Category Archives: Political

Tolerance is not Necessarily Respect

In a discussion with a friend on the subject of tolerance in a pluralistic society, the issue of respecting the “other’s” beliefs and convictions came up.
My friend said: “I can tolerate them but I can’t respect them” and that was a statement that got me thinking!

Let me backtrack a bit here: In my corner of the world, conflict is rampant. What is now called the Middle East is the source, and bottomless well, of diversity, war, and polarization.

Back to the tolerance issue, and I’ve written about this before on this blog, because lately, I am having trouble being tolerant and I’m not liking myself too much because of it.

So my friend’s statement gave me a bit of relief, since it differentiated between tolerance and respect.

You know the adage: I respect your opinion but I don’t agree with it? That’s a load of bull! I only respect your right to have your own opinion, but not the opinion itself. Additionally I only respect your right to have your own opinion as long as you voice it and manifest it logically.

I am allowed not to agree with, and not to respect your opinion, but for the sake of coexisting on this piece of the planet, I will tolerate it (only as long as your opinion does not become hostile action towards me, but that is another story).

Mind you, this is an internal issue; I am only allowing myself to disrespect and loathe the others’ opinions and practices while tolerating them internally, in my head. I am in no way condoning disrespectful speech or hostile action against others as is so rampant these days.

You see, it gives you inner peace to allow yourself to not only disagree, but also disrespect things that do not match your system of thinking, however, as soon as you begin to voice that disrespect, then it becomes intolerance and slander.

Personally and very frankly, I am more concerned with my inner peace at this stage than I am with changing the opinions of others, and in order to maintain that peace I do need to be tolerant, but will allow myself not to respect and to strongly dislike (I don’t like the word hate) the nonsense I see all around me.


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ماذا عن الآخَر؟

for the English version go to this link:

!التطايق – كلمة من اجتهادي لاني لم أجد تعريبا مناسبا للكلمة =Tolerance

إن كنت تعتقد نفسك شخصَا قادرًا على التطايق, فهل هذا يعني أنك قادر على التطايق مع من لا يؤمن بهذه الفكرة, أو مع من لا يتقبّلها على الإطلاق؟

اكتشفت مؤخرّاً أن حدود تطايقي قد تمّ قياسها و إختبارها. لقد لاحظت أنني أعيش في مناخ يهيم عليه طابع التخلّف والتعتيم العقلي الذي يبعث الكراهية في نفوس الناس ممّا يدفعم إلى الإبتعاد عن فكرة التسامح مع الآخرين.

يبدو أن الناس أصبحوا أكثر انغلاقا على أنفسهم وأكثر تمسكّا بما يعتقدون أنه المثال الأسمى: “إن لم توافقنا فأنت عدوّنا”

باتت جميع وجوه عدم التسامح والتطايق تهطل بغزارة: الدينيّة والسياسية والإجتماعية والعرقية وحتى الإثنية , بالتزامن مع نوع من التعصب الفاحش الذي يشكل مظهرًا للعدوانيّة واللامنطق في آنٍ معًا.

لا أريد أن أغوص في متاهات تفسير هذا التفكير البدائي للناس, لأن هذا الموضوع يحتاج إلى تعمّق في الدراسة وإبداء الرأي. ما يهمني هو السعي لإيجاد طريقة تمكنني من التطايق مع هذا النوع من التفكير وتحملّه حتّى لا أنجرّ إلى ذلك المستوى من الكراهية.

فالتطايق يعني أن نكون متساهلين مع أولئك الذين يتمتّعون بتصرّفات وأعراق وأديان وجنسيّات وآراء مختلفة تمامًا عن ما نعتقده نحن ونؤمن به, أي بتعبير آخر هو “التحرر من التعصبية”. يعني التطايق أن نكون مهتمّين ومنفتحين لآراء وأفكار ومعتقدات الآخرين المختلفة عنّا, أي بتعبير آخر هو ” وجهة نظر ليبرالية وغير دوغماتيّة”.

فهل أعتبر دوغماتيًّأ إن كنت أؤمن بالتطايق؟

أيمكننا بالفعل أن نكون حياديّين وبالتالي عادلين؟

وعندما تجتاح موجة عدم التطايق شواطىء وجودنا, هل بإمكاننا التسامح عندها؟

لما يدور في خاطري أسئلة كثيرة أبحث لها عن أجوبة, هذه الأسئلة ليست إفتراضية بل هي أساسية بحت. أنا على يقين أن الأجوبة موجودة وأبسط مما أعتقد, ولكن هذا الجوّ من الكراهية والعصبية والعدوانية المستمرّة والتفكك الإجتماعي الذي يؤدّي إلى التخلّف الفكري يمتلك القوة الكافية لإضعاف القوة والإرادة في داخلنا.


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Hashtag #wars vs. Real Wars!

On the very few occasions when I actually watch news on Television a story caught my attention about the hashtag war between Israel and GAZA, and I thought: (sorry profanity coming up) What the Fuck?

And it seems this is also a trending issue online!!

I will not mention the warring hashtags here, sorry that is utter nonsense.

In this virtual parallel universe, what is the meaning of these victories?

They create a morale boost for one side over another (and it is a false boost at that.)
They may give those who are feeling helpless about the situation a sort of empowerment (and it is false empowerment at that.)
They give the old idle ideologues something to ponder (and it is a false something at that)

Most of all, these hashtag wars are a distraction and a way to pacify ourselves against the horrors of death, destruction, and helplessness.

And as Forrest Gump said: “that’s all I have to say about that”.

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Conflict Terminology- The not so innocent way media chose their words!

This is a repost of a previous entry, and a precursor to my upcoming series: Conflict Terminology for Dummies.

Just a word to the wise, even the most objective media can slant your opinion: not by overt propaganda (as most Middle East media do) but with simple language nuances.

Language: a system of symbols that help us to communicate facts, thoughts, and feelings.  Sounds innocent enough, well it isn’t, and the media and advertising industries have known this for a long time, and so have some of the world’s best writers.  Since these are the “communication” times, where information is disseminated at dizzying speed and in overwhelming quantity, it’s important for those who want to be well informed to be able to do a quick analysis and an instant filtering in order to discern the real facts and arrive at some sane opinion.

Below you will find different terms used in media today to describe one situation, occurrence, or phenomenon,  using different terminology (in both English and Arabic), as well as some suggestions as to what they may really mean to imply. This is just the very short list, as this is a 101 level, feel free to add your favorite “synonyms”.


Fundamentalist-Extremist-Ultra Orthodox    أصولي-متطرف-ارثودوكسي متطرف

All very close in meaning, I mean a fundamentalist is an extremist ultra orthodox believer.  But note how Ultra Orthodox is a little less threatening than fundamentalist, and how fundamentalist is a little less threatening than extremist.


Dead-casualties-martyrs   قتلى-ضحايا-شهداء

The dead simply ceased to be living, casualties were victims, and martyrs are heroes, that’s how we quickly interpret these words in our minds.


Killed-Murdered-Slaughtered  قتل-ذبح

Killed implies some violence, murdered implies violence and criminal intent, while slaughtered implies barbaric violence.


Hundreds-Thousands-Tens of Thousands… مئات-آلاف-عشرات الآلاف-مسيرة مليونية

Ah, the numbers game! When do hundreds become thousands? Is 999 about a thousand? Or is around 800,000 a million?


Demonstrations-Riots-Civil disobedience  مظاهرات-أعمال شغب-عصيان مدني

Civil disobedience is perceived to be the tamest and most peaceful, demonstrations are a bit scarier, but riots are really scary.


Rebels-Insurgents-Freedom fighters   متمردين-مقاتلين-ثوار-مجاهدين

Freedom fighters are noble, rebels are romantic, insurgents we don’t really know what to feel about.

Leader-Strong Man-Head of   قائد-زعيم-رئيس

A leader is a father figure that has supporters, a strong man is more like a gang leader who rules by force, and a head of is kind of neutral.


Militia-Gang-Guerrillas   ميليشيا-عصابة

All of these terms carry negative raps, Guerillas however sometimes has more of the freedom fighter connotation than a gang or a militia.  And militia implies a more organized gang with a purpose.


Stormed-Attacked-Stomped   شن هجوما-اقتحم

To storm something is almost neutral in its outcome, although it means a swift and strong action.  To attack is a bit more aggressive in nature, and to stomp implies greater angry aggression.


Invaded-Occupied-Marched into   غزو-احتلال

The nuances of language here are at their best, to invade has a sort of temporary feel to it, while to occupy implies long-term.  March into is the most neutral.


Supporters-proponents-followers   مؤيدين-أنصار-أتباع

Supporters and proponents seem to be well aware of what and who they are supporting, while followers implies a type of blind and ignorant faith.


Never underestimate the power of a single word, every word carries within its folds many emotional and intellectual triggers that (unfortunately) can move the “masses”.

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Fundamentalist Extremists Don’t Bother Me!

At least fundamentalist extremists are clear about their dogma and about who they hate and what they worship.
What bothers me are those people who act moderate in their ideological or religious views, and then turn into radical monsters at the drop of a button, spewing all kinds of toxic talk. Those people not only bother me, but they scare me!! I know to stay away from the extremists, they are honest and visible and obvious, and they let you know they are coming to get you if you disagree with them, but the extremists at heart with moderate cloaks, well they will get you when you’re not looking!
I respect those who are honest enough with themselves to publicly announce their real convictions whatever they might be, yes, I respect the fundamentalist extremists, and I despise those who shift ideology or belief to fit the trend the day, and those who hide their true extremist colors also to fit the trend of the day.

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Worth a read, and if you’re not into reading, worth a watch…

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Activism is so IN!!

Yea it is, everyone is an activist for something these days, and those who really don’t have any of their own convictions can choose to conveniently latch on to any fashionable and trendy cause featured online …..

Start a page or a group or even a blog, start a petition, post a comment, hit like, start a discussion, upload a photo with a quote, etc… and hey you’re Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. all of a sudden?

I know a couple of people activating for so many causes at the same time, that it’s getting confusing (if it’s confusing me, I can’t even imagine what it’s doing to the serial activist)….

It’s easy to vent through social media about revolution, rights, responsible citizenship, unethical treatment of animals, environmental crimes, etc… and I suppose it makes you feel like you actually did something for the greater good.

I argue that we have come to a time of such interconnectedness and open communication that it has masked our sense of isolation with meaningless interaction.

Come cure your sense of isolation and helplessness by liking a page, by adopting a virtual cause, by becoming part of this electronic community of faces and masks.

Real activism is about commitment, about sacrifice, about risking life and limb for what you believe in, it’s not about hiding behind a screen and spewing often unsupported arguments.

Wake up virtual activists, they’ve found you a way to vent your frustrations, that is well away from the arena where  important decisions are made!!





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