Tag Archives: society

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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Chivalry is Dead and WE Killed It

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PclvpXg8CBc

I just watched this Youtube video and found myself fascinated with this little boy dealing with his weepy and vulnerable female classmate.  The boy offers protection, comfort, and service (and at this age I can’t think what his hidden motives might be).

I am sure that this is not purely instinctive behavior, and that this boy has some sort of role model he is emulating- Yet, the way he deals with the little girl is the way that every scared little girl in every grown woman wants to be treated by a man!

And here is where some of the hardcore feminists are going to jump at my throat with the “Women don’t need protection and comforting etc… etc…”

Well we may not need it but we crave it on a purely primal natural level, and here let me just say this: Protection does not mean domination just so we are on the same page.

Now here is my humble assertion after years of introspection and observation: as women, on our quest to gain our equality in society, we have skewed the natural order of things, and have cheated ourselves of some of our natural vulnerabilities, and consequently we have confused men about their respective roles.

Having equal rights does not mean abandoning our natural inherent tendencies to seek out strength in the men in our lives.

Thank you little boy for being such a gentleman, I hope that you don’t lose this trait as you grow older!

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“Heritages” the Movie: an Introspection on Lebanese Reality

I don’t usually rush to my blog to write movie reviews, I am not an expert in the field of film making but I am a movie buff.

HOWEVER, after watching the movie “Heritages” by Lebanese director Philippe Aractingi, I felt moved and compelled to share this experience.

“Heritages” holds a mirror to our daily realities as Lebanese, our choices, our lack of choices, our constant love hate relationship with this small, deeply flawed, yet beautiful country.  It is a brave endeavor that does not seek to beautify a very bleak reality; it does however approach its subject matter with great love and respect, and that is commendable!!

The movie is an autobiography of a Lebanese family and has a documentary feel to it, but what is really exceptional and noteworthy is that the makers of this film bravely told their intimate histories with depth and honest reflection.  Every Lebanese watching this film will related to this family is some way, they are ‘us’.

Philippe Aractingi’s personal struggle to understand, cope with, and get over the experience of the Lebanese civil war rings very true with those of us who remember it vividly.  It is an experience that we have all tried to keep hidden somewhere in the backs of our minds so we can carry on with our normal lives; the images and scenes that this director chose to show of that era resurrected a monster that we must all learn to face…

The movie deals with all of our doubts and struggles: our diverse backgrounds and heritages, our relationships with each other and with the region around us, our exiles, our returns, and most of all our trying to understand why we are so attached to this country and why we are so reluctant to leave it.

This kind of scripting is very rare in Lebanese cinema as it contains depth and real multi-layered characters and story lines.

Go see it, it’s one of the gems of Lebanese cinema and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

https://www.facebook.com/heritagesthemovie/info

 

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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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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!!

causes

 

 

 

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Ridiculing Ourselves…Sarcasm and Change

I have noticed that the there is an ongoing trend in Lebanese thought, literature, art, and general attitude: the “caricaturization” of our vices with a sarcastic and condescending tone of voice.

It seems everyone has something to say about how ridiculous Lebanon has become, politically and socially. Everyone is a critic with a sharp eye and rapier wit… Lebanese wit is definitely thriving!

I just have to stop and say this: it has become tiresome.  I don’t want to read another book or article or social media status, and I don’t want to listen to another song cleverly describing the following subjects:  The vanity of Lebanese women, The chaos of traffic, The corrupt officials, The night life, The plastic surgery, The treatment of domestic workers, The price of gas, The electricity, The slow internet, The deforestation and other environmental disasters, The hypocrisy, The decline of musical taste, etc…..

Mockery and cynicism seem to have become the communication outlet of choice:  Oh we are so smart, we see the problems and we tell them in a way that makes the reader or listener chuckle “a la Ziad Rehbani”.  But guess what? It ain’t funny anymore; it’s gone on for too long, we have taken a good look at ourselves in the proverbial social mirror and many times we don’t like what we see, and I believe it is a little dangerous to keep mocking ourselves and finding the humor in a bad situation. This can be counter productive and makes us less prone to find solutions, or to accept these changes as inevitable in the highly dynamic Lebanese environment.

One more thing:  Perspective is a very important thing.  To those writing so drolly about the vices of our society, I urge you to reconsider your perspective and your purpose.  Do you just want to amuse people by tormenting them with their weaknesses? Do you want to share your perspective for fame and profit?  Do you want to hold up a mirror to show people their true selves in order to initiate change?

We have serious problems, and I think we’ve ridiculed ourselves long enough about them, let’s either accept them as the reality of who we are, or find serious ways of eradicating them.

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