Tribalism, Tolerance, Remembrance – November 22, 2007

The human propensity for finding differences and similarities between peoples, elevating their importance, forming tribes around them and then committing violence against the “others” continues on many scales and levels of intensity all around the world.

Spin a globe and set your index finger down on any inhabited land mass and chances are, the people there are riven by rivalries, hatreds and struggles for ascendancy, often violent.

We might consider ourselves more civilized and tolerant – wrong. Here in Humboldt County, the point of most of the political dialogue seems to be to demonize those with differing cultural, political or even religious views. Need someone to hate? Just dial up any of the leading blogs and some anonymous host will gladly impart the required demagoguery against their political foes. All the folklore, slogans, and righteous rhetoric you need to be a hit at that next cocktail party with whatever ideological militia you may have signed up with is right there for you.

How far is it from this to putting on ski masks, waving armaments around and blowing each other up? Probably just a few triggering incidents.

Another sad irony is the way we use even the most advanced technology to advance these primitive, anger-based agendas. Remember the bone that caveman threw up into the sky that turned into an orbiting weapons platform in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Aerospace technology, Internet… hell, whatever’s laying around is good enough to hurl at each other.

Fortunately, there are people who are attempting to look past their differences – differences which make our Humboldtian hissyfits pale into insignificance – and instead play up their common humanity.

Abdul Aziz and Nicole Barchilon Frank

Abdul Aziz and Nicole Barchilon Frank in the Arcata Eye office.

Muslims and Jews, for example. In Arcata Dr. Adbul Aziz and Nicole Barchilon Frank regularly pray, socialize and eat and together. Sometimes they make media appearances, too. On the Thursday, Nov. 22 Humboldt Review, we’ll talk to these two very different spiritual leaders and find out how they’ve managed to find so much common ground.

Then we’ll talk to Amy Moore of the Transgender Day of Remembrance about Tuesday’s vigil in Eureka, its history and significance.

Thursday’s show is pre-recorded, so feel free to not call in. But blog comments are always accepted.

Oh, by the way… Happy Thanksgiving!

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