Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lenses Part II

Our full script for recording:

J: The lenses I see through are backwards. Instead of composing many different colors and textures into a single image, they take a snapshot of the world and refract it into the many different aspects of my life that make me who I am and affect how I perceive the world. I see the world based on my experience.
My experience has been deeply multicultural. My parents immigrated to the United States from the Ukraine, and their history and culture has become mine. My culture is rooted extensively in the importance of family, in tradition, and in religion. My church is my home and the community is my family. I miss the cool calm of the cathedral, the rich, musky aroma of the incense, and the resonant murmur of the chanters’ voices. My experience has made me curious about the world. I want to know about every culture, and religion, and history on the planet.

J à A: It fascinates me how magnificently different we are; but why can’t we all live in peace with our differences?

A: Why can’t we all respect each other for who we are?...
Growing in a Macedonian family that carefully constructed a bubble of a calm childhood is something I am lucky to have been part of. This bubble was my little world, world of respect for my Christian Orthodox religion; deeply intertwined with the tradition and culture, created ever since I could say Easter or Christmas. I grew up to have a respect for any other religion including the one that is perceived to be opposite than my own – Islam.  
But for some reason, there was always that distinction, that line that separated Macedonians from Albanians  - Christians from Muslims. Something I couldn’t realize and understand.
Then, a harsh reality check came when I was about 5. A terrifying sound, followed by a horrific tremble was just enough to make me realize that the whole world is not how I thought it was – that it is not anything like how my bubble worked. In one moment a grenade fell only a couple hundred meters away from my house. It shook and shattered my whole reality and flavored it with people’s peculiar inability of living with respect for what is different than themselves.
The smoke in the near distance was the first image of conflict that I encountered and constantly come back to. The image that makes me think over and over again about our differences and the possible ways we can accept them.

A à S: It fascinates me how magnificently different we are; but why can’t we all live in peace with our differences?

S:  There are two things I ask myself: first, is there absolute truth to everything? Second, am I culturally biased by the lens I see through?  
In the summer of 2011, I went to a summer camp for international girls in New York State for 7 weeks. As the only girl representing China, the feeling of loneliness and vulnerability struck me hard. I became more and more sensitive to issues related to my country. On a sunny afternoon, a girl from Taiwan told me she was determined do a workshop on how Taiwan was an independent country.
I was paralyzed. Hurt. Enraged. I always believed that there was such a historical and cultural bond between us that it was irrational and impossible to consider us as different countries. But, now, this girl, from whom I could find the most similarities among all the other girls, was telling me that she denied this unity. I was ripped apart.
I spent the next few days in the computer room searching desperately for evidence of how Taiwan and China belong to the same country. Shockingly, I found few. One day I stayed up until midnight only finding an article criticizing how my government was denying the fact only because of its evil will of suppressing Taiwan people. I shivered. The computer room was never as cold. I felt helpless.
On the day of the workshop, I was nervous. I could hear my heart pounding. As the workshop went on I felt sad that we had so many misunderstandings and distrust that built up the tension. At the same time, however, I felt relieved. Because despite the opposite viewpoints, I could still see the connection of culture and humanity that lay across the sea channel and bound us together.
Now my views boils down to a simple hope: I hope that one day the word China no longer has the political sensitivity, but, rather, pride, peace, and a sense of home for all of us.

S àJ: It fascinates me how magnificently different we are; but why can’t we all live in peace with our differences?

J2:  I want to be able to share my experience with others, but I often feel that I cannot. I hate that. I think it’s unfair. I do not want to make my experience yours. I know that you have your own experience, unique from any other individual. I want to not only share my story, but hear about yours too. Differences are what make us special and this world extraordinary. So why do we choose to reject all of the knowledge and wonder, to focus on a minuscule discrepancy? Why can’t we learn through our differences, instead of fighting each other?

AJS: I do not want to make my experience yours. I want to be able to share my story and accept the one you choose to share with me.

No comments:

Post a Comment