Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Perspectives and Perceptions

I just had a very unique opportunity to step outside my shell and see life from a different perspective and through someone else’s perceptions.

I got to have lunch with a Palestinian.

My wife’s cousin married one, named Issa, and he’s here in America, in Utah, now. And I decided to treat him to lunch. He’d been here to visit a year or so ago, so I’d already met him, but it was nice to spend some one on one time just visiting with him.

Often we look at the situation in the Middle East, and we base our ideas of what’s going on through the eyes of the US media. Some say that it’s slanted right; others say it’s slanted left. I say it’s simply slanted toward the money.

But in any case, it doesn’t always give us the big picture. The Palestinians and the Israelis have been fighting and arguing over the land there since before World War II. It was during that war that Germany occupied the land, and was subsequently captured by England. And it was England that made it a state for the displaced Jews, and named it Israel. And the moment it happened, it was plunged into war, and has been pretty much ever since.

But before we go about casting aspersions and judgments on this people or that people, consider how you would feel if you had to get paper permissions if you wanted to drive through the checkpoints between Salt Lake City and Provo. Imagine you had to play for services like water and electricity, and were forced to pay taxes, but weren’t allowed to vote. And imagine if you were to look at another half of the population of the same land, and they didn’t have those restrictions. And imagine that you couldn’t leave your home at night because there was a curfew in force, allowing the military to legally shoot you on sight.

Imagine all that happening here in America. Do you think that Americans would settle for that? Or do you think that we’d be raising up our fists in defense of freedom, liberty, and legal rights?

Now, before anyone gets upset at me because I’m not “taking their side” or telling me that I’m “un-American”, let me say that I don’t approve of suicide bombings or terrorism. I don’t think that those methods will get anyone where they want to be either.

I’m just saying that before we pass judgment on a people, let’s shift our perspectives and change our perceptions a little.

Mark Hansen

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