Recent events in England, and more specifically, Birmingham, lead me to make this post:
Three men, trying to secure the livelihood of their community, were run down by someone in a car. The youngest of the men was a young South Asian named Haroon Jahan. That someone so young was doing his best to protect the interests of his family and community indicates a strong character.
“Today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm, for our community to stand united,” Tariq Jahan, the young man’s father, is quoted as having said, “This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of the community — all races, all faiths and backgrounds.”
Then he told the angry youths who appeared to desire some street justice, to “grow up” and go home.
I cannot imagine the agony the man must feel at the death of his son and the other two men who were with him, yet Jahan retained the presence of mind to not only urge others to calm, but to stand up to those that would not listen.
But then, it stands to reason: he had already imparted such values and strength to his son. Why else would a young man be defending against, rather than participating in, such lawlessness as is going on in England now.
What his father said to people after is nothing short of the very definition of a strong, honorable man doing right by those that depend on him. A man rises after being knocked down. A man thinks beyond himself and his hurts to those of his family and community. It is abundantly clear to me that not only is Tariq Jahan a man, but that he had already imparted those qualities to his son. This, I believe, is the most important task of a father and the greatest measure of his legacy.
My heart goes out to his family and to him.