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.