This afternoon I attended the memorial service of Anthony Shadid (obituary), the world renowned reporter on Middle Eastern Issues, who was a native son of Oklahoma, and the cousin of Oklahoma City Councilman Dr. Ed Shadid. I can’t do justice to him in this little blog, but I want to recall something said by Dr. Ed Shadid in his tribute to his cousin at the service. He said that Anthony worked tirelessly to humanize the people of the Middle East, to counteract the brutal dehumanization of the people of the entire region by the powerful forces in the United States and Europe who have waged such violent warfare against the region for so many years. He said that if anyone had a right to give up on humanity, it was Anthony, because he had seen so much war, so much violence, so much death. But Dr. Shadid said that in spite of all of that evil that Anthony personally witnessed, he remained an optimist about the future of the Middle East, particularly in light of the events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and elsewhere.
As is customary, we pray that Anthony Shadid may rest in peace and that his family be comforted during this time of grave sorrow. But let us also pray with our lives and actions — our praxis — and thus continue his work against the brutal dehumanization of the peoples of the Middle East. Let us always remember that people are people, they are important, they should not be used as pawns in great power struggles and their lives should be protected from the greed and violence of those who would profit from war, greed, lust, and murder.
This work for justice and peace will be a true and lasting memorial to a great and compassionate man.