Thursday, 25 September 2008

Media Poisoning in Europe...

When I came to Europe, I thought it would be a whole new world with new perspectives, and it is. Concerning the people, I thought they would be a lot more intelligent and open-minded, and they are. However, there are certain times where I begin to doubt this open mindedness, which is purely due to their lack of knowledge about the truth or mal-knowledge, mis-communication, or poisoning by the media. [Please do not take this as a religious/racial/ethnic argument, but merely as an observation from my view]. I can give several examples to clarify what I’m trying to say:

Anne Frank Museum: at the Anne Frank museum, there was a small room with several videos on religious controversies playing, around the room, where several buttons, where the audience could enter their votes on whether they agree or not; [It's called Free2choose]. I was appalled by the reaction of the audience to some of the issues. A simple thing like "should policemen/women be allowed to wear religious attire on duty [for example a turban]", the majority said No. I for one, see no problem in allowing a Sikh policeman to wear a turban on duty, however, this audience had no idea of how important this could be to that individual. Of course certain issues definitely conflict with fundamental human rights or the safety of the society, but I see no way how a turban can affect society negatively [in terms of security]. As a matter of fact, the majority of the crowd was giving answers that went against the particular religion/religious right in question. Question after question they were simply saying if they were closed minded; The focal factor here is freedom of speech and so they have the right to express their opinion; perhaps I am closed minded for not seeing it from their perspectives, but from my perspective they had no compassion what so ever about the religious sect in focus. A friend later reassured me that the majority were probably tourist [being that it was a museum], and not Dutch [who we perceive to be fairly open minded and tolerant].

Pakistan: There have been several occasions where this came up. Usually, when one hears the country name, they associate it with a bad situation, or war, or unrest, when in reality it's a completely different situation, or something deeper than what the media spawns it to be. I may not be well qualified to discuss such a topic, but from what I’ve heard from my two Pakistani friends: it is not what the media sells it to be. Once, one of my Pakistani friends went to the city-hall on Eid, the lady there said "oh you're from Pakistan", he immediately thought she was going to wish him a happy Eid, however she said "yeh the situation is bad there, I hear". I went to city-hall on another day and the lady looked and me and asked me "Hello Jevin, you're from Pakistan huh?” trying to guess. [Now I’ve been asked several times if I’m Indian - and I am to a certain extent and due to ancestry - but I’ve never been specifically mistaken to be Pakistani] I don't know where she got this idea from. But in all, I guess everyone has been scared and scarred by the September 11th attacks, and ever since the the world has been paranoid and delusional about terrorists and inherently religion and race.

My whole point to this is that people, in general, around the world, not only in Europe, sometimes tend to get into the trap and habit of generalizing, assuming, and misjudging things and people. All I ask is to not be so gullible toward the media, look more into things, step back and look at it from a wider perspective, be compassionate toward other human beings, it's hard for us as immigrant minorities living in Europe. People always look at me differently, but it's not always bad. I always remember in Czech when I was the only dark skinned person on the train and everyone was looking at me. Later on [recently] a Lithuanian girl told me that they don't really see much dark skinned people around in Eastern Europe. There's always a rational explanation for most sane things in life.

Please again, do not see this as a negative experience on my part or my stay here in Europe, it's just and observation on some trends in society on the whole.

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