29 April 2012
The Domain of One’s Identity
Todays overly vast and complicated world is filled with bodies of people and those peoples identities. The nature of one’s self is to find an environment that suites their lifestyle, customs, beliefs, personalities, and so on. We are born and raised in a specific environment that is different from other environments. Most of us grow up here and form our lives around where we live because we know it is conferrable to do so here. But just as some species of animals do, some of us will migrate to other environments to find a space that suites their lifestyle better. But is there necessarily a place for everyone in this complex world filled with complex humans? Sadly, there isn’t a place for all of us. There are plenty of spaces on this world for one to live but not necessarily for one to be happy of live their desired lifestyle.
In 1965 US marine troops landed on China Beach in Vietnam and this the first US to Vietnamese combat that had taken place in the Vietnam war(When). In response to the war the US held a draft where thousands of young men we forced to fight in the jungles of Vietnam. This started a complex problem of space and identity for those young American draftees. Most of the men obviously didn’t want to be fighting in this war and had to change their identities from regular men to practically fierce killers. They had to change their identity’s in order to survive. Not that they wanted to do this but they were forced to. The men were not happy fighting this war. They were so frustrated they started doing unjust acts. Such as the case in 1968 where Jamie Henry murdered 19 Vietnamese civilians, “He reported that he had rounded up 19 civilians, and wanted to know what to do with them. Henry later recalled the company commander's response: Kill anything that moves. Henry stepped outside the hut and saw a small crowd of women and children. Then the shooting began. Moments later, the 19 villagers lay dead or dying”(Turse). Henry’s murder isn’t completely unjust, the space he was in forced him to be a murderer. Once the war was over and the US sent it troops home and they were not treated well by the public. Many people were quite angry about the war and took their anger out on the returning soldiers even though it wasn’t the soldiers choice to fight. It was American diplomacy that forced them to fight. This is another example of people not being able to find a space that is appropriate for them to live in. In this case the soldiers didn’t want to be on the battle field and were not happy in the hostel space, and they had to adapt to that space which makes an person uneasy when they are forced to adapt. Then when they came home, the very place they would like to be, to be reunited with friends, family, and loved ones they are bashed and harassed by protesters. Their home has now been filled with fellow countrymen who despise them for being forced to serve their country. People often get confused that just because you don’t support a war doesn’t mean you have to also not support the troops. This is a perfect example of people who are unable to find a place to live or be that satisfies themselves for their life.
The Middle East has had a history of being the most unstable region of the world. The middle east contains land that is sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The worlds demand on oil has also added tension in this already tense region(Percy). Many people who live in the Middle East are unhappy with the strict ways of their governments. These people want to live as people in the west do but by living this way they are in danger of being beaten, imprisoned, or even executed. A lot of these people migrate to places that are more excepting to their identities. They move to places such as America and Europe. Just like Margie did in the book Persepolis(Strapi). Margie was harassed by her government for having the identity of an American while her home country of Iran was fighting against the Western Influences that the United States was putting upon Iranians. When it came time, Margie’s parents sent her off to boarding school in Europe. But although these people were the exact people she dreamed of becoming like she struggled to find friends. She could not make friends easily because no one excepted her because of her background and where she came from. Most of the Europeans she was with thought of her as a terrorist or an evil person just because of where she came from. All of these people judged her based on the county that she came from rather than the person she actually was. She was both rejected by the people of her own county and the people of the place she dreamed of living. Margie was unsuccessful at this time of her life finding a space that matched her identity.
Although this is really sad we need to tackle the issue at hand. Many people of Middle Eastern descent who live in America are persecuted and harassed each and every day for just being who they were born. They may look different then the stereotyped white American family but underneath their skin most of them are no different then any American. My best friend is named Nibal and his father is from Lebanon(Elias). Nibal told me that out of the last five times his Dad has flown back to Lebanon his father has been pulled aside and checked by security. The TSA (travel security administration) officers claim that this is only a random check but I believe that their claim is a lie. My father, a “normal” looking white man, travels quite frequently for his business and he has never been pulled aside and had one of these random inspections. Americans are scared of people of middle eastern descent, although these people they are scared of may be just as American and patriotic as they are. The airport seems to be quite a difficult space for middle easterners to be conferrable in when everyone wonders if they are going to be the one who blows of the plane they are on.
Most of us whether we believe it or not look at people’s appearance instead of looking at their identities. The space in which we view these people determines how we look at these people. Unfortunately many people cannot find a place in this world that is right for them. The examples that I have shown are just a few of many groups of people who cannot live the way they wish just because the people in the space they try to live reject their identities. Everyone in this world deserves to live in peace, in a place where he or she does not have to worry about changing themselves just so that they can be accepted and not looked down upon by the others around them. From the troops sent to Vietnam, Margie who explored Europe, and the Americans of Middle eastern dissent they all have in common the lack of a space to be accepting of their identities weather they were born with that identity of not.
29 April 2012
Turse, Nick, et al. Civilian Killings Went Unpunished. Los Angels Times, 2006. Web. 27 April 2012
When did the Vietnam War start and end? Wiki.Answers, 2012. Web. 27 April 2012
Percy, Norma, et al. BBC Documentary: Iran and the West. Iran Press Watch, 2009. Web Film. 26 April 2012
Elias, Nibal. Personal Interview. 28 April 2012
Strapi, Marjane. Persepolis. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003. Print.