Thanks mom for pointing me in the direction of this fantastic article from the Week in Review. I liked it so much I sent the author this email in response:
I have just returned from a semester studying abroad in Amman and I can appreciate the sentiments you express in this article. The vast difference in perspective even between the “liberal” American set and the Arab viewpoint was unexpected at first but it is something more Americans need to realize. I agree that it is important to show both sides of the conflict in equally legitimate light and not to give in to pressure from those who would have their news sources even more biased.
The point that ideas like Zionism can carry such a multitude of connotations is something not enough people understand. Our words matter, and not because we have power but because we are judged for them.
I just wanted to thank you for acknowledging that there are such diverse opinions on the conflict and for recognizing the difficulty of objectivity when everyone is ready to jump down your throat for the smallest turn of phrase or choice of words.
I really think his point is an excellent one; words and ideas don’t carry the same meaning or weight everywhere and this simple knowledge is often lost and usually leads to misunderstanding which is where so many problems lie.