I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but there is one song that to me forever feels relevant: Carefully Taught, from the Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. One of the verses is as follows:
You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear/You’ve got to be taught from year to year/It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear/You’ve got to be carefully taught
Mohammed Al Samawi was born in Yemen. Raised in a religious Muslim family, he was taught to believe that Judaism, Christianity and anything in general belonging to western society was inherently evil. Then, at the age of 23, he received a copy of the New Testament. This small action started him on a journey of not just acceptance of others, but ultimately forced him to leave his family and his country and make a new life in America.
This book is mind blowing. I had a number of thoughts as I read this memoir. The first thought is that we can overcome prejudice and hate, if we are willing and we have the opportunity. The second thought is that his story feels like it could belong to anyone, regardless of faith or family background. The final thought is that hating someone because they are different feels like a waste of emotions and energy. We only get one spin on this on planet, why waste it hating someone else when you could just go about your business?
I absolutely recommend it.