Thank heavens for every one Donald Trump, there are thousands of voices of sanity, fighting to keep racism and bigotry at bay. One such voice is that of Chris Herbert, an Iraq war veteran from England’s south-coastal city of Portsmouth.
Herbert was a 19-year-old soldier in the British army when a bomb went off next to his Land Rover in Basra, Iraq, in 2007. The incident changed his life forever, as due to serious injuries, his right leg had to be amputated. Having every reason to become bitter, Herbert instead chose to focus on the positive.
He finds it strange that people expect him to hate Muslims after what happened on the battlefield. In a recent Facebook post that has since gone viral, Herbert prefers to remember that a Muslim aide was on-board the helicopter that rescued him, a Muslim nurse was part of the medical team that attended to him, a Muslim Healthcare assistant helped him through rehabilitation, and a Muslim doctor in a pub comforted and gave advice to his distraught father who found it difficult to cope with the tragedy. Herbert also fondly remembers the Muslim driver who gave him a free ride when he went out for his first beer with his dad.
Sharply in contrast with Trump’s hat-trick in Islamophobia — the presidential hopeful wants surveillance on mosques, a database established for all Muslims living in the U.S, and a ban on Muslims traveling to America — Chris Herbert’s post has garnered global praise on Facebook and Twitter, hailing him as the kind of role-model we all need in today’s troubled world.
Herbert says an Islamophobic group tried to recruit him as their poster-boy but he refused, saying he had been abused and discriminated against by ‘white Brits’ a number of times, but that he didn’t hate them either, because you cannot judge people by labelling them. His advice to everyone is “Get a grip on your lives, hug your family, and get back to work”.
When we applaud and share Herbert’s ideas, we should remember too, not to fall into the ‘Trumpism’ of hating people for their religion or sect. No doubt many Muslims are guilty of that too!