I have been at a loss recently as to what to write on here, but it seems almost obligatory to write something in relation to Thanksgiving. So, following, naturally, is a list of some of the things I am thankful for...
First of all, the usuals - which are too often taken for granted:
A roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear, people who love me...and the fact that I am lucky/blessed enough to live in a society where freedom is a fact of life.
You see, when I began writing this post (it's been on hold for a couple of days and it is now currently the 14th...shhhhhh.....) I had just finished watching Afghan Star, a documentary detailing the experiences of a group of Afghans who attempted to create their own version of the popular Idol series that airs in many different countries. This film drove home for me yet again the circumstances in which so many people are forced to exist and I cannot imagine what it must be like to be unable to express yourself freely and display your talents without risking your life by doing so - literally. The contestants, and even the host, of Afghan Star were subjected to a wealth of repercussions for their behaviour, which was deemed by their fellow countrymen to be inappropriate and sinful. These negative consequences included death threats, eviction, stigmatization for their families, and the inability to return to their hometowns, amongst others. Some of the people involved in the TV production were actually forced to flee the country once religious leaders had determined that their actions were in violation of Islamic laws.
However, apparently self expression through various forms of art are not equally repulsive. According to random citizens polled in the streets, song and dance are judged separately...while some are of the opinion that they are both taboo, others say that "singing is fine - anyone can sing, " but for a contestant to dance or "move" on the stage is scandalous. It also lets the public know that they are "loose" and deserving of scorn.
Silly and pointless as many reality TV/contests are, I find it unfathomable that there are people in the world who have to live in fear for displaying their artistic talents. I mean, obviously I am aware of this alternate reality, but just thinking of the opposite ends of the spectrum from all the outrageous ways our society encourages (or at least tolerates/allows) self expression, in comparison to the restrictiveness of the current Afghan culture, which prohibits such - generally demure, in contrast (unless you include some of the more pornographic music videos aired daily) - actions as public singing and dancing, is hard for me to wrap my head around. Yes...I have lived a relatively sheltered life, and prior to my move out west, even more so...
So, I reiterate: in addition to being incredibly thankful that I live close enough to some extended family to have been able to visit them and sit down to Thanksgiving dinner together, I am also infinitely grateful that I have the freedom to express myself any way I choose and to practice any art form my little heart desires.