It's All in Perspective

Ever since 9/11, the Middle East has been viewed as an area of the world filled with hatred, malice, and disgust. Ever since 9/11, the United States has been viewed as a country filled with hatred, malice, and disgust.

It’s all in perspective.


The beliefs of a society are determined by a number of factors, particularly religion, history, and culture. Our history with the Middle East causes both of us to view each other as horrible, wicked, cruel people. But it’s all in perspective. Radical Islamists from Afghanistan bombed our World Trade Center in 2001, killing almost 3,000 people. Our military is fighting in Afghanistan killing hundreds of innocent people every day. We think we are so different from them, and yet, we are doing the same exact thing to them as they did to us: killing innocent people over petty conflicts that are not worth dying for.


However, although both our histories in war are somewhat similar, our cultures cannot be any more unlike. The majority of the Middle East is run by Islamist governments in which Islamic Law rules the entire country. Chief among these laws are those concerning women, which prohibit women from working, going out in public without a burqa, or full body covering, or wearing any jewelry or makeup. Also, men have complete control over their families, and husbands have complete control over their wives. If women were to disobey any of the Islamic Laws or protest against anything in their households, their husbands would beat them, almost to death. We see these restrictions and brutal punishments as horrid conditions and view our culture as supreme to theirs.



But somehow, we seem to forget that it’s all in perspective. The Shari’a, or the Islamic Law, has been in place in the Middle East for centuries, even millennia. All of these customs, including the burqa and the beating of “disobedient” wives, are part of their culture and are seen as natural. We need to understand that just because something goes against our beliefs and our customs doesn’t mean that it’s horrible and should be put to an end. It just means that we need to accept that belief, and in turn, accept that culture. And instead of trying to change those customs, we should be working on ways to improve our own.


If we keep things in perspective, we will be able to see that women being suppressed and beaten for disobedience is as normal in the Middle East as listening to an iPod or watching Meryl Streep be nominated for an Oscar is in the U.S.

It’s all in perspective.





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