SUBWAY EPIPHANY: A TERRORIST’S TRANSFORMATION

This is probably a fictitious story, but one that I would sincerely hope might be true.

There is a nondescript young man who immigrated from a Middle Eastern country which shall remain nameless.  He came to the United States, filled with rage at the American way of life and particularly New York City which, he understood, was the home of the infidel, of  brazen, immoral women, of numerous members of other religions and beliefs.

His rage was to be channeled into some act of terrorism–the details of which were to be worked out in time.

He began his assessment of the situation by riding the subways. At first he felt anger and disgust at the mixed group of individuals he encountered on the train–young women who seemed rather licentious in their dress and make-up, Blacks, Asians, Latinos and especially Jews.  He secretly stared at their wide-brimmed hats and strange sidelocks.  He could barely subdue his seething  wish to destroy them all.

He communicated carefully with some other individuals of a similar mindset.  They talked about how to wreck havoc with such a city of sinners and infidels.

He rode the subways for days, observing, planning, plotting.  He expected his anger to build further, to be difficult to hide and control. 

But something strange was beginning to occur within him.  He began to observe how tolerant each individual seemed of such diversity.  Each rider on the subway seemed to be rather oblivious to those around them.  No one stared, or looked surprised, angry of even agitated.

Day by day he witnessed the multiplicity of races, colors and backgrounds.  And slowly, to his chagrin, he began to understand what he was observing. He stopped contacting his former associates.   People were tolerant of the diversity around them.  They were content to 'live and let live'.  They seemed only to desire to get from one place to another.  They lived within their own universes and did nothing to interfere with anyone else.

Slowly and steadily he lost his anger.  He found himself actually enjoying the diversity, the richness that formed the tapestry that was present within the subways and in New York City itself.

He came to understand that the Golden Rule was one he could live with–and one that would allow the grand melange of humanity who comprised New York City  to live as well.

And so a grand  fantasy– -a subway epiphany, a healing, a ray of hope.

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