Wednesday, April 18, 2007
  Liviu Librescu: Inspiration in a moment of Darkness
The story of Liviu Librescu is perhaps the most inspiring thing to come out of the Virginia Tech massacre, which abounds with stories of personal bravery in the face of death, and self-sacrifice in order to protect others. But none compares to the story of Liviu Librescu.

Prof. Librescu was born and raised in Romania. He survived the Holocaust, and ended up in the States in 1986. Having survived one of the darkest periods of human history, and confronted with another appalling horror, he sacrified his life so nine of his students might live, holding the door shut while gunman Cho tried to force his way in.

The honor and human decency exemplified by Librescu, the simple human integrity and compassion in a man who had seen the worst humanity could dish out, is a testament to the power of human optimism, the strength of human compassion.

It would have been reasonable for Prof. Librescu to attempt to flee with his students. Or to feel that he had already paid his dues at the altar of human cruelty. His act of self-sacrifice, of stewardship for his students honors professors, Jews, human beings, everywhere. I stand in reverence.
 
Comments:
I join you in revering this remarkable man. What a testament to love and honor rising out of the horror of the Holocaust.
 
I wrote this poem the Wednesday after the attacks and read it to the congregation at my synagogue that evening. My rabbi asked me to try to distribute it as widely as possible. Thank you.

My Stand
A Tribute to Liviu Librescu
By Philip C. Selz, 4/18/07


In the darkest times we’ve seen, I was sent into the camps
As I smelled the stench of burning flesh, I knew my kin were gone
Survival was my only thought, I knew I must come through
But I didn’t know the reason that my living must go on

And when the war had ended, liberation finally came
And I grew to be a man and shortly after took a wife
And we raised our kids in Israel and we did the best we could
And we lived for those who died and worked to make a useful life

Then a teaching job came to me in America one day
And I thought that building new young minds was destiny for me
So I traveled to Virginia and I made a brand new start
And I taught engineering in this homeland of the free

Now I hear the hallways screaming as shots are fired there
And I hear the terror in the screams and understand their plight
So I bar the door from danger and I tell my students “Run!”
And as the bullets breach the door I know that I must fight

And in these final moments as my life is seeping out
I think back over 60 years and finally understand
My own salvation now makes sense as children flee and live
I was saved that day to save this day, I’ve finally made my stand
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

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Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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