The fear of judgement
Like Tunisia, Middle Eastern countries are incredibly different. When in Tunisia all you can do is seek knowledge and discover the essence of culture. Though what you see on the streets is not all the mystery to unfold, what you learn from people is way more alerting than ever before.
In a Middle Eastern country it is undoubtedly noticeable that conversing is a part of the Arabic culture.
Topics are more embedded than what meets the eye. You can never fully get a grasp on the latent content involved because, quite frankly, no one ever does and no two individuals ever agree. Whether it is in this part of the world or anywhere else on the planet, opinions are always diverse and rarely share common ground.
Religion, politics, and sex are three taboos. It is very critical to bring up or discuss these in public—unless you were in an intellectual gathering with academic, multinational individuals. These topics are the ones that ignite an untamable fire and create a discussion that never ends. Most of time, they turn into violent disagreements or end with a physical altercation.
Though a controversial topic, being in a one—religion country doesn’t lift the confusion off the table. Even though we are all Muslims, most never agree on facts. As understandable as religious tolerance is, almost no one seems to agree when it comes to execution and to what extent one could be tolerant. Though we all are Muslims, discussing Islam has become a topic everyone avoids by fear of involvement in unnecessary quarrels or a disagreement no one has the power to solve or undo. Thus, we all consciously avoid talking about it, and most often, avoid even thinking about it, so that we don’t cage ourselves into doubtful questioning as we drown in a circle of distrust and confusion that no one could ever get us out of.
Therefore Religion has always been an avoided topic, denied and most times, totally absent from conversation. From fear of judgement, disbelief in one’s faith, and maybe fear of the outcome, believers and nonbelievers, religious and non-religious people, both alike, shy away in their tiny shell and live their lives scared to be who they are, to claim it, to broadcast their true self. If that is what taboos are created for, then that is a reason to undo them, to deny the undeniable and embrace our spiritual identity, as we believe it to be.
As such, sexual orientation is a taboo we’re not only missing, but a whole world of knowledge that third-world countries are turning a blind eye to. Whether we like it or not, most of our teenage and maturing generations, are undoubtedly diving blindly into a severe unknown world of chaos, a world in which we have no intangible grasp. Yes, social media is evolving, and yes, youngsters do hear about these things out and about before even reaching puberty. But, don’t we have the moral responsibility to guide them? To direct them? Isn’t that what parenting is all about? What education is all about? If we want to prepare responsible individuals to the world of adulthood, we might as well take it on our account to introduce them to the fundamental transformation, of what being an adult actually means.
I’m not suggesting that we get insensitive or too upfront about it, but at some point we have to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. A simple procedure that could only start with mere acceptance, that Taboos shouldn’t exist and not talking about this crucial part of being a human being, part of what makes us us, pops the question: how are we supposed to know ourselves? Wouldn’t we be doing human kind a big favor by cutting the unnecessary prejudices and be openly and intellectually expressive about our ignorance and, for once, start knowing ourselves, discussing our issues and short comings and embrace what truly means to be a physical being? I’m not saying that we should throw away our spiritual existence, but we should make one serve the other, use our intellect to reorient and venture into the marvels of our physicality and discover what is it all about. Why is it there and how can we use it to the betterment of human kind?
Theoretically, if it might be, sexual orientation classes could be a good start to deflect developing countries’ values and at last embrace the fact that knowing takes no value from being religious or conservative, it only transcends that value, bringing us more in touch with our inner selves.
We are made of physical matter, as we live in a physical world. So we might as well venture in our physicality and understand what it means to be human. Getting in touch with our human nature is no shame, or disgrace, or taboo; it is, on the contrary, our aim in life. Simply, not doing so, we’re denying ourselves the ability to be what we were made to be. What is a better way to start with what creates generations? And how would it diminish them if we would not know anything about it?
I only pray for this to be an awakening call for those righteous individuals who think it’s okay to think about sex all the time, want to do it most of their time, yet never talk about it and most times know nothing about it. It is a call not to preach at your kids, telling them what to do and what not to do; because, guess what, at some point they’re going to do it anyway. So you might as well teach them how to do it right and trust me they might even thank you for caring, other than ignoring you all the time.
That being said, politics is the third taboo. From attending a fair amount of conversation hours, where different topics are discussed, I just can’t help noticing how every gathering, that brings up government, law reinforcement,voting and personal choices, a boom of ideological disagreement bubbles up, and ends up with an explosion of provoking thoughts, which citizens from the same country can’t come to agree upon. Even the ones who happen to believe in the same agenda begin argue about their perception of that particular party, the one that we all pretend to have voted for, while no one really knowing what it is really about.
And this is something I’ve noticed going on everywhere around the world; whether Tunisian or foreigner, in a circle where politics is to be discussed, probably more tolerance would be projected with the more diverse gathering—considering that difference is already there to begin with and everyone just agrees that we don’t come from the same background or political spectrum. Thus, we can’t build a common ground—no matter how hard we try. Yet, if we are all of the same understanding, compatriots with only three to four ideologies, ones in which there is really no more than two disguised in a multitude of directions, things only come to rise and evolve. Soon we are finding out that each of us has his own political agenda and no one even knows what the government is all about. We’re so caught up in disagreeing, that we build up the utopian political agenda that each of us wants to implement and fight about how right and wrong it is. While each is only trying to implement his own constitution and make of it the public political movement, no one comes to vote for anyone but himself.
This phenomenon has made political and ideological discussion a topic that we better not discuss, knowing that we all agree to disagree on what we all secretly voted for anyway. A discussion though needed, is highly avoided. Is it wise not to know? Or, is it fair to save time and energy discussing topics that are only personal and private in the first place?
How many more taboos do we need to keep us from expanding our horizon and evolve in our human existence? If you know any other taboos, do comment bellow and tell me what you think?