A Simple Manifesto: They Too Are People (Photo Essay by Hannah Stonebraker)

Guest writer and photographer: Hannah Stonebraker 

One must recognize they too are people.

Photography by Hannah Stonebreaker

(This may seem simple. This may seem obvious. I wish, these days, all days, it was.)

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They too are people. (Not animals. Not enemies, Not primitives. People.) Whomever you consider your other, whomever you consider to be your intellectual, ideological, religious, territorial enemy – they too are people.

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They too have mothers and sons and daughters and wives and friends.

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They too love and hate and give and take.

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They too believe what they believe for reasons both known and unknown both to themselves and to others.

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They too believe things with which I both agree and disagree – intellectually, emotionally, painfully, ideologically.

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But hard as it may be – I shall try to listen.

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Listen to these reasons, listen to their beliefs, listen to their pain and ideology and fear.

An overwhelming amount of fear.

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For what are we all if not simple humans thrown into the abyss of life’s complexity … experiencing a great amount of fear?

So I shall remember that they too are people.

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And I shall remember to respect and approach and love them as such. I shall pray pray pray everyone can do the same. Can treat each other as people. Can love and give and care as people, even when it is the most difficult. Can remember that pain, suffering, fear, and hopelessness is universal and cyclical.  Can remember that we have power. Power to treat each other better. To treat each other as people. To remember that perspective is flexible. Remember that you can lead with love. And not fear.

And remember, always remember, that they too are people.

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Hannah is a photographer, blogger, web designer, activist and twizzler addict, originally from Chicago, IL. You can find her photography at http://stonebrakerphotography.com and writings at http://theisraelearned.squarespace.com. She can be contacted at hannahstonebraker@gmail.com