A recent trip to the health clinic has Qatar University student Maimoona Rahman wondering about the lines we draw to separate us from them.
Annoyed by the crowds of single men, stinking of sweat, by the lines that take forever to move because no one can communicate their intentions in English and by the general desperation in the air, Rahman analyzes her frustration in a blog post, and comes up with this:
Even charitable people draw a line between how much they interact with the proletariat. They wouldn’t want to sit at the same table, ladle out food from the same bowl, or pour water from the same pitcher. They don’t take their wounds to a hospital that pretty much looks like a charity hospital, because of the imagined olfactory, visual, auditory, and palpable ugliness…
When I see clusters of men in blue/orange overalls, I either feel too sorry or too annoyed. I think it’s despicable that I always need to think in retrospect to come up with an iota of respect for a person struggling to eke out an existence in a harsh foreign country.
I wish I wasn’t such a terrible person. I wish there was some way to redemption.
Does anyone else feel the push and pull between empathy, pity and annoyance?
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