Sunday, March 04, 2007

Peace Train

The song Peace Train by Cat Stevens (Now known as Yusuf Islam) has long been a favorite of mine. There is a wonderful little slide show of pictures of Terhan, Iran set to this tune which really touched my spirit.

Many thanks to Leo Sadorf for sharing this.The images are by Saleh Ara who maintains a photo blog of scenes from Iran.

I think it is tremendously valuable for westerners to get a different glimpse of the Muslim world than what we ordinarily have portrayed in our media.

These are our brothers and sisters.

When I was in Egypt this past November I had a wonderful conversation with my guide, Ossama Sharaf, about how media gives distorted images of other people and places. It works both ways. We are led to believe that the Islamic world is primarily populated by fanatic terrorists. In Egypt, many people there get their impressions of what Americans are like from the television shows like The Bold and the Beautiful and The Jerry Springer Show.

From the page on Jerry Springer Show it says: "The Jerry Springer Show is probably most known for its foul mouths, excessive fighting, excessive nudity and wacky stories. Nearly every episode, if not all, have at least one bleeped over foul word. Then there's the sound effects. A clanging bell indicates it's time for a fight! Whenever a fat woman shows her boobs, the sound of a cow going "MOO!" is heard. "

Is it any wonder we are perceived as immoral, self indulgent, violent, greedy monsters by some?

That picture is no more accurate of Americans as a whole than the images of women-hating extremists are that we are indoctorinated with.

There are cases of cruelty and shame that are tragically real in BOTH places - here and in the land of Islam. There are also wonderful, caring people who love their families and worship their God in both lands.

I pray for the day that we may know peace with our brothers and sisters, both here and abroad.


Domestic Goddess said...

Love Peace Train!

Marie said...

I had a similar experience in the Middle East -- utterly won over by the charm, exuberance, and warmth of the Arabs and Muslims I encountered. Came home and studied Arabic for three years and I feel like the universe expects me to be a voice of sanity in my pro-war, "terrorist"-phobic community. I don't know a lot, but I feel obligated to share the experiences I've had with those who see the Middle East as alien and dangerous -- and even more helpful than addressing Americans' misconceptions of Muslims/Arabs is helping Americans see how the majority of Muslims/Arabs view us, and why. When we don't know our own history on the world stage, it's hard to answer the question "why do they hate us so much?" Becuase make no mistake about it -- many of those moderate Muslims who disapprove of the violent methods employed by extremists at the same time sympathize with the anger, desperation, and feeling of emasculation brought on by their nations' encounters with the oil-hungry and secular West. If we continue to see their anger as something unreasonable that must be crushed to make way for our particular brand of democracy, we will never solve any of our problems -- that anger will always create a new extremist mastermind to replace the one we just killed.

I want to see peace and understanding, too, but I don't think it will happen as long as the US is playing Big Brother in that region of the world. The Arabs are very openminded historically and typically tolerant of other faiths in their midst, but also are fiercely independent and understandably wary of the godless materialism that seems to be part and parcel of The American Way. If they are to come into the "modern world" peacefully, it will have to be on their own terms and not on the terms of Big Oil and the governments who shelter it.

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