Why is Intolerance Towards Gays Still Accepted by People Who Claim to Believe in Human Rights?

Why is intolerance towards gays till accepted by people who claim to believe in human rights? Human rights is somehow the slogan of this century from activist groups, still many people who demand the human rights declaration to be followed cannot apply the human rights convention to all societal groups.

In popular news this week it was broadcasted that the singer Ricky Martin is engaged to a man. This caused an uproar of hate. Why? The man, Jwan Yosef, is supposedly of Syrian-Kurdish ethnicity. For many people, it’s unacceptable for a Middle Eastern man to get publicly and romantically committed to another man.

This is a very sensitive issue. Culture and religion – many different cultures, many different religions, are sometimes being used as excuses for homophobia.

For actively oppressing those with a certain sexual orientation.

For preventing people from being able to legally marry their partner.

For preventing people from having children.

For subjecting people to discrimination.

For subjecting people to abuse.

Here are two questions I asked myself when seeing the hate towards the mentioned engagement on social media: why is it in 2016 still ok to refer to culture or religion as a reason to not accept human rights for everyone? Women; men; straight; gays; disabled; people from different colours.

And: is it even possible for the people who don’t accept the human rights convention for everyone, to claim the given human rights in another situation?

Unlearning Hate

If you hate an entire sect, group, community, region, religion, nation etc., then you have surely fallen prey to indoctrination. 

You have been taught to hate, either by your own negative experiences, or by negative experiences/perceptions of others, or by agenda-driven propaganda. 

Yes, true. You can also indoctrinate yourself (self-indoctrination) by leaving your critical faculties unused.

But, don’t worry!

A learned behavior can be changed. Just remain humble; tell yourself repeatedly that you are teachable. 

There’s no shame in unlearning falsehood and embracing universal truths.

Quote from my Pakistani friend, journalist and activist

Your Values & Loneliness

The world is falling apart and people’s minds are going downhill with it.

Intolerance are increasing everywhere. People with intolerant views believe they are finally right.

What before was off the record is now on the record. Everything is possible. Everything is true. It’s like the Holocaust never happened. WWII never happened.

You try to stick to your values anyhow. You try to stick to what’s right. Maybe not stick up for, but stick to. That’s the least you can demand from yourself.

Does it pay off? Maybe for your soul.

Does it pay off for your every day life? No.

Does it pay off for your social life? No.

Does it pay off for your relationships? No.

At the other end of sticking to your values in a time when most people don’t, comes this: loneliness.

The Poison

You believe you are a decent person. You believe you never do harm. Then you open your mouth and intolerance comes out.

You believe you are a tolerant person. You believe you are a humanitarian. Then you open your mouth and ignorance comes out.

You’ve never been to places. Never left your hometown, never broadened your views. You don’t have friends a different shade then your own. Never rubbed against other cultures. Never rubbed against what could be good and could be bad. Still you know everything. Know about Them and the Bad Things They Do. You open your mouth and hate comes out.

It doesn’t come from you. It comes from what seeps in everywhere. The wrongs where we once were more right. It’s the Poison.

American Jewish Women in Support of Middle Eastern Refugees

After Donald Trump’s horrifying statements regarding Muslim refugees, tensions have been high in social media, and therefore I was happily surprised to see a different kind of action.

A Jewish women’s group in US decided to start a movement under the hashtag #welcomethestranger, with this aim in mind:

“…to counter the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric and corresponding legislative action recently taken by Congress (HR 4038) that would keep refugees in limbo until they are “certified” as not being a security threat. People who are fleeing for their lives. We must not let this come to pass in the Senate. please join us in this action of writing your representatives, and share additional actions you are taking. Now is the time.” 

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It will be interesting to see how far this campaign can reach. In this polarised and intolerant times, I decided to share this small, but for humanity so necessary action, with you.

Photo copyrights: Leah Katz Ahmadi

Please Don’t Give up on Your Core Values, Please Don’t Break My Heart

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The world seem so polarized now, it’s like a battle where people are confused between what’s good and what’s evil – yes, I use these terms even though I know the reality is more nuanced than that – and how I hear people speak nowadays I’m reminded of darker times, when some people are less of value. I thought people in my beautiful country of Sweden would never let me down, but maybe I was wrong.

I don’t think I’m speaking from out of a shielded, dark room somewhere. I was a humanitarian aid worker for many years. I was in Peshawar, Pakistan, when the infamous school massacre happened. I was in Syria when the Banyas massacre took place. I used to work in a women’s shelter where I met victims of sexual trafficking. I’ve once worked with elderly Jewish people in Sweden who survived the Holocaust. I’ve heard of all sorts of horrible things people do to one another when their disconnected from their feelings of empathy. Still I’m so bothered by what I hear sometimes, intolerant and insensitive things that people say. And what have come to bother me more is when people that I believed had decent values and were educated and aware (this doesn’t necessarily go together), don’t stick with them.

It’s so easy to claim you’re humanitarian, a someone who believes in equality, but some people cannot stick with this when they’re confronted with ignorant people. As if ignorant people holds some sort of power over less ignorant ones. What’s in their power? Well, here’s something I have to tell you: when people don’t stick to their core values, it breaks my heart.

I deal with this on a regular basis. The society as I experience it, my own little corner of the society, has become so much more openly aggressive towards people with a lower status in the society, the different ones, the ones who don’t belong to the majority, than what I was used to. I’m gotten so used to it that I deal with it the same way I do when a relationship ends. I lock the door, stay in all night and crack open a whine bottle to numb the feelings of betrayal and despair. I give calls to my sisters and friends who put up with listening.

It breaks my heart if I see you listen to an intolerant, slightly racist comment, and you nod as if you agree when I know you don’t.

It breaks my heart when you happily go out and party with girls who just dropped negative things about immigrants, or minorities, or both, when you qualify for both of these categories and you pretend you don’t care.

It breaks my heart when you so much want to make friends that whatever these friends will say, you keep quiet and hang out with them.

It breaks my heart when you defend your loved one who keep saying intolerant things just because he’s your loved one, even though I know you deep inside don’t agree; when love and the dependency that follows takes over sanity.

Today is such a day again. I feel betrayed by my society, that I thought was better, was truthful, would never let me go. I lock the door and switch the lights off. Reach for a glass in the cupboard, keeping the wine bottle near. It’s going to be a long night.

Photo credit: upvenue.com

May God Help Us, if He Exists

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I was going to write about something else, I have done research for a Middle Eastern topic, as some readers know I love the Middle East and am dedicated to write about sides of this region that usually are unnoticed in the Western media.

But then there was the terror attack in Turkey. This photo supposedly shows activists from the Socialist Youth Association Federation, snapping a group selfie before the bomb blast in Suruc. Turkey, the country that has sailed up from poverty and created a large middle class and that hosts a vivid civil society – now pulled back by the murder machine of we-know-who.

Before that, it was the Eid blasts all over. On a holiday that is sacred to many.

Before that, there was Tunisia, a country where I was supposed to go visit friends in a few days time, in Tunis and Sousse, only having to cancel it when Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs changed their travel recommendation.

Before that there was the Charleston massacre.

So I lost my inspiration tonight. In this very moment, this is what I feel:

I think we will remember this time as a dark turning point in history, when dark powers started to outweigh the good ones, and terrorism conquered co-existence. May God help us, if he exists.

Photo copyright: unknown