Sunday, August 2, 2009

Don't Tell Me About Being Different

Alone, but not lonelyImage by wanderinghome via Flickr

Sometimes you just don't want to hear bad news. You are happy and you want everybody to feel the same. I was so pleased with the way the things went on, my sister was finally here, we've put behind us what happend upon her arrival, so when I opened the newspaper this morning and I read "Two killed in shooting at gay-lesbian event in Tel Aviv" , I was like "What?" And all the happiness just went "pouf" and dissapeared...
This kind of events remind me of different places and different times.
I know how it is to be and to feel different. When I came to live here I wasn't prepared for what awaited me, all the questions, all the glances and the explanations and the suspicion, especially not the suspicion. I came here with an open heart and mind, full of love for this Land and its people, and in the end I was regarded like an allien, almost a freak, an impossibility. I always had to explain myself, the colour of my ID card, the reasons...
I am a very tolerant person. This way I was taught at home, this way I was educated. It is my core, to be tolerant and to love people. I always tried to find excuses to certain behaviour, certain people. But not anymore. Ignorance, intolerance and hate are not on my list.
I remember one incident that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth...I was studying at the time at a college for my teaching certificate. One of the courses I took was "Judaism and Islam", taught by two nice guys, an Arab and a Jew. It was very informative and I learned a lot of interesting things about the two religions and about the similarities and differences between them. The second half of the year they run out of teaching material and decided to try an experiment. We, the students awere going to tell about the importance of religion in our lives, about personal experiences. As far as I knew I was the only Christian in the group and I wasn't prepared to talk about my beliefs. Not in front of a bunch of biased kids, anyway. I remember the way one girl talked about her trip to Thailand and the way she said, nasally and affected: "I don't understand how people believe in more Gods and why they build temples for them, and especially why do they pray to them..."
So, I approached the Jewish teacher and told him about my fears, about the fact that I am a Christian and not prepared to talk openly about it. Of course I immediately regretted it, after I saw the glee in his eyes and heard his words:"But why, you must talk about it, it would be very interesting..." I bet it would... I insisted I didn't want to, but he was unmovable...To cut a long story short, in the end of course I didn't talk about my faith or religion, I told them that I believe faith and God are personal issues, and instead I told them about my love for the Land of Israel and I read them my poem "perfumes, colours" You can read it in one of my previous posts, and showed them my book about Israel... I remember that after the lesson one girl approached me and told me how impressed she was and that I am her role model now...
So, as you can see, sometimes the important thing is not the problem itself, but the way you approach it or the way you solve it...
Of course I've met people and people during this journey of mine, especially since I've been here, in Israel. And I must say some of the people I've met are simply brilliant and I love them dearly. But it is only myself and my choice, if I want to be bothered by some people or their attitude.And if I am, it means they won...
The Israeli society is sinply divided in two: the ones that cling to the old ways and the ones that are open to new, to being modern, to be commited to growing up. I don't know yet wich one will win in the end, but I am with the "open" ones, the ones that are not reluctant to embrace the differences between us human beings, the ones that doesn't see only eneies, but also friends...

If you want to read an article about the Tel Aviv shooting, this site has very good articles and updates in English:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3755985,00.html


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4 comments:

Zorin Diaconescu said...

every society is divided - so is human nature... take things as they are, and the perspective changes...

Hevel said...

I once said here that I stopped reading or watching the news and used index.hu to filter the news of the world for me.

This was what happened. We had a quiet evening in Ramat Gan and only went online to check the swimming results on index.hu where the news about the TA shooting were prominently displayed.

I was shocked and disgusted, literally sick to my stomach.

I will sound very intolerant now, but I have to say: I'm afraid Israel is heading to the direction of what happened two days ago being the standard. The Haredi--many of whom never serve in the military and frown upon displaying the flag of Israel as too secular--yet display it on their yeshivot, so they get stat funding--will soon outnumber those who are more modern. When Kevin and I mentioned that we want another kid to a friend, her reaction was, "Why, you already have a lot of children!" Well, we have 3. My Haredi brother has 8 and I'm not sure they are done yet as she is only 36 now. They teach their children Torah based intolerance, or so they say it's Torah based. (What has happened to the "Thou shall not kill" part?) With 19000 olim and 17000 people leaving the country per year (I think that's data from two or three years ago) this country will soon be run by chaftan and black Armani and fur hat wearing folks almost exclusively.

/rant

I hope that I'm just being a pessimist at the moment. But I'm not sure my grandkids will be in a good place here. :-(

Alone in Holy Land said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alone in Holy Land said...

Zorin, aloof as aver...
Hevel, I am afraid I have to agree with you. And when I say I am afraid, I am really afraid!