I have lost count of the number of times I have heard those of Islamic faith vilified. This alarms me but does not surprise me. Much the same, the election of Trump alarmed but did not surprise me. Why was I not surprised that a xenophobe/racist won the election?
Generous estimates say that about 46% of Americans hold a valid US passport. Estimates also say that less than 5% of Americans have traveled overseas. Than number drops precipitously for non Westernized countries. Without direct experience of other cultures, one will generally rely on hearsay, innuendo, and exaggerated stories to define their understanding of reality around the world. I blame these people for living in the cesspool of their own ignorance.
I understand that not everyone can afford to travel travel to obtain first hand knowledge, but everyone has access to books. Everyone can go to the library, find a work of fiction written by an author in a foreign country translated into English, and read about life in those countries. Everyone can but few do. They are content to remain ignorant, content to see the world through a hugely distorted lens contributing to their own xenophobia.
Those of us who travel AND take the time to befriend people from other cultures understand, at the core, people all want the same things. We want to be happy. We want our families to prosper. We want our children to surpass us in peace, joy, happiness, fulfillment, and love.
I believe wanting to love and be loved is the most universal of human needs. And it’s a desire shared by all peoples….universally. Except for the superficial sartorial choices, the couple in the picture could be anyone, anywhere in the world. It could be my wife and I. It could be you and your significant other. Because love is universal.