Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Divided We Fall

As we entered the parking lot of Le Notre he said, "Do you know why I chose this restaurant?... I mean, the ambiance is nice, but the real reason I brought you here is because there are no Bedouins.  I hate Bedouins."

Now, what is it about my face that tells people that I'm likely to be a racist?  Do people ASSume that because I am foreign that I don't hold my own sense of decency; that my parents haven't ingrained a sense of respect towards others?  Do they think I am going to nod in agreement, as if Bedouins, Shiites, Bedoun, dark skin, light skin, of-this-descent-or-that is less of a person than I am (or that the person I am with is)?

Recently on a short/chance meeting, a boy of about 15 years of age, told me that he wanted to "change my mind" about (X segment of Kuwaiti society) and "teach me about them."  I was shocked and immediately thought, 'What horrible parents he must have to ruin a child that way.'

"They' are ruining the country."  Really?  Did it ever occur to the haters that it could be that collectively, the divisions are ruining the country?  What has happened to the Kuwaiti traditions of tolerance and hospitality?  Of greeting fellow Kuwaitis with respect?

Until very recently, I hadn't had these types of conversations, but all of a sudden, it is happening all the time.  The hate/blame game has reared it's ugly head.   I have had this conversation so many times with so many people in such a small country.   Have they never heard, "United we stand; divided we fall?"   Is "Arab unity" only a term that is brought out when there is a war or skirmish?

I always know, as soon as I hear these derrogatory remarks, that my relationship with that person will never amount to anything.  In fact, I want to bolt - as fast as I can, and as far as I can.  Negative energy eats at the soul.

It is NOT okay to say something like that to me - or to a foreigner - who you think will immediately take (perceived) sides.  I don't.  I have friends from all walks of life and love them all equally.  Generally, when I look at someone, I am reading their eyes ("the gateway to the soul").  All else is peripheral on first meeting. The people I get along with the most are the most tolerant people; the ones who determine the quality of a person based on individuality. Because, dear friends, judge not lest ye be judged:  If someone hates another, more than likely at some point that hatred will be turned on you. ("He" probably thinks I am from The-Land-Where-Porn-Was-Invented.  y'anee - mithilin.)

So please, don't tell me that you hate because I will only view you as less of a person. I judge people by the qualities they posess and their humility;  not by their ability to negate others.


Anonymous said...

It's hard for people to see clearly when they're blinded by prejudice and emotions fueled by hatred towards others.

This prejudice has been within our society like a cyst that is only recently developed an ugly head and ready to burst.

Anonymous said...

Most Sunni Kuwaitis come from a bedouin heritage. There are two kinds of Bedouins, the settled bedouins, and the more recently settled bedouins. Including Al Sabah family who rule Kuwait. Aside from the different tribes and lineages. And the by more recently i mean like 50 years ago. We're all related in one way or the other. But probably your friend was Shi'ee, because they have a further distance to relation.

The prejudice is two ways to be honest, just like he's prejudiced you'll find prejudiced bedouins.. This hatred and prejudice is one of pride. There's prejudice like anywhere.

It's unfortunate, as this isn't Islamic for there to be prejudice and hatred between the sects.

It's ill begotten. It is individualistic like you've said. And the recently settled bedouins as a tribe have alot of good qualities. And it should largely be taken the other way round. The bedouins actually have alot of admirable traditions and qualities as a people, and as should be taken as such. They are very generous and have a high morality. As do the settler bedouins. - Groups within the group, meaning groups of individuals, that's different, and that applys to all people.

And who's to say bedouins don't go to le notre.. since it's opening??
And the most embaressing thing your friend said wasn't there are no bedouins there.. But that he was insinuating that le notre was some high class establishment? lol That's really what i find to be the pathetic part..