I am a lover of peace for all peoples. Everyone should be able to live in freedom and safety, and accept the rights of others to do so, too. I grew up in a large, multicultural city, went to school with people of every ethnic background, and believe I benefitted from this human diversity, as a person. I have also lived in many diverse, cultural cities throughout the world, including New York City, San Francisco, London, and Barcelona.
Why I want peace:
It is important to see things in the full context, and find the most effective and lasting ways to end bigotry and war. There is more that ties us together than sets us apart.
The sovereign oil producing money machines and the government-run and profit-seeking media of the Middle East continue their subtle and overt activities to spread hatred and bigotry against the minorities in the region. It does not produce peace when a child in Abu Dhabi or Jericho or Damascus sees a constant stream of both adult and children's tv show, reads rabid political commentary and one-sided programming (how appropriate to call it: "programming") that fosters fear, hatred and superior sentiments against minorities like Israelis, Jews, Copts, Lebanese Christians, Kurds, and others.
The citizens of Arab League nations -- as well as their brothers and sisters who more recently live in the "West" -- need to embrace empathy for those minority Middle-Eastern peoples, and need to realize that the path to peace lies not in a continual unconscious desire to subjugate or a constant undercurrent of excuses and blaming others, but to embrace DIVERSITY in the region, including ethnic tolerance, and end the scapegoating of Israel, the honor-killing of women, and the denial of homosexuals their existence (Iran must have homosexuals somewhere regardless of what its leader claims).
Two brief examples: Egypt uses the swine flu as a flimsy excuse to slaughter thousands of pigs to further oppress its Coptic minority there, and the Copts feel the prejudice against them even in the U.S., where a hate crime murder was recently perpetrated against Copts in New Jersey; And "the occupation" -- what was the excuse to hatred of Israel before 1967, when Jordan and Egypt "occupied" the West Bank and Gaza and still the Armies called for an end to the Jewish State (despite nearly a million indigenous Middle Eastern Jews were expelled from their houses and lost all of their history in Arab-ruled lands)? ...It's just prejudice and ethnic intolerance, plain and simple.
So many of us long for peace and harmony.
On the very day when public prejudice & rampant incitement is mostly stamped out of the Middle Eastern world -- through a true inner transformation across the populace, much like how the prejudice against African Americas in the United States has decreased so significantly since the 1960's (but will never completely vanish) -- and when anti-Israel, anti-Christian, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-secular, and anti-gay prejudice is largely considered unacceptable... THEN there will be really be a beautiful peace.
Deeply, both my girfriend and I hope others will work for REAL PEACE by speaking out against terror attacks by militants, against hate-speech and incitement on tv & radio shows (e.g., Al Jazeera), fiery speeches by imams and muftis, and the banning of atheletes from sporting events.
Change and peace do not start by chanting, writing or wishful thinking about it.
Peace and change start by being honest and brave, by confronting a massive multi-national & multi-society resistance to tolerant attitudes.
People everywhere must INSIST on changes to school curricula and texbooks that children learn from in class, in places like Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, etc. Longheld undercurrents of female subjugation, anti-semitism, and tribal tensions must be actively countered and re-education must happen.
Peace activists everywhere should discourage the over-intellectualization and myopic academic distortions regarding history of the region. It it self-serving and benefits only themselves to focus on relative minutiae or tangents, just to win grants, get published or videotaped, and win advanced degrees and professorships.
Interests and activities:
PROMOTERS OF PEACE -- Just a few favorite writers & public speakers for peace, non-appeasement, and tolerance are:
- Wafa Sultan (Syrian-American female; psychiatrist, speaker)
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Somali female, former Member of Dutch Parliament)
- Irshad Manji (Pakistani-Canadian female, openly gay; writer)
- Ali Salem (Egyptian male; acclaimed playwright and satirist)
- Amir Taheri (Iranian male writer and academic; Europe- & US-based)
- Brigitte Gabriel (Lebanese-American female; journalist)
- Nonie Darwish (Egyptian-American female; human rights activist)
- Magdi Allam (Egyptian male writer/journalist; Italian-based)
WEBSITES -- Just a few favorites giving a fuller perspective are:
- www.MEMRI.org - translates key media sources in the Middle East (tv, video, newspapers, etc.)
There is much to be said about the dictatorships and their hate-mongering. But, this should in no way silence the facts of Palestinian suffering.
Both Palestinians and Israelis are traumatised collectives, yet it is upto intelligent and courageous to make a change.
I hope we can be counted among them.