EASLEY—If you have been keeping track with national news, there is a good chance you have caught a glimpse of some of the riots currently taking place in the Middle East.
Attacks were conducted on the United States Embassy in Cario recently, killing several Americans and causing a uproar in riots.
Dangerous news like this hits close to home for Easley resident Raye Harville, whose parents are United States Diplomats in Iraq.
“My first reaction was of concern for Muslim people living in America,” said Harville. “The average American is so sheltered from the rest of the world it’s hard for them to empathize with a culture that’s so vastly different. I still worry the radical Americans will take it out on innocent bystanders for being Muslim or looking like they come from the Middle East.”
Harville says she believes it was only “radicals” who conducted these attacks, and says they are in the minority.
“I believe the minority group of Islamic radicals is just that- a minority,” said Harville. “For them, it seemed fitting to protest on the anniversary of the WTC attacks. I don’t believe the so called ‘anti-American’ sentiment has intensified. To me, the minority has always been there with that sentiment, but this time their actions gave them a voice the world could hear.”
Harville says that while she is concerned for her parents’ safety, she is also proud.
“There are cities in Iraq getting bombed every day, while others the worst you come across are cobras, scorpions, and camel spiders. I will always be concerned for my parents’ safety. But I am extremely proud of them,” she said. “I know the majority of Middle Eastern people, Islamic and Christian alike, are everyday people. They have the same dreams and desires as Americans do- wanting to be doctors, have families, be able to afford nice things. Those are the people my parents get to work with and help, those are the people they are focusing on and trying to help get back on their feet.”
“I trust my parents to know what to do in a bad situation, and if their commitment to serving our country costs them (and me) the ultimate price, then I will know they died trying to bring understanding to both sides of the world and bridge the gap of distrust with education, trust, and acceptance,” she continued.
Harville says she is often concerned about the escalating protests so close to her parents.
“It’s the escalation that concerns me. Every embassy and consulate are protected by gates and guarded by Marine Security Guards who are trained to deal with this type of situation,” said Harville. “It’s shocking to me how the protesters were able to scale the wall in Cairo and ultimately kill Ambassador Christopher Stevens and several others.”
As for now, Harville is simply trying to convey a message of peace to her local neighbors.
“The people in Pickens County should try to understand the actions of a few do not speak for the many,” she said. “So many people are heartbroken over the deaths of the Americans- the Egyptians and Libyans flooded the streets and held up signs proclaiming their condolences.”
“Pickens County parents need to take a second to think about what they say to their children. If they keep planting the seeds of distrust in their kids, then the only thing that will grow is distain towards others who are different. Those kids will be just as arrogant and ignorant as the radicals who spread hate and fear.”