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JustHere | December 1, 2017

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The divisiveness of your toxicity

The divisiveness of your toxicity

A photo of a high-impact car accident spread across Doha’s online community a few months ago. Clearly visible is a large white Land Cruiser alongside a few other small cars. The scene is marked with flames and thick black smoke. Comments claimed that the accident was partly due to low visibility because of a heavy sandstorm.

Without verifying the location of this accident or the reasons surrounding it, the picture spread across Facebook and drew some wild comments. Often with social media, verification is an afterthought. First we share, then we blurt out our anguish, then we realise what we’ve just said and then we delete our comments. From shock to concern, to anger and even hate – everything was laid out. In particular, this comment grabbed my attention:

“this is what happens here when the weather is so bad… and these CRAZY local drivers who tailgate always and drive at high speeds… WHEN will they learn to drive properly? Put them back on camels until they can drive with respect!”

I couldn’t help but wonder, that if this is what we are proclaiming about other people, publicly, then what are we saying in private spaces? What are we revealing about our most intimate beliefs regarding others, when we react in this way?

The comment above is riddled with much more serious problems than just its poor grammar. For starters, who’s ‘proper’ driving do we need to learn here? If this was an accident in London on a very rainy day, where visibility is low – would the comment read the same? Shall Londoners get back on horses then? Otherwise how will they learn to drive respectfully? Right?

 

 I couldn’t help but wonder, that if this is what we are proclaiming about other people, publicly, then what are we saying in private spaces? What are we revealing about our most intimate beliefs regarding others, when we react in this way?

 

Oh but wait. I must be mistaken, for it is us who don’t know how to drive ‘properly’. Road accidents like this probably never happen outside of the Arab world – I’m sure.

It’s no secret that driving in Doha can be very dangerous. It took me years to build the courage to brave these roads. Between frenetic roundabouts which were hard to avoid and electric light flashes forcing me to switch lanes, between cars whizzing by on the shoulder and folks ignoring a safe following distance  – it’s a riot out there. As drivers, we have to be extra alert on these roads. Not just because our own life is at risk, but we are also accountable for the lives of others.

Part of being responsible towards each other, inspires a trust within each of us to also think, believe and speak good of others. For if we continue to think and speak lowly of others, we are reaching deep within ourselves and pervading the world with our own self-disappointment.

Let’s be healthier – for each other. We are capable of holistic, detoxed and healthier thoughts and beliefs. We are.

Let’s go back to the beginning and start over, shall we? Let’s be friends and go for a camel ride.

Respectfully and properly, of course.

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