Towards Tolerance

I used to be very ignorant about faiths other than christianity (and I knew very little about that until I went to christian youth camps), but since September 11, 2001, I have made a conscious effort to learn more about the major religions. I still don’t know very much, but I do know that despite my upbringing that encouraged tolerance and acceptance, I was still ignorant, and a little intolerant.

I didn’t understand why a woman would choose to take the veil, and I was appalled by stories of female genital mutilation, and young suicide bombers being revered as martyrs. And then the whole thing about being rewarded with virgins.

Goes to show that only knowing one side of a story is never going to allow a balanced understanding of an issue. So I started looking for the other side of the story – not easy.

I’ve read “Nine Parts of Desire”, expecting a balanced view of the women of Islam, but was saddened to see that the author didn’t want to bust a sterotype, only perpetuate it.

So if anyone can point me towards a book that shows the other side of the veil, something that can help me to understand why women of intelligence choose islam, I’d be very interested.

This all came up because I read about the Tolerant World organisation at another website.

Here is their mission statement…

To offer young people in Asia the Middle East and around the world – especially those who are already disenfranchised – the ability to join and become a leader in a movement whose ideology they can passionately believe in and through which they can bring about real change in the world. This movement will be a peaceful and positive alternative to the evil ideologies offered by terror organizations and the like.
The Movement’s ultimate objective is to defeat the evil ideology of terrorism, fascism and bigotry and establish world tolerance and therefore peace. All programs initiated by movement revolve around this objective. Currently the following six broad programs have been initiated.

A link to their site here.

Search For Charity

Goodsearch

The first time you visit, you’ll be asked who you want the advertising revenue for your search to benefit. I chose the House Rabbit Society in the US, because their work has a direct flow on effect to my own, and now every time I search using the site, the HRS benefits.

Using the powers of advertising for good – who’d a thunk it ?

How Embarrassment!

On the train to work this morning, a rather dishy bloke seemed to be checking me out. Nothing unusual a few years ago, but not so common recently. I didn’t pay too much attention, I was listening to a podcast, and knitting on the first of the facewashers for Hamish (thanks for the yarn Emma!).

But then he spoke to me. He knew my name, and asked if I recognised him. He did look kinda familliar. Sorta. He said his name was David. At that point I could have sworn we had met before, so I asked him how we knew each other. “We were together for about a year”.

Ouch.

To my credit, he has new glasses, lost weight, had an extreme haircut, and seemed a lot more confident than the man I knew about six years ago. And last I heard of him he was married and living in Arizona. So his appearance in my train carriage was rather out of context. But really, how vague can a person be. Should I get checked out for Alzheimers ?

About The Greens

Since I was old enough to learn about sharing, I’ve been staunchly left wing, and as a youngster campaigned for Bob Hawke (in support of his anti nuclear platform) in the 1984 federal election. Two weeks after he took office, we were selling uranium to the French. I was 14, and after crying myself to sleep for two weeks (I felt I had betrayed people by campaigning for him, I took these things very seriously back then), I gave up all interest in politics. I had felt that I could work for positive change, but a feeling of helplessness overcame me.

Fast forward to early 2003. I had just met the lovely bloke whom I would later marry, and there was an election coming up. I remained disillusioned, but still felt passionately that our democratic right to vote was also a serious responsibility. I asked Mark who he thought I should vote for in the election, and he suggested that the Greens were a good option.

This was around the time that my interest in animal welfare was becoming an interest in animal rights, so I asked Mark about the Greens animal welfare policy. He didn’t know, but looked it up for me and emailed me a link. I read the policy, and agreed with most of it, so I took a look at their other policies, and wondered why I had spent so long having a love/hate relationship with the labour party. I felt like I had found a party of forward thinking, rational, intelligent and passionate people, whose values were very close to my own.

I voted Green.

A few weeks later, Mark and I were discussing an anti war rally. I was planning to attend, and Mark mentioned that “Kerry will be speaking”. At this stage I hadn’t met his family, so I didn’t know that he had two sisters, one of whom is a Greens Senator for NSW. He was SURE that he had mentioned this to me, but “My sister is a Senator” is the kind of thing that a girl remembers. Honestly.

So now we’re married, and Kerry is my senator-in-law. And I’ve joined the Greens and am an active member. I am secretary of our local group, and was part of the Media group during the Andrew Wilkie Campaign for the 2004 Federal Election. We forced the Prime Minister to preferences in his own seat. Bennelong is now considered to be a marginal seat.

I’ve come to know Kerry in this time, and can honestly say that she is an inspiration. Lovely in person, passionate, committed, and compassionate, Kerry has been a beacon of hope in dark times – when the coalition took control of the senate, Kerry maintained her positive attitude saying – “now we have an opportunity to make a real difference”.

I used to be cynical about politicians, to the point that I gave up even reading the newspapers, but joining the Greens, and meeting the candidates has convinced me that they are everything that good politicians should be, and I get a little cross when I hear people say “all politicians are….”. No, they are not. Some of them work really hard, in difficult circumstances, for the betterment of all, not just the people who will re-elect them.

I haven’t met Bob Brown, but I have met Kerry, and I can say that she’s tops. And she knits too…..

Haircut

Picture taken using Photo Booth on my new macbook. There has to be some advantages to working in a mac shop!

Yes, though I should be shopping for furniture so I can continue to organise the craft room, or washing clothes and linen, or doing dishes, or going to SSK, I am pottering around with the lights that Mark bought me as an anniversary present, photographing small furry people, and generally enjoying a day off with no commitments.

Photos of Blueberry and Custard to come.

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