I happened upon an excerpt of a "final sermon" or last blog post via a friend's Facebook page, and felt compelled to re-post it because I share his enthusiasm, concern, and wonderment at worlds different from ours in the West. I also think it's especially important to remind people that tyranny is a living and institutionalized depravity. He says,
Study abroad. Read, but write as well. Talk, and listen. Argue. Ask questions. Laugh. Don’t fight the tears. Sit at cafes and eavesdrop. Look into shops as you pass. Meet people, and above all, return to tell the story of what you have learned, speaking loudly and proudly as we have the right to do. As Mahmoud Darwish wrote, “And you, thinking of those distant others, think of yourself – say, ‘I wish I were a candle in the darkness.’”
As for everyone else, even those who have not the privilege of travel: You must still think of others. Think of Syria. Remember Musa, and Ahmed, and Khaled. Remember names I haven’t even mentioned, because death tolls are not mere statistics as Stalin once claimed; because the “nameless” thousands being tortured in Syrian prisons actually do have names, despite the Assad regime’s attempts to erase their dignity. Remember that tyranny is not just a concept from a high school US history lesson about the 13 colonies and the taxes of a British King. Tyranny is a living and institutionalized depravity that even today moistens foreign streets with blood.
Think of the others. For if we don’t think of them, if we succumb to the temptations of isolationism, then one day others, too, shall abandon us. Even worse – if we forget the others, then we are turning our backs on ourselves.