|Pilgrimage to Mecca – an awesome sight|
While at work (I’m moonlighting part time at an unnamed retail store), I engaged in a conversation with an elderly woman. Once she found out I had visited Greece, her birthplace, she jumped at every opportunity she could to ask me about Greece, my other travels, and tell me about her travels. She wasted no time in telling me that she was going to the Holy Land.
Since I consider myself a global citizen and well read, I knew that she was referring to Israel. At this point, I should have just said “OK.” However, I felt a little indignant and I wanted to challenge her statement. At that moment, she served as a proxy for the religious, racial, cultural, and sexual intolerance I read about everyday in the news. Her “Holy Land” was to be understand by me as “The one and only Holy Land.” I refute that notion and so my reply to her was “oh…which one?”
She was in shock and puzzled. She treated me as if I was unintelligent and responded, “Well Israel…what other Holy Land could there be?” I then kindly reminded her that Mecca is also the Holy Land and that there are numerous places across this globe that are deemed holy by various cultures. She then assumed that because I mentioned Mecca, I must be Muslim. I quickly responded “No. However, I have an understanding, appreciation, and respect for other religions outside of my own.”
I quickly walked away in order to avoid further debate, but she cornered me again. This time, we were back on the subject of travel. I explained to her that I had been to Morocco and for now, I had chosen to return to the United States rather than remain in Morocco with my fiance. Before I could explain why, she told me the reason: “Because America is better”. Once again I had to quickly shut her down and say “Actually, it is not. There are other reasons why I opted to return home.”
As we float around the terms Multiculturalism and Post-Racial, this short dialogue with this women reminded me that we are not post-anything and that our attempt at inclusiveness and tolerance are only on the surface. Considering that the BNP party in England is actually a thriving movement and settlements are still being built on Palestinian land demonstrates that a superiority complex with regards to nationalism and religion is dominant and prominant.
Although I affiliate myself with Christianity, at no time do I put my Christian faith and values above those of my Jewish brothers and sisters, my Muslim brothers and sisters, or any other religion on this planet and that doesn’t make me any less of a Christian. For me however, there is no single Holy Land. Rather, every piece of land I walk on is Holy because God Created it. Call it utopian, but I believe that if we viewed the entire earth as Holy and sacred and all the components of this earth as such – perhaps we would start taking better care of each other and the earth.
As I wrote and meditated on this topic, an India Arie song came to mind: God is Real. I hope you enjoy it. For me, listening and meditating on this song is my word from the GOD .