| Photo © 2013 Jed Beadle |
While a young American was enjoying himself in Zapatista country in Mexico, his friend was worried about his safety. She told me, “He can be kidnapped for ransom. It has happened there.” A comment on the young man’s Facebook page also said, “Zapatistas are known to kidnap gringos.”
Is it true, or is it influenced by propaganda?
I googled the Zapatista. They are revolutionary leftists, who have been seeking indigenous control over the land. Their major weapons are mass media and the Internet. I could not find any record linking kidnapers to the group. According to an article on the Christian Science Monitor, criminal activity, if they dare mix themselves in, could only jeopardize their meager existence because it would give the Mexican government a reason to attack them.
It is true that abductions of foreigners have soared in Mexico in recent years, and tourists should be cautious there. However, I believe that Zapatistas should not be blamed for it. Moreover, we should not assume what they do, based on what little we know of them.
When the young man returned to South Dakota, he told me, “They are sad, sad people.” Who would not be in the land where little ones die from curable diseases almost every day?
To know more about Zapatistas, watch A Place Called Chiapas.
#153 Fear, 2010, oil on canvas, 42x24"
Listening to a pro-dialogue discussion on Being this morning, I recalled the following:
As a young anti-gun supporter was feeling isolated among his friends in a pro-gun state of South Dakota, he visited me to hear my encouragement. While I was relating to him who supported his stance in this conservative town, my housemate came home. He immediately began to yell, “We need guns! We need marshals!” The young man and I hushed our conversation while the housemate was getting ready to go to gym. When he left, we uttered, “South Dakota is backward because of people like him.”
There was no dialog in the account, and it only deepened the gap between “them” and “us.” I assumed that my housemate was not going to listen to us. We had no respect in his opinions, either.
It is easier to shut “the other” out. However, in order to reach a middle ground between two opponents, we need to exchange dialogues. In the future, if I encounter a situation like the above, I shall respond and listen to “the other” openly with the willingness to change my opinions if he/she convinces me so.
On Being, Krista Tippett asked her guest speakers, “What is it in your own position that gives you trouble? What is it in the position of the other’s that you are attracted to?” I will keep the insightful questions in my mind.
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