This is Not a Political Statement, It Is an Idea

Yesterday I went and visited my friend, an Iraqi refugee, whose family is currently in Iraq. They are Christian and, thankfully, hours away from the atrocities happening there for now. This coupled with all the saturated coverage of all the fighting in the Middle East and North Africa is overwhelming as I sit on my patio, watching the summer monsoon rains fall heavy on scorched earth. Rains, falling on scorched earth. That’s what we need. Being born in the deserts of Arizona means that rain is a symbol of life, forgiveness, love, a gift from the Earth, and a reminder that when the days are long and difficult there is such a thing as peace. Peace. We all know this is what the world needs but how does one achieve it? It should be obvious that fighting and more killing in the name of justice or an agenda isn’t the answer. Bloodshed answered with bloodshed only leads to extermination of the human soul, continues the cycle of hatred, and breeds animosity. It is impossible to simply change the feelings of people through force and to force people to behave any way leads to resentment, not change in the hearts of people.

I don’t know how to convince everyone that peace is the only answer. However, I do know how to convince myself and that’s the only place I can start and hope that it grows. What I can do is every day choose peace. When a person does me wrong or says something I disagree with I can choose not to deteriorate them with cruelty or mindless arguing, but rather lead by example and choose to love them and bear them no ill will. It does not mean I have to like them or agree with them because every human is different. We are products of the places we are raised. I see rain as peace while others may see it as a destructive force that floods the earth and washes away their food sources. We are the products of how and where we were raised, but that does not mean it must define us.

Can you imagine the impact if just a third of the world decided to stop taking up literal and metaphorical arms against their fellow man? I know what you’re thinking (or at least what I’m thinking), the hateful and angry parties would simply seize power and decimate the earth, or at least, spread chaos. But would they? Choosing peace doesn’t mean you simply sit in your home and meditate or pray. Can you imagine the impact of seeing that many people choosing to love? Perhaps I am naïve, but I want to believe in the human race and believe that such a force field of peace would turn at least a few hearts and that’s how it would begin. I imagine warring parties would be mighty confused. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if only for a day, people would stop and realize that these people choosing peace aren’t fighting you, so why must you fight them? Why must you oppress them? Why can’t we live side by side and accept the differences between one another and see that all humans are created equal and we all believe in some very basic, core truths regarding the rights of humans? What if we all just choose to love, take a step back and strive to understand our brothers and sisters? What if today you choose peace?

What if we spread peace across this scorched Earth?

 

Edit: Please bear in mind, this is, again, not a statement of what should be done in Gaza. The events in various countries in the Middle East merely led me to this string of thoughts. It is an idea of what the world should do, not just in warring countries.

American Politics Abroad

It’s no mystery that the youth of Europe are far more politically involved and aware of world politics than Americans, in general. I have a few friends spread across Europe who are always ready to discuss American politics and foreign policy whenever we’re together so it didn’t come as a surprise when my European hostel-friends brought up American politics with, “What the hell are the people in your country doing?!”

I have had many friends ask me similar questions and it’s always coupled with an odd feeling and regard that I couldn’t nail down until my trip to Edinburgh. I feel like Europeans truly want the best for America. It seems like they want America to be this progressive country they seem to remember us as, a shining beacon, an ideal. They see all our ideals and everything we stand for yet we don’t actually do anything about it. It’s like we are the smart, younger brother who keeps getting into trouble. It’s like, “America, we love you but you gotta cut this shit out!” Or we are the helpless younger brother who keeps getting teased for their own good, but instead of sticking up for ourselves and manning up, we just crumble and play the victim, making excuses.

That’s all. This is just how I percieve their attitudes towards us. Maybe I’m wrong and misinterpreting it all, but it makes me think that maybe it’s about time we get back to being a country that Europe looks up to or at least views as an equal.