Live and Let Live

“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”

― Albert Einstein

The biggest problem of today is that people have stopped being human. We campaign and call for action against the evil people in the world but then turn around and discriminate, hate and backchat about others who dare be different.

A Muslim walking through a mainly white-populated town will be stared at with disdain; a gay person will face persecution because he’s different; and a Hindu procession going down the street will be laughed upon by the Muslims living on the street. If you have the misfortune of being born a Romanian and move to Britain, you are instantly blamed for the rise in prices in this country.

Zenhab Zafar, a 22-year-old Arabic calligraphist and airbrush makeup artist recently started wearing the Hijab [headscarf].

“I’m not a full time hijabi, I’m still getting used to wearing my scarf out and about. So what happened was really mean.” She told me.

Zenhab walked into a corner shop in Chingford to get a can of drink – being diabetic, her blood sugar was getting low so she thought she needed a Rubicon.

“When I went to pay the shop keeper, who was Turkish or Algerian, he told me he wasn’t going to serve me,” She said, “I asked why and he said he didn’t serve my kind in his shop. When I asked what he meant by “my kind”, he rolled his eyes and said I knew exactly what he meant.

“”Take that dish towel off your head and go back on your camel and ride away back to wherever you came from,” He told me.

“I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say.”

See, it’s okay to disagree with something. It’s okay to believe that a certain act or way of life may not be the right one, or the one you would choose. It’s okay to have an opinion. But it’s not okay to treat anyone any differently just because of who they are and what they do.

This brings us to sexuality. Every religious person (and there are many) will tell you how they are against homosexuals. The age old debate about whether it’s a choice or if you’re born that way can be heard far and wide. But we are missing the important thing here. It’s fine if you don’t agree with it, that’s an opinion held by many. It’s not fine however, to persecute homosexuals or to treat them any different than those who are straight. Especially in a country like Britain where there are numerous types of people different in religion, culture, nationality and sexual orientation. Where all are equal and everyone is supposed to be accepted for who they are.

23-year-old Kurt Corbett has always kept it quiet about his sexual orientation.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been discriminated against directly – it’s not something I’ve ever been completely open about and it’s not something that’s obvious with me,” He said, “I have been in situations where people will be saying things in my presence, not knowing that they’re actually in the company of a homosexual.

“There was an example not long ago where we used to have this African guy working as a security guard at my work. He was quite a strict Christian and told me and another guy once about how he hated homosexuality and how he thought that gays should be killed.”

When it comes to discrimination, race, religion and sexuality are probably the most common three examples of why a person may be treated differently. However, there are people who choose to have, say, a few more piercings than the rest of us, dye their hair a bright colour or have a large tattoo and people aren’t slow in jumping up and hating for a simple choice that everyone has the right to make.

Dan Rich, 28, is a friendly, hardworking person and has recently landed himself a job as a trainee journalist at Toy World Magazine. But does it matter that he’s doing well in life if he has long hair, tattoos and wears heavy metal t-shirts? Apparently not.

He tells me his story: “There was one time about seven or eight years back in a pub where I was having a conversation with an older woman at the bar. This was before I had my hair long and she judged me for having a skull tattoo and wearing an Iron Maiden shirt. I was having a civilised conversation with her and out of nowhere she said she’d never let her son turn out like me.

“She didn’t know what she was talking about though because she couldn’t give me a reason why and when I asked what kind of music her son liked, it turned out to be slightly different variations of what I like so I politely warned her there was a possibility it might happen.

“She was misinformed and may have been a bit drunk but most of the time people get intimidated by what they don’t understand.”

So next time you look at someone and automatically sneer, treat them differently or even think that they are beneath you, just because of what is socially acceptable or what your parents taught you or what the media told you, imagine being in that person’s shoes.

What if you wanted to become Muslim someday? But you were worried about being blamed for those idiots that commit atrocities in the name of Allah but have nothing to do with Islam whatsoever?

What if you wanted to get some piercings but were too afraid because of good-for-nothing judgemental people?

What if you were born in a country where you had no opportunities and had no other option but to move to another country just so you could survive?

Would it be fair for people to treat you like shit based on those factors?

No. I don’t think so.




2 thoughts on “Live and Let Live”

  1. Excellent article and to the point. .every one is entitled to equal rights. .what ever race gender boils down to respect.
    Thank you amina. .

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