The other side

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On our second day in Tunisia, I was welcomed by a little boy who walked up to me. He pretended he loaded an invisible machine-gun, looked me straight in the eyes, and said "Fuck you!"
I smiled to him, and walked away. I guess a discussion was out of the question anyways.
A little later, at the medina, another boy told me he wanted to kill me, while he showed me with his fingers how he`d cut my throat.
The next day, a boy/man gave my daughter a very rude comment, and I almost snapped. I had an old, heavy Nikon camera in my pocket, and I could have punched it through his head. I got so angry, I had trouble smiling the rest of that day.
From that moment, I started thinking of the male Tunisians as animals. They were rude, greedy, liars and thiefs. All of them.
The next day, we took a taxi to Tunis. This is a two hour ride, so we got a 10-seater, and left with some other friends. The chaffeur was the coolest! He had a photo of a footballteam (soccer), and it seemed like he was the coach, and his son was the goalkeeper. He acted like a human being. He laughed, he argued (on the phone), we could tell by the tone of his voice if it was his boss or his wife who called! And I started to like Tunisians again. It was a relief....
From that day, everything changed, and I started to feel better about the place and the people.
Some of the locals told us about the conditions many of them lived under, and although I knew about it, I hadn`t really understood the meaning of it untill now.

When we got home, we heard the Norwegian embassy in Iran had been destroyed because of some drawings that had been printed in a Danish newspaper. Later this week, things have gone way out of control, and it looks like someone`s toes has been stepped on. Hard.
I think it`s time to take a deep breath, accept that there are cultural and religious differences, say I`m sorry to those who are offended, and try to include instead of use and abuse.
They have a thousand reasons to be angry, but no right to use violence to demonstrate it.

"What about the photo ? This is a blog about photography, isn`t it ? "
- Well, yes. This is a lady I spotted on the opposite side of the street.

Nikon D-70s Posted by Picasa

It is tough. From what I read, the whole comics thing have been orchestrated by people that wanted to stir old demons on purpose (the original danish newspaper published the cartoons with the explicit aim of making "a statement"). And they fell for it. The violent response (delayed even, the comics were published months ago) was also orchestrated by people wanting to use this incident for their own agenda.

It's bad. My own experience with cultures different from my own is that they are not so different, after all. We all live according to the same basic pulsions, emotions, dreams. We all live through the same everyday experiences, difficulties, problems. As in the case of your taxi driver, at the very base, we are all people.

But there are many things that divide. We don't live in a fair world (and it's not really our choice which side we are born). There are people who play on these differences for their own advantage, and make them more relevant than the overwhelmingly more things we have in common. They slap on our face our differences, and make us forget that we are all family.
Beautifull coments from both of you :-)
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