Expanding the Heart

Whenever I start to write a blog, I wish to accomplish a couple of things: share something that people enjoy reading, such as a nice event, an exciting trip, or even topics like inner peace and peacebuilding.

But often, dark subjects hover in my mind. These dark subjects might be books, like “Born a Crime”, which is Trevor Noah’s story of how he grew up as a “colored” (because he was not fully black) in South Africa. His stories help see up-close the cruelty and tragedy of apartheid. And he tells it with his classic wit yet a sharp and sarcastic message, which I really appreciate.

Or it could be movies like “The Swimmers” about two Syrian refugees who escape the violence in Syria, and undertake the life-threatening journey to get to Germany; their swimming skills literally save them and their fellow refugees; they encounter danger and deception all along the way. However, once there, one of them is able to get a swimming coach and goes on to win at the Olympics as part of a “refugee swimming team”; later on her family joins her in Germany.

Another movie is “The Flood” about an Eritrean who makes it to France across the sea, and then tries to get to the UK. Along the way, he meets a Pakistani young couple, who helps him; the husband dies of sickness along the way, but the pregnant wife makes it to the UK. I won’t spoil the movie’s end about what happens to him, but again, the danger and deception that these hapless refugees encounter makes one think about the depravity we humans can sink to.

Or it could be a movie I plan to watch “Farha” on Netflix…I urge all of you to watch it, and rate it positively.https://www.netflix.com/title/81612982

It is the first time on American TV that the story of Palestine’s Naqba is told, again based on a true story of a young girl-Farha- who witnesses the genocide of her family by Israeli forces. I was not surprised to hear how some groups are trying to get it removed from Netflix; how stingy of them! Shouldn’t we feel compassion for all and allow all stories to be told? Shouldn’t we expand our hearts? We need to hear all stories and narratives of the past, just as we see Holocaust related movies all the time; and the purpose should be to see our common humanity- NOT create more hate against the descendants of the oppressors. It is time for the intergenerational trauma to be healed by turning it into compassion for all, rather than more hate for crimes of the past.

The human story is so complex, sad and joyful at the same time. The sadness- whether near or far- reminds us to be more reflective, more present, more appreciative and more grateful every moment; the joy and abundance reminds us to be humble and grateful and treasure every moment too. So they go hand in hand, as the Quran and other teachings remind us. All we can do is keep expanding the heart to witness these seeming opposites, and seed peace wherever we can.

Wall Street escapee, retired, grandmother, coach, speaker, writer, blogger on peace, transformation and reclaiming our insaniyet (humanism)

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Mino Akhtar

Wall Street escapee, retired, grandmother, coach, speaker, writer, blogger on peace, transformation and reclaiming our insaniyet (humanism)