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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

10/06/2006

The Simple Dignity and Humbling
Forgiveness of the Amish People


Bill Coleman Photography

Whoever hears of the story of the school room massacre of 5 Amish girls, is surely not only struck by the tragedy but also by the forgiveness of the Amish people which seems simply astounding.

I know little about the Amish and the bit I do mainly comes from the film "Witness" staring Harrison Ford. In that film a young Amish boy witnesses a brutal murder and is hunted by those behind the murder. Harrison Ford's character, a policeman, knows too much about the murky circumstances and after helping the boy to safety is forced to seek sanctuary with the Amish.

The Amish come across in the film as a strong and stoical people but also profoundly good. They reject the modern world and live without cars and electricity. There is nothing threatening about this rejection. It is a choice and their lives do not suffer as the result of such decisions. They simply want to live away from the modern influences of the world, in accordance to their beliefs.

Yet they accept the world around them and do not seek to spread their lifestyle. They are no Christian taleban seeking to impose on others. Above all they want nothing more than to be left alone to get on with their lives.

It is so sad, therefore, that a maniac sought to show them the very worst side of the modern world. Yet the compassion of the Amish to the wife and family of the killer shows the true nature of these people.

They believe that it is not their place to judge others- judgement can come only from God. "Judge not for ye shall be judged."

The Amish are an inspiration even if their morality and forgiveness sets a standard few of us in the wider world could meet. They live in a world without cars, electricity and few other modern conveniences. Yet their sense of community and strength of spirit shows a richness rarely found elsewhere.In a sense they are the ultimate environmentalists, leaving hardly any "carbon footprint" in their natural lives. However their education is strong- the class that were massacred were learning German, the language of their forefathers. Compare that to the rest of the US and the Anglo-Saxon world that is mainly linguistically illiterate.

The Amish have known persecution in their history. Now their separateness and distinctive dress make them an object of curiosity in the modern world.

Yes in this great metropolis of London amid the bustle and chaos of urban life, where only this week railway ticket collectors attempted to throttle a fare-evading passenger, I believe we could all benefit from being a little closer to the lifestyle, values and beliefs of those Amish people in rural Pennsylvania. Maybe their separateness and decision to stay off the roller-coaster of modern life gives them a sense of balance and perspective that we are missing. They are unaffected by the soap opera of politics and celebrity and adhere to timeless values. Above all they are true to their beliefs. I find them a humbling inspiration.

God bless the Amish people.

by Luis Donatella

(contributed to Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

(Mr. Donatella, weblog London Calling, lives in the suburbs of London)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this story and the one below. They pay wonderful tribute to these wonderful people.

a california girl said...

It's nice to know that someone "across the pond" is understanding the goodness of these people. I don't think you have Amish in England, but those of you who have met them over here can understand how different they are than the rest of us, and in a good way that we all should use as an example.

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL depiction of an Amish girl!

The Sanity Inspector said...

I'm sure you know not to trust a Hollywood depiction too far. If you ever get the chance, tag along on a Mennonite Disaster Service work camp. There may be a few Amish along with the Mennonite relief workers--and very probably providing financial and material help in the background. I had the great good fortune to meet some myself years ago, doing flood relief in south Georgia. Salt of the earth, those folks are.

lori_gmeiner said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It's nice to know that others outside of America care about the tragedies that occur here. And I hope a better knowledge of the Amish is at least achieved from all of this.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!

GretaHoffman said...

"......I believe we could all benefit from being a little closer to the lifestyle, values and beliefs of those Amish people in rural Pennsylvania. Maybe their separateness and decision to stay off the roller-coaster of modern life gives them a sense of balance and perspective that we are missing. They are unaffected by the soap opera of politics and celebrity and adhere to timeless values. Above all they are true to their beliefs. I find them a humbling inspiration.:

Agree 100%.

Anonymous said...

Love your Tony Blair. :-)
It's a shame he's stepping down. He'll be hard to replace.

Thanks for the great comments here.

Luis said...

Thank you all for your comments.

I was honoured that Joanie included my thoughts in this blog.

I guess the tragedy this week creates feelings that travel far and transend boundaries. I certainly felt nothing but sorrow when I read of these events as well as great admiration for the Amish people in their reaction and strength.

As far as I know there are no Amish in England.

I hope one day I will make it to your part of the world. I do believe the Amish offer a real example of a different way of life that, even if we do not follow it, holds a light up to the rest of us to expose some of the faults in our societies.

"The Sanity Inspector"- I certainly don't trust Hollywood depictions too far (!) but what I did get with regards to the Amish struck me as positive even then.

Finally- Tony Blair will be a hard act to follow and thank you for your comments.

Let us hope greater understanding and appreciation of the Amish lifestyle and ideals is something positive that comes out of this terrible tragedy. I am sure the Amish themselves will grow stronger.

3timesalady said...

Thank you for your article and these additional comments.

It is always meaningful to have a view from our friends in England. You are just about our only real ally left in the world.

God bless.

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