I know, I know. I completely stole that title from Alice Childress’s 1973 novel for young adults. What can I say, creativity isn’t coming on strong this holiday season. But it seemed perfect for this topic because I’ve learned that sometimes during tragic events a person you would least likely expect to be the hero, is. I talk a lot about how our “us” “them” frame of mind discourages true harmony in our lives. Kind of weird, in this case, I found my own thinking could have been of the “us” sort, in other words, God forbid I am one of “them.” It is known the mall massacre in Nairobi Kenya was taken out by an Al Qaeda-linked Muslim terrorist group, but this isn’t about that story. This is the story of a Christian missionary woman who decided to take her children to the mall to entertain them a few hours.
Soon after the family had eaten lunch, the two older boys wandered downstairs to a department store, the mother and three daughters (I believe aged 1,2 and about 5) began to wander down to meet the boys but before getting very far, the shooting started. Taking the natural flight response, she grabbed her girls and hid under a flimsy kiosk and for the next four hours lived with the very real terror of trying to keep her girls silent, worry for her sons, and watching the terrorists walk by shooting any live or injured person they would see. Elsewhere in the mall, a man phoned his brother and asked him to pray for him because a group was violently taking over the mall. I am sure the brother said the prayer, but he also decided to go try to rescue his brother. My bother (yep meant to spell it that way) probably would have watched it unfold on TV and leave the law enforcement to, um, law enforcement.
But this brother, arrived at the mall and as he was set to enter the mall from the parking garage, he received a call from his mall bound brother saying he was out and safe. The thing is, the man could have just backed away, gone to meet his brother, and went home. He chose not to, this brave man, he went in and eventually saved this Christian woman and her daughters.
The take from? I can hate the actions of Al Qaeda as much as the next person, much of what they do seems a senseless waste of innocent life. But this nagging “us” and “them” mentality? Well, it’s good to remember, things aren’t always as they appear. We should always strive to see people by their face value, not senseless labels, because the Hero? The fellow not even at the mall when it was raided? He was Muslim. Just a happy ending to think about, if you have the time on this busy holiday season.