with eyes open wide
I am sharing this video and article for two reasons:
1. It’s important that we don’t forget about the reality of life in places much different from our own.
This distortion of religion or ideology happens all over the world, but in different ways or degrees. We look upon what is happening to girls and women in Afghanistan in horror, but it really is not any different from prostitution rings all over the “western” world, machismo culture in Latin America, homophobia, working 60+ hours per week, and on and on. The motive behind all of these oppressive ideologies is most often religion (or your brand of it) or stark ideologies based on how you were raised or what you were taught to believe.
Remember that YOUR ideology or views are NOT shared by everyone. We live in a very very large world and thanks to technology, we are now more connected and aware of other cultures than ever before. Before we begin passing judgement and saying harsh words about other people’s beliefs or viewpoints, we need to step back and realize that maybe our own values are not supreme.
The interesting thing about values and ideologies is that they can change. Sometimes this takes a lot of time, a personal experience or tragedy, a visit to an opposite culture, or a “whisper from God”. But it’s possible.
We should tread lightly when it comes to encountering opposite views or beliefs from our own. Just as you feel set in your ways, the other person probably does too. Just as you don’t want a lecture from someone with opposite beliefs than you, that other person feels the same way about a lecture from you.
Openly sharing honest beliefs and respecting other viewpoints is the way to peace.
Though I personally am horrified by Soheila’s story from the video, I also understand that it does no good to chastise this culture and criticize these men for their actions and beliefs. We will never live in a world with one sole belief and value system. It is realistically impossible. But what is important is to understand the cultural differences around the world and engage in open discussion with people who are willing to open their minds and share their core beliefs.
2. The Irani journalist and producer of this video, Zohreh Soleimani, is a hero.
THIS is the type of journalism that I find incredibly inspiring. A woman from a nearby country speaking out and risking her life in order to tell the story that thousands of women share in Afghanistan. This is a woman from a similar culture, the same religion, and the same language as the Afghani people. She can connect with the local population in ways that a foreigner never could and THAT is why training local journalists is so critical to the advancement of international journalism.
I’m now a big fan of Ms. Soleimani’s work and I really hope to see more of her in the future.