Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Tolerance Looks Like

With Easter upon us, and many people looking forward to adding whatever they gave up 40 days ago back into their lives, its amazing how much of it I’m surrounded by here in Doha.  It’s a Muslim country, right?  Then why the Easter sales?  Why the Easter brunches?  Why the chocolate bunnies and eggs?  Because it’s just another commercial holiday that has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ… partially.

The other part is that the Muslims are actually quite tolerant of Christianity.  Crazy, huh?  My American friend and I went shopping today on the Pearl and realized that there were all kinds of Easter things going on.  When we discussed this with one of the shop girls (Indian) she said “Just wait until Christmas.”  We both said, “Wait… what?”  Apparently Christmas is lights, and pageantry and Christmas trees in all of the shopping malls and gifts, gifts gifts.  Sure, they miss the whole point of it being the celebration of the birth of Christ and one of the largest events on the Church calendar but… they still do it.  We asked if anyone tries to stop the celebrations, or if they’re offended, and she said, “No, why would they?”  like we had just asked the dumbest question ever.

Tolerance isn’t what the US makes it out to be.  It isn’t welcoming everyone and everything with wide open arms no matter how it affects our society, and then throwing a fit when something offends our delicate sensibilities.  Tolerance is saying, “Yeah, we’re a Muslim country.  Cover your shoulders up but please, have the Christmas tree… oh, and do you have enough plastic colored eggs for this weekend?”  They even had a Muslim man on a sign at the mall handing a presumably English man an Easter egg.

When we thanked the girl and left the store she said, “enjoy your religious festival!” (her English was great… but some things just sound funny).  If everybody in Qatar has that attitude then this may be the greatest Easter and then, eventually, Christmas ever.  Sure they use X-Mas to write everything but in chrismons “x” is the symbol for Christ so I’m not too worried about that.  And maybe they’re into the commercial side of it but they’re going to let me have my Christmas… no matter what they personally believe.  And, this Easter, I get to go to Church and celebrate who we want… because this Muslim country is tolerant.  No making concessions for their feelings or being careful not to offend because they know we won’t.  They know if they’re polite about it we will be too. 

Take note, liberals.  I’m feeling more tolerance for our beliefs in the Middle East than I did in the states.

In Other News, I walked around in a $2300 pair of heels for about half an hour today.  They were the “standard” heel height (15cm, which is 5.9in) and were covered in grey crystals (the pink ones are pictured).  The sole of the shoe was coated in silver glitter and I was in love (to be honest, the picture online does no justice to the shoe itself… they’re sparkly and decadent and amazing and not nearly as clumsy as the picture makes them look).


  They let me “try them out” and just asked me to bring them back when I had decided.  Life, and shoes, is good.

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