Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th, superstition, queer reflections and the bizarre desire for a white Christmas

Are you scared or worried? Today is Friday the 13th! No need to freak and fry. All this bad luck nonsense related to this very date goes back to the sad period of the crusaders. During one of their battles against the so-called infidel the Christian army was defeated. It so happened to be a Friday the 13th - and Friday being the Muslim holiday just sealed this date for the Christians as a definite bad luck day and number, cursed by the evil eye of the Muslim enemies, LOL. Nowadays the infidel label is thrown onto anyone who's not a Muslim. Times change. Nice it would be to encounter more acceptance and tolerance and a true love for diversity on a global scale. I'll keep up my vision of unity within diversity, hoping for a more progressive Zeitgeist to manifest than what we experience during these retro-rocker times. It's really time to drop superstition and embrace the other - who would want a clone-ridden world where everybody looks the same, acts the same, believes in only one way of religious interpretation, desires only in a hetero-normative way. Nature loves diversity, it is only a certain section of humanity who gets scared by the very thought. Imagine a garden with only one type of trees or plants - how boring. God in his/her/its creative abundance provided us with more than that.

As queer people how do we deal with our contemporary world where LGBT rights dissolve into thin air, or even worse were being LGBT is all of a sudden once more a criminal offense. Bravo to Elton John who dared to give his queer rap before his Russian concert - it might be his last visit until things turn LGBT-friendly again - but he made an impact. So do numerous others. And the problem is not just Russia or certain other East European countries, or Africa, or now all of a sudden India, and the Islamic world - it can also flourish in the heart of Europe or the US. We shouldn't take LGBT rights, which are human rights for equality as a given or totally safe. What has been gained can also be lost again - see the judgement of the Supreme Court of India. Today I came across some hopeful news that the Indian government will try to fight this.

How can any human being be labeled as illegal, and how can love and sexual identity be a crime? It doesn't matter if the homophobes are Christian fundamentalists, Hindu, Jewish or Muslim fundamentalists, or walking under the banner of any religion or ideology - this is an issue way beyond petty party politics - it has to do with basic human rights. Now scratching the surface of the root of all this homophobia we need to look back in history. Yeah, these homophobic laws originated in Europe and were spread during colonial times. Go and check were the Jamaican law originated, or the one in India, in African countries, in Arab countries, in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago... The list goes one. Why can't certain heterosexuals realize than queer life is not a threat to their lives? But no matter what, we won't dissolve into thin air, we are everywhere - a certain percentage of the world's population just happens to be LGBT or queer, and that is very well that way - imagine we would not exist? Life would not be the same again.

Another thing on my mind today is the absolutely bizarre desire for a white Christmas - no, I don't mean snow in Cairo or New York or Al-Quds - I'm talking about certain white people being convinced that Jesus was a white dude and Santa Claus as well. I'm sorry folks, I got news for you: Santa Claus was actually a historical figure who lived a long time ago in what is now called Turkey. But he didn't wear red drag, that was designed by the Coca Cola company during an advertising campaign in the early 1920's or so. Surprise, surprise! And that ain't all: Jesus was a Jew - he wasn't born in Denmark but in the very Middle East, in other words, he certainly wasn't a white man with his Semitic ethnicity. During a recent visit to Spain I came across all these somewhat corny looking Jesus posters where he was painted like an albino baby or a blond hippie made in Scandinavia. I mean really, he probably was tanned, had dark hair and brown eyes. Is that so bad? Why would people only want him to be white with blue eyes? Of course the package is not so important, it is the message that matters, and he was all about loving your neighbor, the Prophet of love and healing. Fine! But still, it would be more realistic and healthier to embrace a Middle Eastern Jesus! So "Merry Christmas" to all the Christian friends, if you like snow feel free to ask for a white Christmas - this year it seems it even hit some normally unexpected places like Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Turkey. I'm quite open to celebrate anything, but I'm not a snow queen, I like it hot. Sorry. The only times I enjoyed seeing snow was on top of the Andes while living in Cuzco (no snow on the ground there), and on top of the Atlas mountains when living in Marrakesh, or glancing from Granada at the Sierra Nevada (the name says it all). In other words, from a safe distance without the danger of getting cold feet.

I'm invoking a healing dhikr for the entire planet - may all of creation live in harmony with the planet and the entire universe, accepting and celebrating unity within diversity and saying yes to love and a world without fear - Ya Shifa, Ya Salam, Ya Wadud!

I hope this Friday the 13th is a lucky day for you. Be well, saludos wa ishq bashad, Rahal