In 2011 Ann Morgan set out on a journey to read a book from every country in the world. My friend NIT-WIT (that’s a story for another time) linked me to her TED Talk recently to I’d like to embark on the same journey with her and I agreed instantly!
This is what my current literary palate looks like:
Like most people, my literary landscape is quite skewed and in today’s world this isn’t just provincial, it’s dangerous. It pains me to see politicians today viewing the world through their narrow-minded lenses and propagating their prejudices to the populace with a complete disregard for humanity and acceptance.
These misguided perceptions are apparent on the Internet. For example, some people seem to believe that Muslims pray to a “moon god” because many Islamic countries have adopted the moon as their official symbol. This is ridiculous on two counts:
1. Muslims, Christians and Jews (The Abrahamic religions) have essentially the same concept of “God”. “God” in Arabic is “Allah” and Arabic-speaking Christians often refer to God as “Allah”.
2. The moon-and-star was a motif of the Ottoman Empire. Since the Ottoman Empire was Muslim, the subsequent Islamic states adopted this symbol as “Islamic” – it doesn’t refer to their god.
Another example: Google, Ebay, Netflix, Paypal, Amazon and a host of other American companies seem to be incapable of grasping the multilingual nature of the rest of the world. In Switzerland, all these websites default to German when the official languages of the Swiss are German, French, Italian and Romansh. This is such a frustrating experience for the Swiss-French there because a lot of them don’t speak either German or English and the websites that are supposed to be “local” don’t meet the demand of the public. Another problem that could be rectified with a better understanding of the world. But until then, some Swiss are stuck using France’s websites or VPNs to access the content in their language of choice.
The misconceptions that people have about Indians deserves its own post altogether!
The point being that I have first-hand experience with people’s ignorance, and looking at my own literary landscape, I have swathes of untapped knowledge! This year, I shall rectify this grave oversight and hopefully when I return to address this topic in December 2016, I will be a better, richer, more cosmopolitan person.
And so here begins a quest to be a better citizen of the world who cannot be swayed by empty political rhetoric.