Last week the UAE showed the world — well the UAE anyway, the rest of the world’s media didn’t seem to pick up on this story — it’s hand gesture for tolerance.
You see this Islamic Middle Eastern country has a governmental department dedicated to spreading tolerance. Ewww and get this it’s led by a woman:
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, who is the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance, announced the charter, explaining that it will aim to combat bigotry, extremism and racism. She also highlighted how the charter and the discussions around it will work to highlight the true essence of Islam.
Quote taken from WhatsOn Uae.com (click here for more on this)
I’m not gonna lie when I first read about the hand signal I rolled my eyes because who needs this? And what kind of fluff is this? And, before anyone comments or messages me: No, I’m not typing that this country is perfect. It has its bigots, just like every where else in the world, and it has its inconsistencies — but now I’ve got a hand sign I can flash to someone being intolerant. So there — might even be more powerful than the illegal middle finger.
I am sharing this because wanna know what did make the headlines in my home country? Green Starbucks cups! It seems there’s drama over the new cup, which features a drawing of a bunch of different folk, which is meant to represent our freedom to be who the Eff we are and emphasise our need to, you know, tolerate one another. Some don’t like the color, some don’t like the people on it, some think its a political ploy, one Internet troll posted it was anti Christmas because green is the color of Islam (I thought it also was connected to Christmas) and the idiocracy goes on, blah, blah, blah.
It’s a coffee cup — it’s not religious or social propaganda. No one’s indoctrinating anyone into any shit, and no one is hijacking Christmas. And, I know — please God tell me I’m right on this — that the amount of people who really got ticked off and believed all this anti-Christmas crap is miniscule. But, you see it is being covered (although thank God not extensively) and it is being discussed.
When I find myself in conversations that inevitably include someone saying something along the lines of “why don’t they (Arabs/Muslims) do more to speak out” against insert terrorism group of choice, I always point out they do — it’s just not covered in whatever whomever I’m speaking to is watching, reading or listening to. Arab countries lose their young in the war against extremists (not to mention their people and land tend to be the victims of terrorist attacks), their leaders speak up against the atrocities, and they invest in programs that emphasise the Islamic principles that are identical to some of our christian ones. I’m not just typing this to be all peace and lovey — people here are just as ticked (if not more) as people back home, and they want what we all want: to live their lives without violence. So when trolls post shit like not wanting to associate their faith with another one it ticks me off because all faiths are about unity and doing good in this world. Idiots who contort that and do other things in the name of God do not represent their alleged religion. Um, just like, I hope, big talking heads who spew more nastiness do not represent we the people (had to throw that in there so close to election day).
Now I know flapping my hands like a dove isn’t going to stop terrorists, just like the color of a coffee mug isn’t going to destroy christianity, but the fact that we’re allowing ourselves to continually get riled up over messages that divide us is a problem. The stupid Starbucks mess isn’t the issue — the fear, hatred, ignorance that feeds this is.
What I’ve decided that I want for Christmas is every country to have its own Ministry of Tolerance. If we all got serious about this and put real political clout behind it imagine its potential. I know there I go being all peace and love on you again, but aren’t we allegedly entering into that season?
And for the folks back home who will be voting this week (citizens living overseas have already done so), please remember to not vilify your fellow citizens — including the folk who didn’t vote for your guy or gal. We’ve gotta get a grip and throw more tolerance versus Eff you out there!