An open letter to my Chaldean Neighbors


The other day I let the pandemic get the better of me and my judgment.

Like many of us, I’ve been frazzled lately.

I don’t sleep much but somehow always feel like sleeping. Mostly because I feel as if we are never going to get out of this mess of a pandemic that is robbing us of our lives, whether we are living, or sadly, dead of this virus.

I do my part to keep apart from most of the world. Outside of my immediate family and a handful of friends I see one or two at a time.

My only outings revolve around food shopping for my family at the grocery store.

Without question or resistance, I wear a mask and gloves into every store. Thinking of the people who will use the shopping cart after me, I carry my own disinfectant and rags and wipe shopping carts down.

So, it’s been to my dismay to see cases of COVID going through the roof.

I want my kids to go back to school, to live out the prime of their lives.

I want the same for your kids too.

So every time I hear of a gathering of masses of people, knowing it will set us back farther, I kind of lose it a little bit more.

On July 4, there were several parties in my neighborhood, with little mask-wearing or social distancing being practiced. This, right after it was reported of a large gathering in an East Lansing bar and several other house parties around the state were causing cases to soar.

So, when scrolling through my social feed, I saw a friend posting about a similar sight in her neighborhood – of over a dozen parked cars and all the drivers headed INSIDE to one house – I chimed in with my frustration.

I responded to another posters comment – about a country club valet staff parking cars out of view so they could host a large party – with some very unkind words.

Those unkind words were leveled at those who have a blatant disregard for public health catastrophe that is holding the whole world hostage. Those unkind words were to those who support a presidency that has no decency for human rights, minority rights, or women’s rights. Those unkind words were leveled at supporting a presidency so filled with arrogance and hubris that it can eschew and belittle and discredit our nation’s most decorated scientists and public health officials to the point that it puts every one of us in mortal danger.

In NO way did I level my frustrated comment at Chaldeans.

The post on Facebook was taken down. Other people who have done much for our community have been hurt as well and called a racist for associating with me. To you, my Chaldean neighbors, I offer my apology.

Since moving to Detroit, I am proud of the fact that I live amongst the nation’s largest Chaldean communities. One of the first people a Jewish person learns about in the Torah. The Chaldeans in fact date back to the time of Noah.

One year before the beginning of the school year, I participated in an interfaith event at St. Thomas Chaldean Church to stuff backpacks with school supplies for local children.

I have written passionately and compassionately about issues affecting the Chaldean community and its work in social action, both in my work as a freelance writer and here on my blog. Personally, I have listened to stories my son told of his classmate’s father being rounded up and sent to Youngstown at the hands of an unfeeling administration that tears families apart.

On social media, I mourned and shared the story of a Detroiter who died on the streets of Baghdad because he did not have the medication he needed to live. Because in his past he stole some power tools out of a shed.

After listening to the plights of Iraqi Christians during the siege of ISIS, I displayed a bumper sticker of the Chaldean Cross on my car in solidarity.

I apologize for losing my cool on social media, as many of us do.

I apologize if I hurt or offended you.

I will try to do better and do hope that you can forgive me.

With compassion,

Stacy

About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

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