My intention was to publish a post, What To Do In Havana, Cuba, but with the recent executive orders, this felt more timely.
America currently resembles a group of friends gently coaxing their inebriated buddy back to the table to prevent a fight. They’re embarrassed by his sudden, unnecessary aggression and are left walking him back to the table, raising one hand up in the air to the whole bar as if to say, “Alright! We’re alright. We know. We know. He doesn’t represent us. He’s a moron, but…*sigh*…he’s our moron.”
President Trump signed an executive order that barred refugees, migrants, legal residents and green card holders from 7 Muslim-majority countries, which in turn, triggered chaos and outrage. I won’t bore you with the statistics and facts about this unprecedented event, as that’s not what this little space of the interwebs is about.
I would like to, though, restate what I’ve alway believed in the deep, dark crevasses of my heart. Traveling can prevent fear. Fear of different religions, race and ethnicities.
I was lucky enough to grow up in Metro Detroit. Outside of the Middle East itself, Metro Detroit has one of the highest concentrations of people of Middle Eastern descent in the world. Before I even knew what Islam was, I found myself sharing pivotal life lessons as a kid and eventually as a teenager with many Muslim friends.
There wasn’t room for hate, these were my friends and on a very basic level – humans. I guess that’s what’s so hard to wrap my head around and man, traveling makes you conscious of that. It slaps you in the face with your preconceived notions and makes you aware of your privilege.
Traveling shows us that were are far more alike than different. No matter where I go, what corner of the universe I place my foot on, on an incredibly fundamental level – we all have the same common hopes, dreams, goals and priorities.
Think about that the next time you run into a divisive rhetoric.
The Women’s March on Washington was one of the most powerful and positive experiences of my life. I learned very quickly I wasn’t alone in feeling worried about our future, but that sort of energy brought about something different: hope.
Let us cling to hope. Let us resist hate.
I’d love to share a few of my favorite photos from the Women’s March.
I appreciate your time in reading this and hope it at least sheds some light on the current mood in America.