I wrote this poem three years ago. I can’t remember what made me write it, but I was annoyed at people insisting that being x religion or born in y country meant you were less human or didn’t know your own mind, so I ende up trying to sort through those feelings in this poem.
you who shout “indoctrination”
at others people’s beliefs,
beliefs you don’t like or agree with,
beliefs you don’t even understand or know about.
we don’t choose which country we’re born into,
nor how rich or poor our family is,
we don’t choose what religion,
culture and customs will reign the home we’re brought up into.
We don’t decide how much love or hate will surround us
and define who we are from the day we’re brought into this world.
You shout “indoctrination”,
but tell me…
if you were exactly in their situation,
wouldn’t you be who they are?
It is easy to say “no I wouldn’t”,
when you haven’t experienced anything like it.
And in a way, you are indoctrinated too.
the habits of your parents help define yours,
and maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision,
but you are shaped by the rules and beliefs
that defined your family and your life.
Most countries define themselves by rules and “values”,
religions do too, culture does too (even inside countries).
Isn’t that in it’s own way, being indoctrinated?
Weren’t you brought up to love your country,
to feel proud of it and the achievements?
Weren’t you brought up to believe in good and bad
(regardless of what you define as good or bad)?
So don’t shout indoctrination,
just because you don’t like someone.
Because you might be John,
but if you had been born in a different setting,
could be Juan or Ian or maybe Yahya.