I’ve come online many times wanting to write but not knowing exactly what to write about.
A gift? The view from my table at work? The passage of Spring which is inevitably taking me closer to my future?
All good topics yes, and all very relevant, but none ones that I want to get into right now. So I thought and I thought and I thought, and I decided to combine two things that are currently on my mind: Sean Stone, and Modern Me.
First, Sean Stone. The famous director, Oliver Stone’s, son. He converted to Islam recently in Iran, to Shia Islam, and has been called in for interviews to discuss not just his conversion, but his view of Iran and Ahmadenijad. You can watch part of his interview with Piers Morgan below, I wasn’t able to find the whole interview.
First thing I noticed about Sean Stone, who, for the record, I’d never even heard of before the whole conversion thing happened? Well, because I’m me, his looks!
Dang! Let’s be honest, there’s no way that’s not the first thing you latched onto as well. Can I get a Masha’Allah? This is one good looking guy. And he’s only a year and a half older than me!
I was eventually able to see past his looks, kind of, and listen to the actual interview, and this is the second thing that struck me: the debate about Iran, and how it’s never, never, never…logical. I’ve argued this for years, I’ve spent an unspeakably torturous three years because of it, I’ve had professors shoot me down in not so nice ways because of it, and I will continue to say this for as long as it’s true: Ascribing lunacy to ‘the enemy’ will get you nowhere. Mostly because evil and crazy are not necessarily mutual character traits.
I know you would like to believe that evil occurs because the evil-doer (take Osama Bin Laden for example) is crazy, irrational, and beyond logic, but that’s just not the case. In fact, the most terrifying evil people throughout history have been terrifying precisely because of their rationality. It’s not a very nice rationality, but to the evil doer, his acts make sense. He gets pleasure or some sort of fulfillment out of committing evil acts, not because he’s crazy, but for some reason that is, to him, perfectly logical.
Now, I don’t think Ahmadenijad is crazy. I think he denies the holocaust for the same reason that a lot of Arabs and Muslims dislike Jews; because of the connection between Israel’s policies toward Palestinians and Jews. Since Israel claims to be a Jewish nation, a backlash against Jews is almost inevitable when Israel commits unfair acts against Palestinians, in much the same way that a backlash against Muslims in the United States was almost inevitable after 9/11.
I think that anyone who cares to be honest with themselves about the Israel/Palestine issue will clearly see why Ahmadenijad dislikes Israel and wishes it did not exist. I’m not in favor of this, necessarily, I think such statements are counterproductive and demoralizing to both sides who are trying to reach a compromise, but I do not believe that Ahmadenijad is any way evil.
If you watch the entire interview (if CNN puts it up later I’ll see if I can attach it), Sean Stone talks about how he believes that Ahmadenijad’s comments should be taken in the context of him speaking about the West Bank and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory. Piers Morgan ends the interview by saying, “I disagree with you, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think you’re completely wrong and I’m never going to agree with you.”
That’s it. No reason for why he disagrees, as if all of Sean Stone’s arguments are worth nothing or are just his opinions with no logic or facts to back them up. I try very hard these days, it’s a conscious effort that I have to work on everyday, to not let the old arguments from ‘the other side’ make me angry. But, man, it’s hard.
I know that this is about Israel and Palestine, and no one knows better than me the impossibility of discussing it logically and reasonably. I’m not exaggerating, I do truly believe that it’s impossible. It’s probably the only topic in the world that you can’t discuss with someone who disagrees with you. But I still feel the need to comment on it, because otherwise there’s no hope. I love Sean Stone for seeing it, and I love all the other non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-brown people who are so sincere, so honest that they see the truth for what it is. And I most especially love such people who are willing and able to speak up about it. Without them, I don’t know that I could keep going against such pressure and hostility. It’s really hard to believe in yourself when the people you most relied on and trusted treat you and your ideas in a vicious and hostile manner.
The other thing on my mind is The Modern Me.
This song is intoxicating. It makes me soar. It…intoxicates. You can get lost in it’s melody. Feel it’s lyrics, have the beat become the beating of your heart. It will take you in.
And then you get to the lyrics and you want to stay lost in the song, because the clock really is ticking, and as modern as you are, your typing, your work, your drive to and from work, your life is passing you by and you keep remembering your professors and your family and your friends who see you as you are and you know that they think you’re going nowhere even if they’ve never said so and you know that this fear is contained in the ticking of that clock and is the reason why you’re so worried about the passing of this Spring and you wish that you could just lull yourself into the world of beauty that this song creates and stay forever.
And then the song ends, and you take a deep breath, and you know that, not in your dream, but in real life you were there. You got into the University of Chicago! You got into Georgetown! And you know that in order for you to be the best you can insha’Allah, you had to go through and take the crap that you did from all these people.
I’m waiting in line, yes, but I’ve progressed a little from being just a modern me to being a modern me who understands. Who will not get lost insha’Allah in all the little things that the days are made of. Insha’Allah.