Do you hate Omar?

Who are the bad guys?  

A recent response on one of my Facebook posts was how there were people in the middle east partying and jumping for joy when the Twin Towers were knocked down in September 2011.  I have read articles on how children in some countries in the middle east are taught to hate the 'West' particularly the USA from a very early age.  I've lived in both the USA and Canada.  No one much talks about how people in these two countries are brainwashed to hate people from countries like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.  To me, there is very little difference between the hate taught in one place and the hate taught in the other.  I know many who would argue this.  I'm sure their argument is "I would not kill or set a bomb like those who live in Iraq."  Well, most of the common people in Iraq would not do this either.  I've read a number of books by people from or living in Iraq that deplore this kind of thing.

To hammer the point home on how underlying the hate can be even in Canada even, check out the story of my friend Omar.

Omar is Hispanic.  He was born in Canada but both parents are from Mexico. They are not from the Middle East and they are not Muslim.  Omar is a salesman.  He does a lot of phone sales - he's pretty good at what he does.  He is quite competent and personable.  For a while when he was on the phone he would introduce himself as Omar to his prospective clients.  Many would wait for an opportune moment to hang up and then call back later and ask for another sales person.  They were interested in the product but would not speak to him because of his name.  Omar found this out from other salesmen in the office.  When one of his people called in the other salesman could see that Omar had talked to them and wanted to transfer to Omar.  The customer would say no, that they wanted another sales person.  Once Omar found this out he started introducing himself with his last name and this activity completely stopped. 

I asked him if the 'hang-up' on the name Omar was just one or two people and he said it happened a lot.  And it never happened once he used his last name only. 

So, do you teach your kids to hate?  Are you any better than the Afghanistan father who lost a child to US bombing and curses westerners to his family?

I don't think so. 

There was a great program from TEDtalks on how Israelis and Iranians were getting in communication at a grass roots level.  They both shed off the conditioning that they got from their respective governments and just started talking to each other. 

You can see this here: Israel and Iran

So get a pen pal or find someone on Facebook in a country that you normally would not and find out about the person.  Become friends.  No one wants to bomb their friends.  (I hope)

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