While writing this column and listening to the news this week, I spent a lot of time thinking about a woman named Talat Hamdani, who lost her 23-year old son on September 11, 2001.
We met in New York when I was working on a documentary project about forgiveness; she was one of our sources.
Despite losing her son, and soon after, her husband, Talat became an active member of the September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an advocate for civil rights, and an outspoken supporter for the proposed the Islamic center; she’s a Muslim, an American, and a victim of September 11, 2001. She has been through unimaginable pains, and yet she has dedicated her days to bringing about peace and justice.
We haven’t spoken more than a handful of times, but this year, I wrote her a Facebook message to let her know that I was thinking of her, and encouraged her to keep inspiring us all with her courage and good works.
In response, she wrote, “tough times. Messages like these keep me going ... Hugs, Talat.”
I just wanted to share a kind word with someone who deserved it, let her know that my heart went out to her for her sufferings. Not much different from my European friends I suppose.
Let’s just hope that monumental tragedy isn’t the only thing that compels us to show compassion towards our neighbors in the future.
*This story comes with thoughts and prayers for Talat Hamdani (mother of Mohammad Salman Hamdani, 23, killed on 9/11/2001), Lynn McGuinn(widow of Francis Noel McGuinn, killed on 9/11/2001), Trisha Wik (daughter of William J. Wik, killed on 9/11/2001), and all those bereft by the events of that day, around the world.