people’s stories. Learning other people’s stories can prompt one to engage and enter in to relationships with those one might have avoided or ignored. Enjoying the hospitality at Syriana or engaging in conversation with the merchants at the Common Kitchen are ways we can step over the boundaries that separate us. We begin to become neighbors.
I think that’s one of the ways we can prevent hate crimes. Taking the time to learn someone’s story can be a first step in seeing shared humanity. Once you can identify with someone else you have begun to build a bridge that supports relationship and rejects hate.
“Communities are stories, and between the floods and the comebacks, we now have a lot of shared stories with the people here,” AlGhatrif said. “We feel like we belong to the story.”.