Not a day passes without someone accusing you of not including his or her issue in your talk, write up or act. Per the legend, only a woman, Kali Maa could perform many tasks at one time, she has multiple heads and hands to do that. When Obama speaks, no matter how good his presentation is, there is always a group - anxiously waiting for him to recite their name, and everything else is meaningless to them if their group is not mentioned.
It's not only Obama, everyone in the community service, a Pastor, Pundit, Imam, Father, Rabbi, Gyaniji, Shaman or a religious head is also put to the same tests. During the month of Ramadan, I have heard a few Imams who drag their prayers to include every representation, and take a very long time to recite such inclusive prayers, yet that would not be enough.
You are not an exception to such treatment and neither am I, and here is my experience.
One of the three major annual events we hold is Holocaust and Genocides. Given the 2 hours program, we divide it up into three segments; 30 Minutes for Holocaust and 20 minutes for a Genocide (of the 50 Genocides on our list), and 20 minutes for a Massacre, the rest of the time goes for other chores.
Two years ago, we included a skit in the program to knock off the consistent complaints. In the skit, I would go on the podium and start speaking, “Today, we are going to talk about Holocaust, Sikh Genocide and Gaza Massacre… “Immediately an individual who was assigned to play my father’s role would walk up to me and slap hard on my face… and I fall on the floor.
He takes over the microphone and says, “I cannot believe you my son, I did not teach you to exclude others and talk only about yours.” I get up from the floor and grab the microphone and recite a long list of names about 25 Genocides until I ran out of breath…. and fall again.
He grabs the phone again and says, “Oh I see now, sorry my Son, I did not realize you can pack only 25 names of Genocides in one breath and not all the 50 on your list.”
Those who do not show up to the events always complain that, “Mike you are biased, you did not include Kashmir Pundits or the Bosnia Genocide… My eternal question to them is why did you forget Rwanda? Why did you forget Pol Pot? Why did you forget…?
In the last 9 years, we have been able to talk about 12 or 13 Genocides, but always show the entire list on the screen, even then there are Genocides we don’t even know about. Indeed, some day, I will write a book about dealing with some of the most difficult situations with different communities; – Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jews, African Americans, Native Americans and others.
The first time we put the program together in 2006, a few members (just a few) of the Jewish community were on the edge and concerned about bringing up Palestinian Massacres (Sabra and Shatila). We do talk about every one, we must see the inhumanity embedded in all of us to reflect and find solutions. God has always been good to me and guided me during that critical moment in the opening speech, in my invocation, instead of naming all the Genocides and Massacres, I called on a silent prayer and asked people to pray for the Genocides and Massacres they knew, to make it an all inclusive event. There was a sigh of relief on the faces of those few, wow! Silence is Golden.
Now coming back to you, (the man who sent an email about me to groups) you can deal with one issue at a time. The Yoga was the issue and that is what we dealt with. If you want to talk about Kuwait Massacre, why didn’t you mention other massacres including Charleston Massacre? If you go to one of the Chinese buffets – why don’t you eat each one of the 72 items they have placed on the table?
When you leave early from a party – do you go to every one of the 50 fellow guests and say goodbye to them? If you do, I’ve to learn from you.
Let’s be contributors and not complainers.
Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links atMikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com