Peace Within, Peace Without

I’m nervous about this post, but let’s see where it goes. Today the Seminary is streaming coverage of the Geneva Peace Talks. I’m not attending because my eyes will scream bloody murder if I stare at a screen that isn’t modified for too long.

Let’s begin. Today is the International Day of Peace, and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard. Race and ethnicity is the hottest topic on my Facebook feed this morning, so I’ll post some thoughts on those … although mental health is forefront in my mind.

I read a post from a religious magazine claiming to be apolitical, then turned away in great sadness. It was, quite frankly, tearing a woman apart for her perceived lack of scholarly integrity. Now, I don’t know enough about the history of science to make any statements regarding that issue. They may be well justified, they may be not. I’m quite aware that the Western world made/continues to make claims that other cultures can refute.

What upset me was not the pointing out of flaws in her arguments and so on. That is the nature of the academic world. You publish, your peers are entitled to be critical. In fact, they should be. Take nothing at face value, question everything. So what set me off?

It was the claim that the author of the original paper (which I must note was quite a strong stance to take by the title alone) is a pseudo Indian.

I appreciate the way the academic responder was very clear and concise in how the reasoning made by the author has methodological issues. But, I’m not comfortable at all with the biases by the poster. The post (not the academic’s counterarguments in essence, mind you) attacked the article author as a person. In the first paragraph alone, the poster stripped the author of her dignity as a human, as an Indian. The one-sided battle continues, driving home the point into the reader’s mind that this woman has no authenticity, no credibility, not even is she a true Indian. And of course, the cry that I hear all the time, that she was appealing to the White folks by composing that essay.

I must use strong words for this: Apolitical? My ass.

I also truly despise the term White to describe this Other that advocates against cultural appropriation frequently call upon. No, I’m not denying the many myriad issues surrounding such a sticky topic. I only use it because if I were to be more specific, that action brings on more attacks at me.

Yesterday’s Interfaith service at the Seminary attempted to address the complications of White privilege and cultural appropriation, beginning with truly wise words from a man whose name escaped me. But then the direction changed into serving the main ideology of oppressed groups. I sat there, wondering if anyone caught the warning stated in the opening reflection.

I wrote a letter to one of my professors. Here is a sizeable portion.

It’s quite interesting regarding today’s topic in Interfaith at the chapel today … I must say this: The face of the abuser is etched into the face of the victim as well. In the gathering today, we focused on only one side of the issue, have almost completely ignored the warning before the poem.

The face of the abuser is etched upon the victim, too. The victim, while yes must be supported and affirmed, also plays a part in condemnation. Because of the need for self-validation, of the parts of the portrayed victims, the lesson is overlooked. The lesson proves the humanity of the casted abuser and victim. Remember, the most important lesson of psychology can be summed up into one word with all the denotations and connotations and all the nuances, subtle and evident, all implied; it is this: Context.

Revolution, is that, revolution. Circular. Cyclical. One paradigm gives way to another, and we begin all over again. At no point in human history have people broken this chain that binds humanity.

The critical thinker is responsible for igniting change, and yet … they are held responsible for the interpretation of change. A painting cannot capture a subject’s true likeness, nor can the artist convey all of vision to the experiencer.

+K. Tejai, personal communication, September 20th, 2016.

Readers of Merlight may recognize some of these thoughts written in my previous posts.

Pure neutrality and pure objectivity is a fantasy. Yes, that includes myself as well. I could continue, but my body is demanding sustenance. xd

Anonymous. (2016, September 7). A limited response to Meera Nanda’s essay “Hindutva’s science envy”: Frontline. Hinduism now! Religion, spirituality, heritage. Retrieved from