Respect

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’ve recently discovered an interesting fact about my thoughts and experiences. I’m not certain if it’s the result of recent struggles in life or if my mind is simply compartmentalizing ideas due to this column, but my thoughts all seem to lead to a universal theme, as if the universe is demanding that I hear what I am to hear and learn what I must.

In the weeks leading up to this month’s column, the theme has been about diversity and respect. I wrote a note to myself with this question about three weeks ago; “Are we divided, or do we just have a lack of respect for each other’s differences?” At the time I did not have a plan or even an idea of what the next column would be about, but in the days that followed, it all became very clear.

Whether it be in our country or our Arabian community, it is hard to find a conversation that does not express a lack of regard for each other’s feelings, wishes, rights or traditions. We tend to criticize, condemn, and complain about that which we know little of. The less we know, the more we believe; the more we believe, the more we criticize, condemn and complain.

“We must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.  Audre Lorde

Last night in my final act at procrastination in writing this column, Mitch and I turned on the movie, Freedom Writers. The hair stood up on the back of my neck during a scene about the Nazi regime; “You think you know all about gangs? You’re amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame. And they started out poor and angry and everybody looked down on them. Until one man decided to give them some pride, an identity … and somebody to blame. They took over countries. You want to know how? They just wiped out everybody else. Yeah, they wiped out everybody they didn’t like and everybody they blamed for their life being hard.”

In 1933, the Nazis opened their first concentration camp, in Dachau, Germany, to house political prisoners. Dachau evolved into a death camp where countless thousands of Jews died or were executed. In addition to Jews, the camp’s prisoners included members of other groups Hitler considered unfit, including artists, intellectuals, Gypsies, the physically and mentally handicapped and homosexuals.

To some, the reference to the Nazi regime regarding our current condition may seem extreme, but I believe there are lessons to be learned in many aspects of both our world history and the history of the Arabian horse that can help us detour from this current path of destruction.

“To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.”  Bono


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