Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Breeding Paranoia…

Lets all assume for this entry that every human being, despite nationality, religion or culture is pure-hearted and innocent. Let’s assume we all have our own insecurities, fears and our own limited knowledge.

I remember coming to the UAE at 14-years-old, and seeing two ‘brown’ men in my garden less than a week after we’d moved in. I ran to my father’s room and woke my parents up, “Mom, there are a couple of Arab’s in our yard.”

It turned out, the men were hired Pakistani gardeners that our sponsor had arranged, neglecting to inform my father before-hand. They were not Arabs, at all. My eyes were not yet accustomed to the subtle differences of facial features between Arabs and Asians.

For the most part, I was more curious than scared of the two men in our yard. Had I been taught through media and the likes prior to this time that Arabs were to be feared; had I been subject to images of Osama Bin Laden’s filmed threats against westerners, the massacres of reporters in Iraq, I’d have probably been a little more alarmed than I was at the time.

It’s common even now in Hollywood block-busters (the worst movie ever produced is the only one that comes to mind with a name, so please don’t mind the reference), that the parts of Arabs are played out by Asians, or Asians played out by Africans. It’s only recently that I’ve been able to determine the difference. In the worst movie ever made (one I must recommend every adult sees if they haven’t because it’s really that bad and you’ll never forget the urge to vomit while needing to watch it till the end thanks to curiosity about how bad it can possibly get), “Freddy Got Fingered”, there’s a scene where father and son end up in Pakistan. The Pakistani’s are played by actors of African origin, and not Asian. If great numbers of the public could decipher the difference, would the most reputable film-makers around continue to do this? Granted, this is not the best movie to use, since it’s not in any way going to believed by a soul watching, but there are many, many out there that I’ve noticed just haven’t managed to retain.

Now the western public is terrified of Arabs thanks to the ‘war on terror’ among other terrorism, that highlights the horrific deeds of terrorist organizations, the Al Qaeda clips, the alleged Asian hijack attempts, and other such images. Every innocent, pure-hearted soul would eventually accumulate a certain amount of ‘rational’ fear thanks to repeated images or terror always at the hands of a certain skin color, or profile.

It’s not surprising that they’re unable to see the difference between Asians and Arabs. I couldn’t at one time. It’s not all that surprising that they all get generalized, at least not to me. As a repercussion to this, we have the proposed implementations of stricter airport security based on these generalizations; proposals that draw a very thin line to blatant racism. We have anyone speaking a Middle Eastern language, wearing a beard, or even looking slightly abnormal to the western eye, a suspected terrorist in airports. A Canadian doctor was pulled off a Canadian plane recently, for praying in Arabic. A bearded man was prevented from boarding a flight. The stories like this from this week alone are countless.

Paranoia has started to breed.

In response, the Asians and Arabs, being as insecure and innocent as we agreed to assume we all are at the start of this entry, have no choice but to feel persecuted by the whites. Eventually, it’s in human nature to generalize all whites as holding a grudge against all colored people. Asians and Arabs become as paranoid and untrusting of westerners based on this generalization.

Paranoia continues to breed.

It seems to me like under the guise of globalization, peace seeking, and adamancy to stop racism, bias’ and generalizations, the world is heading towards greater divides, greater generalized hate for one another and more terror based on our own insecurities.

Middle Easterners are scared or persecution. American’s must be scared of terror. Is there a place on earth were a soul could feel truly secure and away from possible terror attacks? And would you lacking a certain amount of paranoia no matter where you are, make you as gullible as the New Yorkers were, or even Lebanese were prior to the catastrophic events that showed them terror surrounds us all, everywhere?

What would you rather be; gullible or paranoid? And does either one make you safer?


Blogger S said...

And the, what's the difference between being gullible and arrogant?

2:45 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Gullibly paranoid. But more than that, Prometheus feels repulsed. Ashamed of humanity.

As regards one peaceful place on earth, I'll give you three.
1) North Pole for now.
2) Mariana Trench, also for now.
3) Any other place devoid of homo sapien, for now.

6:07 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...


Fantastic question.


So do I. And I'm sure there are many out there who feel the same.

western guy...

You know, as I read through your post I was thinking to myself, "Maybe, just maybe this guy isn't out to attack me this time, but instead is sharing perspective."

Then, I got to this line:

'So, how about YOU get over YOUR paranoia and see the situation for what it really is. '

To which I'm going suggest YOU get over YOUR hate for me that blinds YOU to what I really am. For the most of what you've said here, had it been relevant to my post, I'd agree with you and I have argued points very similar to your own in the past.

But, nowhere in this post did I mention that it's ONLY Asians that get harassed in airports. (As a matter of fact, I myself had to go through Canadian immigration PRIOR to 9/11 because I was traveling with an American and we were both coming from the Middle East). It just so happens that these are the stories that are making headlines when it comes to airports these days.

In fact, this post is hardly about airport security, at all. It's about international paranoia and what causes it. It's about perspective and how it's made. And it's based on the assumption that under it all, we're ALL decent, despite our differences.

But if you want to stick to the airport security, here's a fact: there's NO proposal right now in the works that points to whites as those who airport security officials need to take extra precautions over, while there IS one in the works based on Asian-looking folks.

8:27 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger Unknown said...

TF: Paranoia or phobia is classified in terms of fear of the unknown, which stems from lack of education & exposure.

At some point, we have all been paranoid to a certain extent but after the right amount of exposure coupled with education, one overcomes their paranoia or phobia. By having said this, I doubt if we would ever rid ourselves of these fears until we accept every human from a human point of view and not based on caste, color, religion & creed. How does it start? Well, it starts right within ourselves, that is if we can identify our self first.

But first, we must rid ourselves from this fear of the unknown and just be!

9:55 PM, August 22, 2006  
Blogger phaedrus said...

i would rather be gullible than paranoid.

if you are gullible, then at least you lived a care-free life of happiness until something bad happend to you. in most cases, this bad thing that happened could never have been diverted anyways.

if you lived a paranoid life, every second was a hell-hole anyways so why does it matter if something bad happened or didn't happen.

12:40 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Prometheus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:07 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Interesting thoughts.

aWoS, the point is who disarms first. I'm willing, but can I trust you to disarm equally or do you still have that machette up your sleeve? No, that bulge in my jacket is my rather large kidney stone, not my Smith & Wesson. That, my friend, is the gazillion wampum syndrome that prevents the simple cure to paranoia from being effected.

1:11 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

SS… And that’s the reason I love you so!

Symphony, well put. I couldn’t agree with you more.

Phaedrus… I’ve always said I’d rather be punched in the face by surprise than know it’s coming a week prior. But at the same time, I can see the thin line between knowing it’s coming and thus creating a way to prevent it and becoming paranoid about it. I think as Symphony pointed out, it’s lack of knowledge perhaps the inability to figure out a secure way to prevent it that creates paranoia…

Prometheus… aWoS? For the rest of it, exactly! But how can we build trust in one another when we’re simply creating a greater divide?

WesternGuy… Since you’d attacked my personal life in a post over on Secret Arabian, and then you came here and made such a sweeping statement in the middle of what I thought to be an otherwise non-confrontational post, I could only see a personal attack here. I’m not attempting to attack you as a person; until I feel you’re attacking me. Since we’re both assuming the same about one another, let’s let it go and let us both assume neither one of us is aiming at attacking the other from here on out, kay?

6:28 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger BionicBuddha said...

Very scary times we live in. Unfortunately all of humanity can share responsibility for our state of affairs...


7:23 AM, August 23, 2006  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Hiya Taint.

aWoS = A World of Symphony. LBS, or Lazy Bum Speak.

Humans are divisive by nature. Sure, I'd love nothing better than Utopia but that's not even a pipedream. We first go 'White v/s Non White' then it's 'American White v/s German White' then it's 'Texan v/s Californian' so on till 'Apartment 1502 v/s Apartment 1503'. And then there's always 'Me v/s You'. You can take these things Man away from these things, but you can't take these things away from Man. Case in point? Rhys has concept blog at A World of Bloggers. He wants to list one blog against each country till he has 'The World'. Pretty simple, cheat-free idea huh? Turns out 3-4guys who submitted their links to him from as many countries turn out to be the same person. Is there a thing at which one won't cheat? Same analogy goes for any attempts at creating 'United Earth'.

As regards paranoia v/s gullibility, hell yes, I know it's better to be whacked once rather than spend an eternity looking over your shoulder. So long as the point in question is 'A Whack'. Now amplify the whack to your fave nightmare, and for good measure apply it not to yourself, but to someone you love. NOW folks, tell me you'd rather take the whack.

10:19 AM, August 23, 2006  

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