My friend Salwa is an amazing writer; passionate and smart, she really can get her thoughts across in words. At UIC, she is writing for her school paper, and just recently was published for an article she wrote in response to a man who basically blamed Islam for all of society’s ills. What did I learn from her?
Eloquence speaks louder than hate.
The initial article was somewhat intelligently written language-wise, but where he went wrong was his overarching tone of disdain and hate. I will never understand hate for hate’s sake. As people, we owe it to one another to give our cultures and beliefs a chance. Salwa, a mix of Indian and Saudi Arabian Muslim, and myself, a European Jew, have many points on which we disagree, most concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We have had heated discussions that usually end up with us agreeing to disagree, lest we rile each other up too much. Despite our passion for our various opinions, we never forget respect.
I may not agree with all of Salwa’s views, but she is a very close friend, and as such she is deserving of my tolerance and respect. Hell, if she was just a classmate or a mere acquaintance she would deserve the same thing. Publishing an article bashing her people and generalizing about her faith would make me not only ignorant, but a poor friend indeed.
Salwa’s rebuttal was well-thought out and respectful. She refuted the other side without incurring the same arrogant tone that Mr. “All Muslims are Evil” so aptly took on. Though she received some challenging comments as a response, I know that she will continue to speak eloquently to grind them into the proverbial dust, albeit in an educational way, of course. I am proud of her for defending her faith as well as her integrity as a journalist. She knows that the best way to inform is to maintain her credibility by not making broad, sweeping generalizations. She seeks to inform, not to tear down.
Needless to say, I am proud of her. From just a high school Opinion’s columnist her sophomore year, to a real columnist in a university publication, her writing nor her character have suffered any worse for the wear. Keep making us proud, Salwa!