Hello beautiful readers, how have you been? It’s been a while hasn’t it ? I missed you. I thought of you all actually and wrote so many long blogs, some just random thoughts and others were on my food recipes for you to try. But all of it was in my head and never was I courageous enough to sit and type it. I either thought that it is not worthy to post or that I would sound stupid if I did!
My last blog posts were on love and showing it through baking and making delicious rose tea drink. A month and a bit later I still want to talk about love. However, it doesn’t involve any new recipes, not of the food kind anyway. The ingredients for the love recipe I have in mind is different, and difficult, as it involves two things. A mental shift and awareness and real action! What is Wafa talking about I hear you ask.
Well I want to offer a life-changing recipe of love and goodness. I promise you it will leave such a sweet taste in your mouth, heart and soul. In fact the positive goodness will have a ripple effect and infect others and you will be part of a global positive difference. Excited? Yes you should be, you have the potential to make massive change with a simple act of love.
The ingredients are 1) opening your mind and heart, 2) tolerance, 3) respect and finaly, connection. Mmmmmmm doesn’t sound too hard? Or does it ?
Let me explain the reason behind this blog post and strange recipe.
On Friday March 15 2019 just before 2 pm, 50 worshipers were massacred in An-Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. An Australian white far right extremist and supremacist man, known for his raciest manifesto and hatred, who made his intentions very clear and freely available to be broadcast live on Facebook (So many questions arises of how could Facebook allowed this to happen and their accountability in this and would they have acted the same if someone of another gender, colour, language and culture did this) committed THE inhuman act… This 28 year old Brenton Tarrant flew to New Zealand and drove to Christchurch, selected a mosque and calculated the time and day of when a high number of worshipers would attend. He entered the mosque and began shooting on innocent men, women and children who gathered that afternoon to preform salah, prayer in An-Noor Mosque. Salah, is a core duty of all Muslims to purify their heart and souls 5 times a day, to disconnect from worldly matters and enter a state of worship and seek closeness to their creator. Salah is also an act in which you give thanks to the blessing you have and to pray for others. Salah is entering a space of peace and love. That space for those worshipers was punctured and ended unexpectedly with the most heinous act of evil. The most extreme act of hate took place at that spot of the world. The world shook. My world shook.
I followed the news closely and with passing hours and days I felt fractured. This terrorist attack has touched me so deeply that I couldn’t function and I made the decision to disconnect and not allow myself to be exposition to any news.
I was once again afraid. Afraid of direct Islamophobic attacked on me, which I have experienced since I lived most of my life in the London and now 6 years in Paris. And I did get verbal abuse few days after the attack. The attack opened up familiar feeling I struggled with for years. Feeling that I am not safe anywhere and I will not be accept anywhere. Truly that is a soul and heart crushing feeling. I felt despair and frustration as to why the world can not accept me for me, with all my diversity and colours and personality? Why are others placing me in labelled boxes that they have created for me out of their own fear and bigotry? Why must I conform to biased, disrespectful and hurtful way in order to make others, a minority maybe, feel a false sense of safety when I am forced to feel unsafe and pain? For a few days my world was dark. I couldn’t really open up to anyway, who would understand me.
I vented on my personal Instagram Story account and to the sympathetic ears and shoulders of my dear beloved sisters. Then I woke and decided for the sake of my children and the world that they would grow up in I must not only change my attitude but to take action. Fear cannot win. This was evidently seen as the Christchurch community and New Zealand itself came together to mourn and heal. The country and its Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern gave a strong show of solidarity with the Muslim community through numerous ways and actions. I do not want to go into detail I am sure you all know or could read more about how their act of love has had a positive lasting impact on the victims families and to the rest of us. I felt it and I am miles away. This gave me the push I needed to get into a positive action mentality.
What is this change and action? I think more love and tolerance should be a good start. Actively working towards a better and more harmonious world, society, community and family is an achievable goal.
You always start with yourself. I know I am an open loving and tolerant person, but, I will work even more on being so. I will educate myself even more and I will affirm these thoughts and knowledge by acting on them. Talking, writing, joining groups, supporting groups, marching and even praying for positive social change and equality. I will work so hard on educating and raising my boys to be good and see good in all things. I want them to respect and support all humans and to fight for other’s rights. I want them to be part of the positive equal social change movement. I want them to really understand that it is their duty to do so. I can achieve that through many ways, not just speaking to them, but reading with them books from a variety of backgrounds, traveling the world with them and specking to locals and understanding that country’s history. Explore art from different continents for example, visiting other places of worship and even eat and cook cousins of the world. As I type I realised I have done this already with tem and it brings me joy but determination to do more and continue to do so. My main objective is also to turn them into feminist supports. Making them see women in all their capabilities and strengths and yes making my boys do the dishes too !
My personal goal is to dispel myths and ideas of what I, a woman, a Muslim Arab Iraqi – Anglo- Francophone, mother, wife, friend, artist, blogger, human etc etc ‘should’ be like.
So lets get back to the recipe and end this rather long blog post! The ingredients for today is
1) Opening your mind and heart;.
You can achieve these through educating yourself. Go to reliable sources not necessary Wikipedia ! or ask a friend or a neighbour about themselves and their culture. If you don’t have a friend of a different culture and religion etc please make one! See what is your fear, misunderstand or lack of knowledge of someone’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender etc and try to find out more and keep asking yourself where is your fear coming from and could it be actually traced to something else. Know that the world is big enough for all of us, there is enough land, air, food and love for all. Understand that people are going through their own battle that you may not evidently see, and thus assumption and prodigious really is quiet dangerous and hurtful. I was having a coffee with a conservative catholic French friend (see I told you I am tolerant and open …LOL) And it really shocked me how the negative media stereotyped has filtered through the minds and thoughts of so many well educated people.
She complained that a Muslim bearded neighbour would not return her Bonjour and always looked angry, this made her feel afraid, and thus her impression of Muslim men is negative.
I wanted to bang my head on the table! I asked her with a smile, why do you think that man is angry? Maybe he had a few bad days, society not treating him with respect, he is poor and frustrated about the direction of his life is going, or that the fact his electricity bill has gone up made him angry, could be that he has a sick friend and is worried about him, maybe he has bad hearing and can hear muffles so he couldn’t return your Bonjour and is angry that his hearing aid need replacing!
I have had direct attacked on me by people of different colours and creeds that did not stop me talk and making friends with people of similar colour and background. I told her I have been attacked by white people and yet here we are having coffee and laughing ! That was a small example of what I am doing daily to educate people and take them out of ignorance …
I believe my last ingredient of my recipe is a fun and easy step. How is connecting to others fun? We all can do it right now and in many creative and good ways. Tragedy is not the only way to bring us together but a love and passion of something can connect you to so many different diverse people. Connect through a small chat over coffee, a small question of how things are done different in someone else background, small act of kindness, participating in cultural activity and arts, going to different community events maybe, and my favourite through cooking. What better way to get to know another cultural than tasting or cooking their traditional food getting know the ingredients and history behind a certain dish and sharing it.
Understanding and tolerance are forms of love and I believe in these days we require it more than we even thought possible. Don’t have fear in your heart, allow love to cleans it and exhale all the old negative ways and thinking. You will feel lighter and happier. The world will not seem so dark and jaded. These are great times for all of us to grab the opportunity to further develop ourselves and raise the moral conciseness and allow equality and respect to be what it should be…. our basic rights.
Thank you for reading, I wish you well and I hope I have given you some encouragement or ideas to make you more active in achieving this global change for equality. Don’t be afraid of challenging your own ideas and ways, don’t be afraid to ask and get to know others, don’t be afraid of acquiring knowledge even if it might be hard to accept or you realise you have misunderstood or not even given all the information before. Remember knowledge is not one sided, there are many perspectives on subjects, history and life! Know that a cube can be seen differently from many angles and under many lights!
I hope light find its way to your heart and it radiates your life.
Dear Wafa, so much truth in your post ! Education is everything, together with meeting people! This is why Europe was created after the world war, with Erasmus exchanges, so that young people from Europe would never ever consider war again! Let’s do the same accross religions and accross the world! – and let’s have a coffee together 🙂