Story from Arcata

A Message From My Professor

I was running through the main corridor of Founders’ Hall. Today, I have an appointment with my Political Science professor in 1 minutes. I was really late because I went to the Health Center which consumed unpredictably much time. I couldn’t breathe after climbing those long stairs of Preston Hill where Founders’ Hall lies.

Fuh.. !!

Luckily, he wasnt there yet. He noted on the door that he would be back in 15 minutes. Ok! I grabbed my water bottle and drank it passionately. After a while, I grabbed my camera and pointed it out to a courtyard. I was thinking that I just had no more than 2 weeks in this campus, so every time I got chances holding my camera, I would make sure to take some pics around.

He came when I was staring at lots of flyers on a board. He smiled as usual. What a funny and humble professor though he is a political scientist. He asked me to come in and had a sit. The room is not that big since Founders’ hall is an old building.

And as I could guess, tons of files, books, magazines and newspapers were spreading around the room. I couldn’t say it was very tidy, yeah but its ok. Some professors don’t think much of the orders of their stuff 🙂

Talking for some trivial things until he realized that he forgot some files in the class. He asked me a permission to get back there and kindly asked me to wait for a while. Shortly after, a student came into the room to meet him when he was on the way to the class. I told him that he would be back probably in 5 minutes. His name is David, a senior Political Science student. For some business he also had an appointment with him.

We talked several things related to global issues and the governmental system of my country. He seemed very surprised knowing that Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world, and the third biggest democratic country after the US. In a short time, my professor coming in and asked David to wait for a while outside.

We started to talk with the current issues such as Iranian Nuclear program, Israel allies, the 9/11, Islam in the US, terrorism, etc etc. It was a point plus knowing his deep insights about those issues besides what I have heard in the class. He said that the US is still holding firmly of being Israel ally because they do need each other in political and military.

When I asked why most of western countries remain quiet of what Israel has done towards Palestine, he straightforwardly said that it is a very complicated relationship. For the US, they have a “strong” relationship with Israel, and the US has already promised to protect Israel after its holocaust.

Why the west is very strict about Iran nuc? He said it is because Iran didn’t open his nuc program to the public, and they always reject the observation from IAEA. But why the Israel is very serious about this? He said Israel is afraid Iran would attack them using nuc weapon.

And if Israel and the west let Iran develop its nuc program, there is a possibility the nuc war would happen, or the Iran gives the nuc to the terrorist organizations, and that’s extremely dangerous for Israel and the west.

What about North Korea? He said the North Korea allows the world to see their nuc program and they are the member of the countries with nuc program.

I said if it is impossible for Iran to attack Israel using nuclear weapon if the reason is to protect Palestinians because Israel and Palestine are in the same land, and if we consider the huge effect of the nuc itself, then it can be called as a murder attack for Palestinians too. My professor was quiet for a while, then he said that yeah that’s true. Israel might have an irrational fear towards Iranian nuc program.

The conversation paused for seconds because David asked to join in. He said it was so interesting. We then talked more about US government and its role in Iraq and Afghanistan war which those are some of the main reasons of antipathy towards America in the Muslim world.

Since I was from Indonesia, my professor said that “The war against terrorism is not the war against Islam.”

He strongly said to spread this message to Muslim world in order to decrease the misunderstanding. He realized that the American government itself hasn’t spread their real message about war against terrorism effectively.

There were still lots f things we talked about for almost 3 hours. It was very nice to know Americans’ views towards Islam and global issues, and I think this is very important to rebuild up a comprehensive understanding. I mostly heard about those issues through the media or the people in my country, and I barely heard from the Americans itself. Therefore, this rare occasion is very priceless for me as a person from third world country.

And of course this 2 hours conversation goes beyond what I got in the class, or even what I got for a semester attending this class. I was very glad that he was very friendly and willing to talk to me in my so-so English haha.. well at least he understood all what I said and the political terms I used 🙂

Hope this a piece of story can be such a good example that we do need to use our deep perspectives, and go beyond the surface in facing complicated issues. And yes our heart plays an important role too.

Everything can be manipulated in the today’s world, and the media is not a reliable source for us to conclude the things that are happening in this world. Seeing from the surface only certainly wont solve the problem, but seeing carefully and intensely from the surface until the context, and from many sides will make us understand the problem and gain a real solvency. If only all people think this way, I do believe we can decrease the chaos in this world.

******

Arcata, California May 2012.

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3 thoughts on “A Message From My Professor

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