Calling family and friends back home, I continued to stress how important it is for people to understand what I’m seeing and observing here in Morocco. I desperately want those who do not agree with me to understand and I’m realizing that it is exhausting. It is actually consuming me. To understand the commonalities that we as a global community share.
Today in my Islamic Society and Politics course, it hit me. This will never happen, and the sooner I come to terms with it, my thoughts will rest. Rumi, my favorite Sufi poet,”Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
We started with the Orientalism topic today. How the West created the East, as the “others,” through music, art, and literature in the early 19th century. By painting a picture of a separate, maybe magical, bewildered group of people that live there. I couldn’t help, but wonder if I had done the same thing when sending post cards back home of a man wearing a turban with a snake, or pictures only showing the traditional values of Morocco. Was I enabling this stereotype? This dogma that SEPARATES us from them. Our professor asked us today if there was a solution to this? Our solution could be to stop creating this separation through our differences and acknowledge our commonalities instead. For example, Human Rights. Often more times than not, human rights are sometimes claimed by the West. Although, there are many societies full of likeminded people that their core values are the EXACT same. The mentality of believing in human dignity. While many democratic societies may be implementing certain human rights, we can’t suggest that Abdullah Ahmed Na’am, PHd, a professor at Emory University, who also practices his Islamic and African values, his mentality and belief in human dignity are any different than what we have written in the United States constitution. “To say that human rights is western, is to deny the universality of human rights.” -Abdullah Ahmed Na’am
I understand that our differences are important as well because this is where conflict arises, but we aren’t always going to understand one another–Just like some of you may not agree with what I’m saying in this post.
Respect must radiate as well. We can agree to disagree, but respect one another and our own beliefs.
I don’t know if any of my readers know this, but Morocco has a supermarket(Carrefour), a guitar shop, cafes by the 9’s, and taxi’s EVERYWHERE. Much like many cities in the West. They also practice and acknowledge love, mercy, the importance of community and family, prayer, forgiveness, compassion, sacrifice, personal struggle, comfort, and peace like many of you do at home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. While modernity may be a Western ideology, we should acknowledge this dogma of love that radiates from the core values of many contributing societies. Maybe in doing so, we can create a peaceful global community.