We are all just human beings

We are all just human beings, and we all just want to be loved.

Lessons from Morocco

I have always adored traveling & adventure, but wanted to visit Morocco specifically to become more familiar/comfortable with Middle Eastern/Muslim culture.

The media has done an excellent job creating a feeling of fear around these beautiful people and I wanted to intentionally combat that with firsthand experience. Rather than seeing black vs white vs brown, I want to see human + human + human. Human + human + human over Muslim vs Christian vs Jew. Men vs women, gay vs straight — there are all these labels of division, fear, and hate — but bottom line, we are all human + human + human.

I know that I was only there for two weeks, and my experience is uniquely mine, but I always felt safe. I had the best time ever! Never once did I feel scared or nervous, never once did I encounter anyone who made me feel threatened. My reality was truly quite the contrary: I met men, women and children with kind eyes and reassuring smiles. A teenager on the streets of Marrakech said, with pleading in his voice, “please tell your friends that Islam means peace.” A shop owner in Fès, “I don’t care what you believe, Muslim, Christian, Jew, we are all the same. We are all brothers and sisters. Good people find good people.” A security guard at the airport declared: “and now Morocco is your home too! Please return whenever you like. Please tell all your friends that they are welcome.”

The Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes was found by his disciples digging through the sand on the streets of Athens by the light of the street lanterns. They asked him what he was doing, to which he responded that he was looking for his house key. They all got down on hands and knees to help search, but after hours their search yielded nothing. One particularly exasperated disciple exclaimed, “Are you *sure* this is where you dropped it?”
The Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes

And Diogenes replied,

“Well no, but this is where the light is.”

He then went on to teach that when we’re first learning about a new concept or person or idea, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using only the light of our own understanding/past experience to illuminate this new thing, though usually that’s wildly unfair and will lead us to draw inaccurate conclusions. He then urged his disciples to allow these new concepts to stand on their own, and be illuminated by their own innate light.

And that is my same challenge to you. It’s so easy to meet other people — whether they’re down the street or across the world — with judgment and fear and divisiveness. We judge them by the light of our own understanding and life experience, forgetting that to truly know a person we must swim in the same waters in which they drowned.

My sincere mission and desire with TYU is to continue building a community of human + human + human. A place where we can all come together as one yet each stand separately in our own light.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes
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