Obsession with change

Sonali Kudva

As I was growing up, my father moved around a bit, and so I changed several schools. Being a new kid at a new school was hard to deal with; everyone trying to size you up, questions, stares and finally, in the end, a sort of uneasy acceptance.

It’s almost like being an immigrant in a new country. Well, not anymore. For all the talk of a global village, world peace and loving your fellow human being, current events show just the opposite of what we’re saying.

I’d love to know why. Did it really matter in school that your best friend was from a different faith than you? I’ve had a Muslim best friend for many years. I never thought anything of it at the time, I hardly even noticed. It was a bonus in many ways, I got to celebrate twice the number of festivals, my own and hers, and we both got to celebrate Christian festivals with other people. We just had more occasion to spend time with each other.

I learned how to make the best kababs from her, she’s a great mother to her kids and a wonderful example to me of everything stable and rational. I was the madcap who tore around doing impulsive things.

But in today’s world scenario, I take a step back and notice the differences between us. She wears a headscarf, I don’t. I go out to the bars, have a drink and party like there’s no tomorrow. She doesn’t. We’re different. We don’t share the same religious beliefs, but we do share the same values. We want to have a good life, be there for our friends and be good citizens.

It still doesn’t make a difference to us, but it does to other people. I feel ashamed when I receive such shameless propaganda with my morning paper, a DVD titled “Obsession,” designed to make us believe that Islam and Muslims have the potential to turn into Nazi-era fanatics. The DVD came with the Sunday edition of the Akron Beacon Journal a couple weeks ago.

My best friend is just an average person, special to me, a good person, a good mother and a good daughter. She is also a good Muslim.

Political propaganda I can understand. Political propaganda that has you fearing that your former best friend could be a neo-Nazi, I don’t.

Sonali Kudva is a graduate student in journalism and mass communication and a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].