Good morning, we’re definitely down to the short strokes in the A to Z Blog Challenge. Today’s letter is “X”, not an easy letter to blog about. There’s no point in talking about scientific words like xylem, the woody part of stem of a plant that carries water, or xenon, a gas. There’s little reason to discuss x-ray, a medical procedure we’ve probably all had. Of course there’ s xylophone, another name for a musical instrument simplified from the glockenspiel, an instrument popular in kindergarten rhythm bands around the world. Finally X, XX, XXX, is a common way of designating sizes and movie ratings.
I’m going to climb up on my soap box this morning and opine. These are my opinions only, endorsed by no one but myself. They are not meant to offend anyone, just supply food for thought. What I’d like to talk about is Xenophobia. What is it? It’s an irrational fear of foreigners and foreign races–but not just fear. It includes a deep-seated contempt as well as hatred for foreign races. We’ve all heard Muslim extremists who swear they won’t rest until every last infidel is dead. No tolerance, no understanding allowed. Sadly, it’s what’s at the bottom of all the problems plaguing humanity. Xenophobia has morphed into an ideological war where God, Allah, Yahweh, or whatever name you chose to give the deity, has been blamed for this all encompassing hatred.
Muslims, Christians, Jews have a great many things in common. They all honor the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, also called the Books of Moses, and yet, for reasons I have never understood, hate one another. Terrible crimes have been committed in the name of religion–including the Crusades and the Inquisition, the witch trials that raged across Europe and in America. Sadly people hate others because of the color of their skin,and the beliefs they have. The Holocaust is an example of xenophobia at its worst, as was the genocide in Rwanda, the atrocities in Bosnia and Yugoslavia, Apartheid in South Africa, the Klu Klux Klan’s torture of African-Americans in America–even the circus freak shows of the 19th and 20th centuries where the “Wild Man of Borneo” and “African Pygmies” were on display in human zoos are examples of this disease. During WWII, thousands of Japanese American and Canadians were locked up in camps no better than concentration camps for the simple reason they had Japanese ancestry. Sadly we see the potential for this happening again in the recent Russian”Ukraine difficulties in the Crimea.
Today, for good or ill, racial profiling is a prominent factor in everything from traffic stops for violations and searches in airports. Deep down, many of us know it’s wrong to treat people like that, but fear is irrational. Unfortunately, fanatics have shown us they will go to any lengths to achieve their ends–innocent people are simply collateral damage. Nine-eleven was proof of that. Our world is not a safe place to be. It’s hard to argue with irrational beliefs and fears. I’m guilty of being xenophobic myself at times. I get decidedly uncomfortable when a woman in a burka approaches me in a store or on the street. I don’t understand why she would even wear such a thing, but my fear stems from the fact that i don’t know who’s under that cowl and mask–and I’m pretty damn sure it isn’t Batman. Hollywood has probably contributed to my fears, but what can I say? Will this fear ever go away? I don’t know. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to stem my fear, to try and be tolerant of others, but it can’t be one-sided. I can try to stem my fear and mistrust, but there’s nothing I can do to stem theirs. Let’s hope, someday, we can all live together in love, peace, and understanding, but we have a very long way to go before that’ll happen.
Don’t forget to check out the other entries in the A to Z Blog Challenge.