Truth be told, every single “no” was painful to hear.
Circumstances force us to dislike even the humane, the innocents, people who have nothing to do with the terror attacks. It becomes difficult to separate a person from his religious identity.
In the videos, it doesn’t seem to matter if the invited person is of good character. An invite is extended based on religion alone, on a generalization that “If one person of a community is like this, then all of them might be similar.”
I couldn’t help placing myself in such a situation – someone denying me an invite looking at my race, color, religion, caste and the actions taken by a group. It wouldn’t matter if I had raised my voice for the oppressed. At that moment, it only matters whether I am from “the other side”
It is not just restricted to Israel-Palestine, you can find similar cases world over.
The suspicions can’t be blamed either because time and again people have breached that trust. Suspicion is a natural form of self-defence. Better be safe than sorry. Yet mistrust can feel heavy when you are not personally to blame.
I pray for a world, where a person is judged by their own character, on humanity alone, and not from some unfair blanket generalization, even if such a hope seems far-fetched at the moment.
You are supposed to have an opinion on everything nowadays.
If there is a hashtag trending on Twitter, where people are raging and showing their utter disappointment in something, you are considered indifferent or apathetic if you do not take an active part in the noise. You see posts akin to “Your silence speaks a lot” that curse you for being quiet.
You aren’t supposed to fall on a grey area. It should either be a concrete “Yes, I support this” or a “No, I do not support it” God forbid, you take a neutral stance. I have seen celebrities feeling burdened by this pressure to make a statement about any issue. At times, I have felt “Thank God, I am not a celebrity“
What if it isn’t apathy or indifference? What if it’s plain fear – of upsetting your friends if you state your true, honest informed opinion?
Social media, unfortunately, isn’t always right. There’s a herd mentality at play most of the times. People go with the flow rather than doing proper research and making an informed opinion. There are people who protest, just for the sake of protesting. You ask them about the issue and they will have no clue about what’s going on.
It is sort of a ripple effect – when you see your friends taking part in it, you want to join in too, and then your friends see you doing it and they take part in it as well. A fear of missing out, or as the new gen would put it – FOMO. Everyone is too busy to do independent research though, so they trust their friends to have done it already.
You are also scared. You might be considered cold or distant if you do not support your friends in this hashtag trend. Even worse, you are not supposed to have an opinion that is different from theirs. “My way or the highway” is the motto. That confusion and fear stops a lot of people from really opening up. It can also make more people jump into the bandwagon, to add to the noise, impulsively without proper research.
There are times you give your 2 cents, supporting your friend’s opinion, because you trust them to be right. And later on, when you read up on the subject, you are utterly dismayed. You realize you shouldn’t have acted impulsively, and that there’s more to the issue than what meets the eye.
This is the bane of living online these days. You will be fired for having an opinion, you will be fired for having a different opinion, and you will also be fired if you do not have an opinion.
This shouldn’t stop us though, from making an informed opinion especially when it comes to sensitive issues. Your opinion will have an impact on your immediate circle – no matter how big or small that circle is. So why not do it right? Critical thinking has become the need of the hour. The facts are there for everyone to see. I do not mean the “facts” displayed on social media – which can be twisted to fit anyone’s agenda. A quick Google and YouTube search will display all the information you need. Go through multiple materials (from credible sources that are based on facts), read/hear from all sides, and you will definitely start seeing and filtering out the biases from your own knowledge base.
Here’s to more informed opinions, and may you never be stopped from making them.
P.S: I came across this old article “The Burden of an Informed Opinion” on LinkedIn. A very interesting (and much needed) take on learned opinions. Do give it a read to understand the necessity of critical thinking.
I was one of those people who used to wonder why people published Mother’s Day posts online when their mother, who did not even have a social media presence, was right there next to them. Why not talk to them directly?
That was until I started writing such emotional, mushy posts myself. But with a small twist – I read them out to my mom as well.
My 65+ year old mother does not use social media because all the options and features intimidate her. I can see the cheer on her face though, when I tell her that I have posted something online. She tells me to read them out to her. She proceeds to ask how many people liked the post. “What did they say?” So I read out the multitude of comments. This questioning continues throughout the day. Satisfied with the likes and comments, she moves on to some other distraction. The post is now forgotten, but in that period of time, it gave her much interest and joy.
I have always felt most people express things better when they write it out. It is the reason why even mental health professionals encourage journal writing.
Express all you want online, but don’t forget to read it out to the person to whom it is dedicated to. Or at least make sure they have seen it.
Trust me, the smile you will get, will truly be worth all your scribbles!