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Remember Reality, Fight for Our Minds

We all have many feelings about the current situation in Gaza. I find it helpful to discharge on these feelings in support groups, as the restimulations that come up can overwhelm the attention of a single counselor. Possible support groups include ones for Jews, Arabs, Muslims, allies to each of these groups, and people of U.S. or British identity.

It is important for us all to fight for our own minds so that we can think more clearly and not be manipulated by distress patterns. Some of the ways we can work on the current events include discharging on

  • early connection and separation;
  • hopelessness and discouragement;
  • feelings of powerlessness (connected first to young people’s oppression);
  • the pool of material* we need to clean up in order to take initiative.

It would be helpful for allies to Jews, Arabs, and Muslims to remember the goodness, smarts, and humanity of all the people living in the region; to not take sides; and to remember that the people of West Asia are natural, longtime allies of each other. There is nothing inherent in their nature to keep them divided. The apparent divisions are the product of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim oppression, racism against Arabs (within the region and globally), and British, Russian, and especially U.S. military action in the region. It would be helpful for U.S. and European allies to discharge on U.S. or European identity and the many roles the United States and Europe play in West Asia.

In counseling Arabs and Muslims, people can remember that for more than a decade West Asians in the United States and Europe have been living under government surveillance and the threat of physical violence, incarceration, and deportation. The United States, in particular, has demonized Arab men as inhuman, dangerous, violent, the most sexist, and so on, in order to justify U.S. military activities in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and other West Asian countries.

These external circumstances show up in the lives of West Asians in our not actively voicing our thinking and perspectives and in feeling angry, distrustful, scared, and at times alienated from our own heritage. Because the oppression of Arabs and Muslims remains hidden in the United States, a good starting point in counseling Arabs or Muslims might be to ask, “What was it like to be Arab, or Muslim, this week?”

Azadeh Khalili
International Liberation Reference Person for
South, Central, and West Asian-Heritage People

Brooklyn, New York, USA


* “Material” means distress


Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00