Opinions: we’ve all got them. We all want to defend them. We want to sway opposing opinions in our direction. We want to nurture them. We want to encourage opinions in youths and make sure they are backed up with supporting information or quotes from public icons.
We embrace our opinions, and because of them, we have some of the most incredible and heated conversations that go on for hours, discussing the various perspectives to any problem or issue and trying to figure out a solution. It’s a site to see when people from all walks of life come together and discuss a given topic.
The vantage points are amazing, and the way people hold true to their opinions is inspiring. But what happens when this very aspect of our freedom to personal opinion, which we are told to nurture from a young age, is the cause for great divides among the masses? What happens when the fact that people are so caught up with their own opinions causes countries to collapse and cultures to be destroyed?
As a writer in current events and politics, I watch the news constantly. My email is overloaded with updates from various news sources, and my smartphone contains more news apps than games, or any other form of content, for that matter. I have to constantly be on top of current events to make sure I have the latest on any given topic, in any country across the globe.
These days, however, the news is on a trend of becoming more and more depressing. I wake up the morning to read headlines, such as a car bomb going off in a major street in Cairo this morning in an attempt to kill the minister of interior. The Senate has approved a draft proposal for the use of force in Syria, which will most likely lead to an all-out third world war, with Russia and China backing the AlAssad regime. The refugee toll has risen to two million people and counting. These, among many other headlines, will make you want to crawl back into the comfort of your bed and hope that this is all a bad dream.
Then, there’s social media: the place where the gloves come off, and opinions are expressed more freely than in face-to-face conversation and defended to the death. People are less shy and restrictive with their words because we are all hiding behind our screens. Opinions are hashed and rehashed on this incredible forum for discussion with people from across the world.
The headlines plastered across various news platforms are permeating worse and worse divisions between our people. We have now gone so far as to label one another as being pro this or against that. The “us versus them” phenomenon has taken over, and the end result will not be good. When the Ottoman Empire was taken over by colonizers, among the first things that took place was the creation of the borders we have to this day in the Middle East. They remain in order to ensure that colonizers would never come back together and be a threat to Europe. This may be a strange comparison to present day, but in essence, we are being divided not only from outside nations, but also within our countries.
In Egypt, you are either with the military or with the Brotherhood, and either way, someone will be mad and have reason to hate you. In Syria, you are with US intervention or against it; with the regime or with the Free Syrian Army, and the same theory applies. Someone will always be against you and justify reason to call you traitor to your country.
While we throw around our accusations and harsh opinions, casting people aside, know that every time you do so, you are creating a deeper rift between them and us and are only adding to the demise of your country. Opinions are a liberty to have, and we all should make sure to stay informed and not fall into the cycle of ignorance at any moment in time, but at the same time, we must exercise the ability to accept one another and know the right time to stand united.
I will probably be laughed at for calling for peace and unity in the midst of impending doom for countries in the Middle East, but history has always shown strength in numbers. As an outsider looking in, I can tell you that through all the arguments we have and all the discussions that take place, we all have one common goal: the greater good of our countries and people. As hard as it is to imagine, both sides in Egypt believe they have the country’s best interest in mind, and the same applies to Syria. Why else would people be sacrificing their lives if not because they think they are doing so for a greater good?
That being said, I say we put down the weapons and call for peace and unity across the board. Let’s stop trying to prove one another wrong and embrace one another, knowing that we are all fighting for a common goal. Let us go back to a time when we were united and recreate the days when we would not hesitate for a second to stand up for one another, instead of against one another.
Imagine the world free of war and casualties, where people coexist in peace and harmony, and children don’t have to live in fear that they may lose a family member. Imagine a world where the countries that are currently ravaged by war find comfort and tranquility in solutions that don’t include further attacks and more casualties. Consider a foreign intervention that includes talks and negotiations, as opposed to boots on the ground and missile launchers. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine what that world would be like.
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