New Milford Family Responds After Receiving Hateful Mail
Sabina Jahić, who lives in New Milford, recently checked her snail mail as most of us do. What she found was repulsive and disturbing.
The shocking story comes by way of a piece of mail that Jahić discovered recently in her mailbox. Handwritten in large green letters were the words, "NO ARABS LIVE HERE." Jahić and her family had no choice but to leave their native Bosnia because of mass genocide caused by ethnic cleansing. This past Tuesday Sabina's daughter, Melisa Jahić took to Facebook, and posted this response regarding the letter:
As I write this post, my heart is pounding and my mind is filling with about a million angry thoughts. Quite frankly I feel ashamed for the poor, uneducated, ignorant soul who wrote this. This is despicable!
Dozens of replies, which were all positive, were written in response to Melisa's post offering love and support. Here are two of my favorites,
You are an American, they are an embarrassment!
This is ignorance at its worst. It is terrifying how some people feel empowered to be so hateful.
As I was writing this blog, I asked both Sabina and Melisa if she would answer this question, "Do you think that there is anything that can help stop these acts of prejudice and cruelty?" Both of their responses were incredibly insightful, and I think they hit the nail on the head:
I absolutely do think that there are ways to stop these types of acts and that is only through education. I have found time and time again that people who speak in a derogatory nature, and who hold prejudice close to their hearts are usually extremely uneducated. If schools actually discussed issues like this at an early age, there would be a lot less racism in America. If you are unaware or don't understand a culture, you will inherently be scared of that culture. Educating yourself on all cultures is the only way to learn to accept them for exactly what they are. - Melisa Jahić
We as a family strongly believe in education and research, learning for ourselves about different topics and making conclusions based strictly on facts.
I do believe that media plays a pivotal role in inflaming different phobic trends that are now stronger then ever. We see it especially in the increase of anti-gay, anti-immigrants topics. Of course, not all of the media, but definitely some of the major media outlets.
Education is the key, which starts at home. If I as a parent would teach my children to hate, then there is really very little hope that any teacher can later change that kind of a mindset.
In a time when globalization is closer then ever and diversity is all around us, it is sad and disturbing that there are still those among us whom can not embrace the diversity and see all the beauty it brings to our lives.
In this case, a person was willing to make conclusions about my family strictly based on my first and last name. Even though that name can represent that I am of a German or even any Slavic descent. To make the matter worse, said person "decided" that word "Arabs" is derogatory and that should probably make me feel inadequate in some unexplainable way.
Personally, there are many, many things that I do not agree with in the Islamic faith. Women's rights for one. And in that case, we are not talking about the faith any longer, but about a human factor, personalities that distort that religion.
And that does not mean that I will allow myself to stoop to accusing all of the Islamic faith or change my religion. I will strive to make it better, to make those women be heard and acknowledged for human beings they are.
So, same goes for this particular incident. If we were afraid to show the world around us who we really are as individuals, as humans, my family would not exist today, we would have been just a part of the statistic on victims of the Bosnian genocide.
And we are not afraid today to call out the prejudice and a possible hate crime. And that is also what can be done: voicing it out, building awareness about phobic behaviors that are unfortunately around us on a daily basis.
Many of us (people in general) could write books about what can be done just based on all of the ugly life experiences that we have had. Going deep into the human behaviors and how do those hateful acts come about. The lacking of strength to deal with personal shortcomings will always result in misdirected hatred. - Sabina Jahić