Deb Brandon: Living in Radiant Color


According to Brigitte Gabriel, a Middle East expert and a very smart woman, there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, 15% to 25% of them are radicals. That makes 180 to 300 million radical Muslims. The rest are peaceful. In terms all of the deaths the radicals have caused, the peaceful majority are irrelevant. She spoke of the sixty million deaths at the hands of the Nazis in World War II. In counting those deaths, though most of the Germans were peaceful, they were irrelevant. Similarly, the peaceful majority in Russia and China are irrelevant.
As I listened to her speak, in light of the war in Israel, I couldn’t help but wonder. I am a peaceful Jew. Am I irrelevant? I feel helpless, and hopeless. I can’t actively do anything to put a stop to the hatred, the killings, the war. Does that make me irrelevant?
Brigitte Gabriel was speaking of racial profiling and was measuring relevancy based on numbers of deaths. But I am speaking of us, the peaceful ones, the irrelevant ones, and I have to measure relevancy somewhat differently.
I refuse to be irrelevant. I will speak.
I have to believe that my voice will be heard, no matter why I raise it.
I am a member of Weave A Real Peace (WARP), a networking organization that creates “a connected textile community.” One of our stated purposes is to “raise awareness of the importance of textile traditions to grassroots economies.” Many of our members work with textile artisans worldwide to promote positive social change.
I want to raise awareness of important issues, such as the struggles of poverty stricken textile communities worldwide and the difficulties faced by children living in war zones. I want to be heard when I speak of the plight of the abused, whether they are animals kept under deplorable conditions, or victims of sexual assault.
I want to promote social change. I want to make the world a better place.
I want to raise my voice against social stigmas. I want to introduce the world to the human face of people with bipolar disorder and autism. I want to raise awareness about the daily battles braved by those of us who suffer from depression and by survivors of brain injury. I want peace, an end to the killings.
I am a storyteller. I have to tell my stories. I have to believe that there is an audience for my stories. I have to believe that those of us peaceful citizens of the world are not totally irrelevant, that our stories will be heard. That our audience will keep growing, one person at a time. I have to believe that we will bring social change, one step at a time. I am aware that it won’t happen tomorrow, nor next year. But sometime in the not too distant future.
I will not be irrelevant. We can’t afford to be irrelevant. Otherwise we will be lost.