Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Acceptance & Tolerance.. A personal jihad

I figured so many things out tonight.

I went through a wide variety of emotions and discovered, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I had the knowledge all along.

For one, I am terribly disappointed in the statements made by dear friends and family members that happen to be Egyptian about the terrible acts of violence committed on American diplomats in Libya. I know I have defended the very same people, by always implying that middle easterners are peace loving, and do not want to hurt Americans.

At the same time, I came to understand something so thought provoking.. that it almost boggles the mind. How do you explain free speech to a group of people who have NEVER known what it is to live without fear of expressing a differing opinion when it comes to religion and politics? If I do not agree with your faith, I can say so. If I think your "god/goddess/whatever" or prophets are false, I can say so. You might get mad, but I don't have to worry about you storming the gates of the Vatican, taking on the Swiss Guard and overthrowing the Pope. Nor do I have to worry (so much..) about you bursting through the gates of the White House and trying to hurt our President. Instead, we voice our opinions and move the "eff" on.

Where is this coming from?? Well.. from what I understand is this - a movie that Muslims find extremely offensive was made by an American. It apparently had insults on their Prophet Muhammad. I do not know what was in this movie, since I have not seen the movie, nor have I located the trailer, which I heard was on Youtube. That's right - Youtube. People got wind of it and BOOM.. Egyptians are scaling the walls of the American Embassy, ripping down the American Flag and raising a flag of Islam. To poor fuel on the fire, on 9/11.. protesters stormed the American Consulate in Libya and killed an Ambassador and a few other people.

Because of a movie.

Yes, we can trivialize it all day, because those of us growing up in America are used to ridiculous rhetoric about this group and that group. I can't tell you how many times a day I come across someone bashing women or bashing Catholicism or whatever. Do I run immediately to the nearest Consulate and light their flag on fire? No, but I do have a right to protest. Peacefully. I also have a right to type my feelings on the entire issue, without fear of anything bad happening. I can even say whatever I want, specifically to someone about how I feel about an issue. These are the rights that are afforded to me.

Unfortunately, others do not understand where their rights end and our begin. The line is not as clear and it is all so very new to them. I was told by a former exchange student of mine, who happens to be Kurdish, that she believes that no one has the freedom to insult someones religion.

Actually, you do.

You can say whatever comes to mind. That does not make it right.

You have a right to your opinion. Though that does not make your opinion the opinion of others, nor does it constitute a fact.

I could go on and on about the issue, but it will never make sense to some. I am an American. I have so many freedoms that are entirely too difficult to translate for someone who has never experienced them. The real price of freedom? Accepting someone else's right to form an opinion that differs from your own, and NOT physically flipping out on that person.

The crazy part is, I am less upset over the protesting (which I think is a healthy way to let your voice and opinion be heard,) and more so upset over people thinking it is okay to hurt others because they said something that upset you.

I came home tonight and saw my egyptian. He is Muslim and a very devoted Muslim. Unfortunately, our few years living together has been extremely rocky (culturally speaking)and yes, I began seeing a side I did not like and attributing that to his religion (because he always tells me he makes decisions according to his religion.) Always going on and on about his religion.. and usually it is incredibly oppressive and completely opp osite of my thought process.

With that being said.. you can imagine today.. what the reactions of people I knew over "there" and the way I have experienced it in my own home.. how much that affected me.

I had to take a few minutes and just soak. Literally.. I took a super hot bath and tried to shake off the disappointment and the rose colored glasses. It's like I am living in my own little personal jihad and it made me stop and think.. Why do I find myself here? Wouldn't it be so much easier to only associate with like-minded people? Who look like me, who talk like me, who think like me? How much easier would my life be?

Then suddenly, a thought came to my mind - "Bloom where you are planted."

Over and over.. I thought of this quote.. "Bloom where you are planted."

For whatever reason.. I find myself here. Disappointed and heading toward bitterness.

Then I realized - it's okay to be disappointed. It is not okay to be bitter.

Then I came here and purged.


Tesha Vann said...

So much going on in your head/world.
Bloom where you are planted is a great quote and hopefully you'll be able to do just that. We'll you've done it professionally, now it's the personal.

AnnaKaye said...

I love your quote/picture at the top!


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