Waiting, Wishing, Hoping

Two quotes come to mind when I think of this topic: “A dream is a wish the heart makes,” and “Don’t wish, don’t start. Wishing only wounds the heart.” Both are true.

I’ve been wishing for years: on falling stars, on birthday candles, on 11:11 and on clasps that fall to the front. All this time I’ve spent wishing I’ve just been building up my hopes, making myself think that life can be different than how it already is with just one well-timed (and specifically phrased) wish.

I’m a good story-teller, you see. I have a very active imagination. I can dream up some amazing things. I think of them in such detail that it’s almost like they’ve come to life. When I was little, playing “pretend” was my favorite pastime. I became a sort of expert at it, and called upon those skills to help me deal with any of the awful, upsetting things that I came across. Today, I use this as a way to explain what happens. I come up with five different possible plots for why bad things happen to the people that I love, and myself. I can rewrite people as heroes or as villains, and (most of the time) it will seem plausible. Then, I’ll wish and hope that it was true so that I can make sense of the world.

I’ve always done this. Honestly, I’ve always had a problem believing that anyone besides Hitler and Umbridge were truly evil. So, whenever someone does something particularly awful to me, I rewrite the story. I explain why they did it. I come up with a tragic reason why they might have done something so awful, and I find a way to forgive them.

That’s where I get into trouble. I explain this alternate motivation so well that it becomes hard to snap back into reality. I have amazingly wonderful dreams where everything is sunshine, rainbows, chocolate that helps you lose weight and singing animals straight from Disney. Then, I wake up, and life is normal.

I would conclude this by saying that I’m not going to dream again. That I’ll never think up different explanations (besides the obvious), and that I’ll stop hoping for the best. After all, Camus once implied that hope is our worst enemy. Hoping for a situation that’s different than the one we’re in is the best way to upset ourselves.

Well, thing is, I’m a hopeless romantic. So, whether Camus is right or not, until I go through that magical transformation that turns me from a romantic to a cynic (because I’m pretty sure that most cynics are disappointed, tired romantics) I’ll keep hoping and dreaming. I guess I’m like Anne of Green Gables that way.

I will, however, attempt to change my behavior. Maybe, instead of hoping that things will come to me, I’ll go to them. I’m not exactly sure how to track ethereal things like love, happiness, stability and trust, but I’ll learn. That way, I’ll wish with action, and maybe that will give me some more control over my life.

 

I’ll keep you updated. Sweet dreams, everyone.

Another Beginning

So, I’m sitting here thinking about what I want to write. I know that I need to write, though.

It’s amazing how this need has come back so randomly. I came back this semester, and I just had to write. So, naturally, I started using my Twitter account, blowing up my Facebook, and even posting on Instagram in this desperate attempt to satisfy my need to communicate. It didn’t really work, though. Hence me resorting to more than 150 characters so I can force my thoughts on an unsuspecting “public.” I’ve started blogging again. I say again, because I’ve definitely used this blog before. I used it mostly to vent my nonsensical (and often childish) thoughts about life. Don’t worry, I recently deleted the most embarrassing posts.  I also started writing a play. It’s not a happy play, and if I ever finish it and let anyone else read it, I will do so only under a pseudonym (until it wins a Tony. I’ll be accepting that in person).

I guess my point is, I have a lot of thoughts running through my head right now. Some of them are silly and school-girlish, some of them are literally all feelings, and some of them are really deep.  I can’t keep them in, so I’m going to lay them out here for you to peruse.

I can’t promise that they’ll be expressed eloquently. Despite my lifelong desire to be a great author, I have never managed to captivate people with my words. I’ve only recently found a way to tell a story in person in an efficient yet entertaining manner. I also can’t promise that my thoughts will always be meaningful, inspirational, or wonderful (or even grammatically correct).  The only thing I can promise you is that they will be passionate and genuine, because that’s how I’m trying to live my life now. I’m tired of always hiding what I think and feel. I’m tired of people (myself included) beating around the bush. It’s time to stop playing games. Trust me, I know that’s a process and not a single action. So this is me, processing.

Those Special Moments

So, I recently saw the movie Her, and I fell in love. Not only is the writing amazing, but the acting is superb, the story is compelling and fresh, and it is beautifully captured.

However, that’s not really what this post is about.

I noticed, while forcing my friends to discuss the movie with me (because, apparently, I’m the only one in that friend group that adores analyzing movies), that this movie is different in more than one way. Not only does it depict a non-traditional relationship, but it also focuses more on the relationship itself than the beginnings of the relationship. This movie shows some beautiful post-courting events. Those events, or rather, moments, that occur when you’re truly comfortable with someone. Those moments that aren’t contrived, aren’t planned, and are 100% naturally you.

That made me remember some moments in my life that I love. Those moments when you feel completely comfortable with someone and are able to revel in that fact. When you find out that on some of the most trivial levels, you are with someone who is like you. You’re spending time with someone who gets you (which for me, is a very, very rare occasion).

That’s one of the things I crave most. Yes, yes, sexual things are fun (if they weren’t there wouldn’t be nearly as many humans as there are today). Romance is fun too. The wooing, the hand-holding, the long, romantic, longing gazes… But friendship is better.

So, this movie shows some of those times when friendship meets romance–when you get to have utterly silly, meaningless, wonderful moments with someone you love. Those moments when you are completely in sync, and you both understand and wonder at the complexities of the individual near you.

These moments are amazing, and yet they are often ignored. People take them for granted, until they’re single again, or until they are away from those people that really understand you.

This is going to sound weird, but these moments don’t always happen with your romantic significant others. These moments can happen with any “other” who is significant. People will probably judge me hard core for this, but I totally believe you can have a crush on your best friends.  I know I do. I am completely in love with my best friends. No, that doesn’t mean I’m homosexual. It means that I love every aspect of some of my friends. I love how we work together. I love how we interact. I love the crazy moments we have together. When I’m crushing on them, I crave them more than usual. I miss them. I spam their Facebook walls with funny inside jokes (which is ok, because they love me). I randomly text/snapchat them messages proclaiming my love for them–and they send them back.

The English language has a very narrow concept of love. The word, “love” is used to describe hundreds of different emotions. “I love this pizza,” and “I love you” are both statements that use the same word to describe two very different emotions (unless you’re romantically in love with your pizza. In which case… you do you?). We also use “love” to describe friendship love. I remember the first time I told my best friend that I loved her. I was saying goodbye to her the night before I was leaving California to move to Texas. I was terrified, sad, and angry. I literally felt like I was being ripped in two. When we hugged each other we cried and told each other that we loved each other, and we were both so shy about it. As though telling each other we loved each other was taboo, because we were both girls, but we weren’t lesbians. We didn’t want to make it weird.

Well, it wasn’t, and we were both so incredibly happy about that. And guess what? It’s totally OK for best friends to love each other.

Valentine’s Day is another day that I totally fight the love stereotype. In America, it is a day for lovers. If you don’t have a lover, then you’re supposed to either sit at home and feel sorry for yourself (probably with some sort of alcohol and chocolate), go out and try to find a temporary lover, or make fun of all of the “stupid couples” who are buying into a capitalist scheme. Well, I learning in my Spanish class that not all countries see it that way. In Mexico, they have a “Dia de la Amistad” which means Friendship Day (basically). This is a day when you celebrate those you love, but not romantically. Ok, so it’s probably another holiday made up by Hallmark to boost their sales, but it’s a great idea. Why do I have to be limited by the narrow conception of love on Valentine’s Day? So, like the freak I am, I give all of my friends a little gift on Valentine’s Day, because I love them. I also try to remind myself that, although I’m #foreveralone, I’m not really alone, because I have other people in my life that I love who love me back.

So, to get back on topic, here is a (totally incomplete) list of those moments of romandship (romance+friendship) that really show true love and caring to me. Some of these might only happen in romantic relationships, some of these might be friend-zone things, but all of them are moments that I cherish (or really, really, really want to happen).  All of these are moments when you are being 100% yourself with someone, and it isn’t weird at all.

  • When you wake up and are facing the person in bed next to you. Even though you probably look like crap and have awful breath, you both smile, because you’re happy they are the first person you see.
  • When you stay to watch the credits without having to ask, because that’s just what you do.
  • When you do the above, and you take turns reading off the weird sounding names (because why wouldn’t you?)
  • When you both end up looking at each other randomly across the room and either a) raise your eyebrows and smirk knowingly at each other, b) smile cutely and look down, or c) make random and rather terrifying faces at each other because you can.
  • When you say something completely random and weird during a conversation, and instead of recognizing how awkward/weird that was, the other person just goes with it, and you have a weird, sarcastic, and hilarious conversation about it (which probably leads to an inside joke)
  • When you say the same thing at the exact same time as your “other,” and you just laugh because it’s creepy but cool
  • When you can catch each other up on your lives in 30 seconds, and they somehow understand everything that you said
  • When you have an entire conversation just by looking at each other
  • When you know they’ve entered the room without even seeing them, and you immediately feel happier
  • When you text each other at the exact same time (and you weren’t in the middle of a conversation)
  • When they somehow sense that you need comfort, and know how to help you (even if they just touch your arm briefly)
  • When you look at each other and know you’re thinking the exact same thing (either sexual or not…)
  • When you can just sit in silence, or walk in silence, and it isn’t awkward at all
  • Those conversations that are utter sarcastic nonsense but make you incredibly happy all the same.
  • When you teach each other how to do things, and it doesn’t seem condescending or judgmental. You just enjoy helping the other person grow.

This isn’t an extensive list. Honestly, some of these may only apply to me. Maybe this doesn’t make any sense. All I know is that a real relationship has these moments, and many more. They seem like second nature, but that’s what’s so special with them. It’s a sign that you really are sharing your life with someone, or at least you’re beginning to do so.

 

Eh, who knows. I’ll probably end up with cats.

18 Things Women Shouldn’t Have To Justify

This is true. There are some things we should be held accountable for (morality comes to mind, or anything that really hurts someone else). What we wear, how we look, what we eat, or our relationships aren’t anyone else’s business.

Thought Catalog

1. Putting themselves first. When Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if it were selfish that she openly makes herself her first priority she responded: “No, no, it’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”

2. How little or much they’re eating, especially if it’s “unhealthy.” You can eat a big lunch without having to say “I haven’t eaten anything all day” or have some delicious ass nachos without saying “I totally deserve this, I was so good this week, I’ll start the diet again tomorrow.” More importantly, you shouldn’t have to always be interrogated with “that’s all you’re having?” or “you’re going to eat all that?!”

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What Do Dress Codes Say About Girls’ Bodies?

What Do Dress Codes Say About Girls’ Bodies?

I’m sorry but…I’m not sorry

Rape is never justified. It is never “okay.” It is never, ever deserved. I don’t care if I walk around naked in the middle of Times Square–I’m never “asking for it” unless I look someone straight in the eye and say “let’s have sex.”

Image

I feel as if a lot of people talk about this. This blog has probably been written a million times. In fact, I’ve written something like this before. Here’s the thing, though: It will keep being written until there is no need for it, until no human being can misunderstand the meaning of consensual sex enough to blame a rape victim.

A lot of people like to think that women use rape as a means of revenge, or as a pathway to money and their 15 minutes of fame. It saddens me that this belief has some basis in reality. I’m sure that somewhere some woman has done this. What sucks is that she not only besmirched the name of an innocent person, but also made it harder for millions of other rape victims to plead their case.

A lot of the problems with prosecuting and reporting instances of rape come from the ambiguity of the charge. There’s a lot of debate, political and philosophical, surrounding what it really means to rape someone. Trust me, I’ve had just a taste of it (about two weeks’ worth of discussion and essays in my “Sex, Society, and Ethics” class [one of my favs, btw]). All of these arguments focus on the word “consent” and the practical applications of it.

I just read an article (http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/a-letter-to-my-son-about-consent/) that argues that the only real consent it one that is blatantly, soberly, knowingly given. This means that in order for any sexual act to not be rape, both partners must ask “is it ok for me to do X [whatever touching or sexual action you want to do] to you?” and receive a clearly stated “Yes.”

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but where do you draw the line? Do you have to narrate everything that you’re doing to someone before you do it and get consent? “Honey, can I move on from touching your right breast and now touch your left?”  It could get a little ridiculous.

It’s a good idea, though. We’re always told “Never assume. It only makes and ASS out of You and Me” or, in this case, a rapist out of you and a rape victim out of me.

As you can see, though, that might not always be practical.

Let’s put that option for consent to the side now and consider some tricky situations. There’s the ever so popular “Morning Sex Situation” to consider. There’s a married couple. The husband has just woken up and feels like having sex. The wife is still asleep. They’ve had sex before, and have been married for years. The husband decides to have sex with his wife. His wife wakes up in the middle of the act, and doesn’t resist it. Is this rape?

The wife didn’t give consent. In fact, she was unconscious when entered. Yet we’re hesitant to call the husband a rapist. I mean, he’s her husband. BUT, granting the husband the “right” to do as he pleases with the wife (aka: when you say “I do” you’re consenting to whatever your husband wants to do for as long as you both shall live) isn’t something we want to agree with either. Maybe the part that clears him is that the wife didn’t resist. She didn’t exactly consent either, though. Okay, maybe she went along with it. Maybe she was tired and thought “Oh hey. Good morning to you too. Whatever, what the hell” (that’s about as coherent as I am in the morning). Maybe she decided resisting wasn’t worth the fight she’d end up having with him. Maybe it was better to just let him do his thing and then get on with her day. Maybe you can say she consented there. Maybe (you could also say her “consent” was coerced). You can’t say she consented when he first penetrated, though. So, did the husband rape his wife?

The coercion bit is interesting. There was one court case where a woman was attacked in an alley (if you REALLY care, I’ll dig out my notes on it and tell you when, where, and presided over by whom, but I’m not in the mood to dig up my notes now, so bear with me). Her assailant held her at gunpoint and told her to lead him to her home, and let him in. She could tell from the way she was being held that she would probably get raped. However, she was told that if she didn’t take him up to her apartment, she’d be shot. Her options were a) do as the man says (and most likely get robbed and raped), or b) refuse to do as he says and get killed. Did she consent?

The judge said she did.

I. KNOW. This was a couple of decades ago, but this argument is still used now and then. By doing what the man said, she “consented” to whatever he did to her. Therefore, you can’t charge the man with rape.

Here’s the thing, she didn’t consent. Consent cannot be coerced. It’s in the definition. Resigning yourself to your fate isn’t consent either. Why? Because consent is a choice. It is you willingly choosing to give up some of your rights. If you’re put in a position where your life is at stake, you can’t say you consented.

Yet some people say that’s a false dilemma. Maybe she could have resisted. Maybe the girl could have gone all Buffy Summers on his ass and freed herself.

Yeah. Uh huh. As much as I’d like to think that’s possible, it’s definitely not probable.

By resisting like that, the odds are she would have been choosing option B, thus forfeiting her right to life.

So, we’re back to square one. You can’t consent when coerced. Coercion can include a real threat to your life, or a threat to your livelihood (aka: you will be robbed, you will be fired, you will be forced to leave your home [the house, the city, the state, the country], etc.). I want to extend the definition of coercion to include a real threat to the life or livelihood of someone you greatly care about (husband, mother, brother, grandmother, best friend), even though that can get a little complicated.

The thing is, you shouldn’t have to trade anything very meaningful in order to avoid sexual intercourse.

That’s why the author of that letter said you had to explicitly consent to sexual intercourse. If it wasn’t coerced at all, then that “yes” puts you in the clear.

However, like I said, that’s a bit idealistic.

So, people want to say that other behaviors besides explicit consent count as consent. Such as not resisting. However, that has been proven to be a little wooly as well (like in the marriage case).

What about being “sexual?” So, wearing revealing clothing, standing in such a way as to broadcast your sexual identity, or even mentioning sex in conversation (jokes, discussions about the meaning of rape, etc.)? Are all Victoria’s Secret models consenting to have sex with anyone who sees them modeling the latest Angel’s line, just because they are “looking sexy?”

That would suck, because I look sexy all the time.

In all seriousness, though, do women (and men, though for the ease of this rant I will refer to women since only 8% of rape victims are men [not to imply that that isn’t still a significant amount of victims]) put themselves in situations where they tempt men to rape them? Can some of our actions be “asking for it?”

Let’s look back at the mugging case. She let her assailant into her apartment, knowing that she will probably be raped. We said she couldn’t have consented. She was coerced. However, the other side of the argument is that she allowed herself to get into that situation. She was in the dark alleyway, or walking close enough to be pulled in. She didn’t have an armored guard with her. She went into a private space alone with a possible rapist. Is she at all at fault?

In an ideal world, I’d say no. I should be able to walk down the most dangerous, poverty-stricken street in the world’s worst slum while wearing Barney Stinson’s diamond suite without having to worry about being robbed. I would be a major douche, but I wouldn’t have to worry about someone infringing upon my rights and robbing me.

We all know that’s not possible. The longer you wave the catnip toy in front of the cat the more likely it is that the cat will pounce.

What constitutes the metaphorical waving of the catnip toy, though?

Lots of people claim that a woman’s very existence is the tease. “She walked down this street,” “she talked to me,” “she accepted a drink,” “she wore a shirt that didn’t hide the fact that she had breasts,” etc.

Newsflash: MALE HUMANS–the fact that I have breasts and a vagina does not mean that they are yours for the taking.

Here’s the thing, if you say that subtle behaviors  such as-oh, I don’t know- existing count as teasing you/egging you on/waving of the catnip toy, and that because of this I deserve to be raped, then you’re claiming that you have no control over your actions.

If my walking down a street at night automatically makes me at fault for whatever might happen to me (in this case, rape), then there’s not something wrong with me, there’s something wrong with the world and the men in it.

I’ll admit: I try to avoid situations where bad things can happen. I don’t wear diamond suits in slums, I don’t walk down dangerous streets by myself at night, and I don’t leave my door unlocked when I go to bed. I know that I can’t rely on every human to have the same respect for basic moral principles as I do (or for them to not be in a situation where they need to break the law in order to survive [like Aladdin having to steal a loaf of bread]). However, when it comes to a crime such as rape, I take a different view.

Some rapists claim it is a compulsion they can’t control. I say it is an inability to recognize another member of your species and the rights they have. Any man who blatantly rapes a woman (so, in this case, I’m excluding the overly amorous husband situation) has some horrible inability to understand that a woman is still a human being with rights. There is never a situation where you HAVE to have sex with another human being. If you have to orgasm that badly, use your hand.

SO, while I won’t tempt fate, I also firmly believe that no behavior of mine besides spreading my legs and saying “come and get it” can be called “asking for it.” 

If men are honestly incapable of controlling their basic animal urges (aka: fighting the supposed compulsion), then I don’t know how they’ve been house-broken. If this is really the argument they want to use, then fine. We’ll agree. Let’s cage the beasts, strip them of their rights to vote and to operate machinery, and let them be the animals they claim to be. If you can’t stop yourself from having sex with anything that moves, then you can’t be trusted to do anything else. If you claim that the rest of your sex has the same problem, then the rest of your sex will be controlled as well.

Here’s the thing, though. All men aren’t like that. How do I know? I’ve lived among them. I know at least 5 guys that I could joke about sex with, accept a drink from, sit on a couch next to, and fall asleep in front of that would never, ever rape me

So, there’s not something wrong with all men, just some of them. I don’t know if they have something wrong with their brains, if they’re less developed, or if they somehow missed the memo that humans besides themselves have rights too, but I’m betting it’s the latter. These men have a sense of entitlement that includes other people. Other people are now just objects that they are allowed (and maybe in their minds, supposed) to use. I don’t know who to blame for this wrong idea. I do know it’s incorrect.

So, even though we haven’t worked out the subtleties of consent when it comes to rape, we have a general understanding of it. Enough to understand that if a woman wears provocative clothing, or even none at all, if she walks home alone at night, if she accepts a drink from someone, or if she even jokes about sex with someone, she still hasn’t given up her right to her body, and she still hasn’t consented to sexual intercourse. Thus, no matter what she’s done: whom she’s had sex with, how many people she’s been intimate with, or how little clothing she’s wearing, she hasn’t “asked for” anything- except the most basic form of respect.

Apparently, we’ll be asking for that for a long time.

 

The Problem with Partition

In one of my classes we’re studying the Partition of India and its aftereffects. It seems like a horrible fairytale. Watching the videos, hearing the stories, reading the articles and looking at the statistics–it’s surreal. My class and I couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t logical. Why did so many people want to kill each other?

There are many facets that make up the mosaic of India. Before Partition, Hindus lived next to Muslims, with Jews, Christians and Buddhists scattered about. Working together, living their own lives, they coincided. They worked towards the same goals, and yet worshiped different religions.

The British had control, and exploited most of India, yet for the most part, they coincided. When the time of Gandhi came, the Hindus and Muslims were able to agree on one thing, the British needed to “Quit India.”

What they couldn’t agree on was how their country should be run once the British left.

Some wanted to separate, tired of being a minority. Some were idealistic, and wanted everyone to unite under one Congress, allowing democracy to run freely. Some wanted guaranteed protection against the majority: a special electorate which would guarantee them a say in the government. Some wanted to completely change the system of governance. None were willing to negotiate. They saw their chance to seize control over their lives, and weren’t comfortable trusting their neighbor to look out for them.

The aftermath of Partition was more than horrifying. It was hellish. Neighbor turned on neighbor as thousands of people migrated across the newly formed border. The tension broke, and incredible numbers were killed.

I intellectually understand why this happened: people were scared and confused. They were tired. They suffered great hardships when they had to pack up their homes and move, hoping for their dream life. They were focused on their own troubles, and were unable to recognize that everyone was struggling to regain their balance. The one consistent tie between Hindus and Muslims, their need to coexist (their shared need to contribute to their economy and eventually free themselves from their oppressors) had been cut.

I don’t understand it emotionally. When I look at this, I don’t see two completely alien species migrating in close quarters. There was no dispute. People didn’t agree on how their government should operate, so they were leaving to go to a place they’d be happier. This reason doesn’t seem like enough of a reason to start fighting. I guess you could argue that they were scared, but why would they be scared of each other? They’d lived together for so long. What kept them from learning to trust one another? What caused this hatred?

I don’t understand hating someone enough to want to kill them.

I wonder what the reason was behind the first killing. What made that person snap and turn on someone in a fellow position. Was it grief? Was it revenge?

People say that revenge is a main motivator behind the killings. “An eye for an eye”–Hammurabi’s code. There’s a reason that isn’t used anymore. Gandhi said it perfectly “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” How does killing someone who killed someone you loved right the wrong that was originally done? It doesn’t bring them back. It only creates more pain and terror. When does it stop? Would you still say revenge was a good enough reason to kill someone if it was only the two of you left on the planet?

Maybe I don’t understand because I wasn’t born in the situation. I was born in a country where we all thought enough alike that minor differences, such as American party lines or different sects of a religion doesn’t justify hatred. I was blessed enough to be born in a country where I could speak my mind, and learn to listen to others when they speak theirs. I learned to “agree to disagree” from a very early age.

Yet, there are some disagreements that can’t be left alone. Hitler, for instance. He had to be stopped.  I firmly believe that what Hitler did was evil. He may have been disturbed, he might have truly believed what he was doing would benefit the world, and yet, he needed to be stop. Protagorean relativity is not valid, not when it comes to ethics.

I’m a firm believer that there are some things that are truly evil, no matter what you believe in. Killing in cold blood is usually the best example. Only, that example gets more and more difficult the more you analyze it. I have certain lines that can’t be crossed. Certain things I would not allow. For example, if I met someone who sacrificed animals for their religion, I’d do everything I could (within reason) to stop that. I’d call the police, I’d talk to them about it, and I’d physically stop them from doing that. I wouldn’t kill them, though. If someone believed they had to sacrifice a child in order to practice their religion, the same thing applies. I wouldn’t just kill them, however. Not unless my life was seriously in danger.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand fundamental ethical differences. However, I don’t understand killing people over them unless there’s no other option. I haven’t been confronted with people whose religions or ethical systems differ that extremely from mine often. I have had conversations with Muslims and with Hindus, as well as different sects of Christians and Jews. We don’t disagree about any of my basic ethical beliefs (at least those I talked to did not seem to).

I’ll admit that I haven’t read the different religious texts for both Hinduism and Islam. I don’t pretend to be well versed in any religion. I have a basic working understanding (read here: public high school education) of them, however. I don’t understand, from my understanding, why people feel the need to kill over it. Especially if you’ve lived by people who follow the other faith for so long. Especially when you are both going through a similar crisis.

The articles I have read and my discussions with my professor have lead me to believe that the majority of the people in India and Pakistan agree with me. Why fight? However, very powerful “fundamentalist” groups see things differently. They are apparently so starved for power that they are willing to provoke nuclear warfare (killing millions and millions of people, both in Pakistan and India) for the chance to seize control.

My first thought is that everyone in that group suffers from a mental illness. What cause is worth killing billions of people, especially those you theoretically want to control? How is this at all a rational train of thought? How is this at all ethical?

All of those people can’t be DSM certified bat-shit crazy, though. It sounds like it, but it is highly improbable that that is the case.

What is it, then? What is the point of all of this bloodshed? What is the point of the terror? The destruction? The hatred and the blind massacres?

Why?

No one in my class could understand it either.

If we can’t understand it, how can we even fight it?

If this is some sort of pandemic of a mental illness, then how can we cure it? How can someone from the outside, anyone, fix this problem? You can’t justify killing them all. You can’t pick them out from the innocents, most of the time. You can’t force them to get along. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. You can try to unite them under a common goal again: economics. But that doesn’t address the root of the issue.

How do you even attempt to reason with an entire group of people when they won’t talk. I doubt any of the leaders from any of the groups fighting would be willing to sit down and discuss this over a cup of tea or coffee. What if there is no reasoning with them? What if they are so different from us that they literally think differently than we do about the value of life and basic ethical principles?

What can we do to help these people?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t know what I, or anyone, could possibly do but slap an economic bandage on the problem and hope it heals over. The problem is, that’s been tried before, and the wound just got infected.

I don’t know what to do.

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