January 23, 2015

I can't be who I AM here

In the wake of the happenings in France, the whole US vs THEM rhetoric has gotten a revival in the media. While I agree that something has to be done, I get quite disgusted with the direction things are going. Instead of keeping to intelligent arguments, some people are using this as an opportunity to vent their our insecurities and pin it on external factors.

We recognize freedom of expression and thought, but one should put more thought into our expressions. And we should stop giving one group or the other all the benefit of the media and allow them to cast themselves into the role of victims.

Imagine my disgust today when I read an online article in national newspaper, where a gentleman of Jewish descent and religion complains about not FEELING safe enough to be who he WANTS to be i.e. jewish, here in the Netherlands. While I understand the perceived struggles and insecurities, I ask myself WHY this gets published. He can hide most of the identifying features of his religion and still pass for a regular Joe, which he does.

I can't hide the fact that I'm not a Western/European dutchman, and many others with me. WE tend to hear sniggers and (subtle) slurs too during our week. We are the last ones many will sit beside on public transport. WE are the ones who are mistrusted by definition by many of the governmental institutions. WE can't hide who we are. Yet, this doesn't make the media.  Maybe because this doesn't sell newspapers?

Many of the heterosexually challenged are getting the same treatment he complains about, and are fearing for their security as much as this young man does. One must ask again... WHY does his story get published? Where are all the stories of all the LGBT people who are ridiculed, bullied and pushed about (sometimes literally) day in and day out?

Many of us can't hide who are what we are, it's not a matter of choice. He has the choice of abandoning this country and move to somewhere he THINKS he will be safer. He wants to leave this society and go live with like-minded people. Many others don't have a choice.

Yes, the governments both local and central have a duty of care and protection towards all citizens. But we as a society also do. We should be able to call each other out on behaviour that harms society as a whole.

NOBODY should be made to feel unsafe, we all have the right to feel safe in our own home, neighbourhood, places of work, study and worship. No one should feel as unsafe as to want to abandon the country they live in. THAT is civilization.

Let's start acting as civilized people.

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