In the pitch black, predawn I’m woken up by a beautiful song. It sounds like a hymn of unknown words, carried through the night by a soft masculine voice. The song soon lulls me back in to sleep and a few hours later, when the morning finally arrives, I still carry with me the feeling it gave although the tunes are long gone.
I realize that had I understood the words, I might not have agreed with the message the man with the soft voice was sending. Or maybe I would. It doesn’t trouble me now; this morning I chose to let the song give me the feeling of tranquility.
But how soon aren’t we to judge a certain situation based upon earlier experiences, on something we have read or worst of all, based upon beliefs that aren’t even ours.
In a world full of uncertainties, this becomes more apparent every day.
I got a taste of my own prejudice when I was invited to visit a woman at the infamous Kerobokan jail in Bali a couple of weeks ago. Indonesia practice the death penalty for smuggling drugs and this woman was extremely lucky to get only five years in jail for smuggling capsules of hash in her stomach.
She flew to India with her boyfriend where they got the drugs and then returned to Bali. It wasn’t the first time the woman had been on this kind of trip, but the difference now was that as she and her boyfriend stepped off the plane from Mumbai this day the police was waiting for them.
Now, we all do stupid things in life. We all do the things that we didn’t think about or those we thought about and went with anyway. I’m not the one to judge on that. The thing that got me about this woman though was that she has a child in school. A child that she took the chance of losing, took the chance of being left without a mother, for the sake of a few capsules of hash.
That I don’t understand.
She is not poor, she could afford the best lawyers and I was told that she was not forced in to it. Still she took that risk?! I couldn’t believe it.
So I asked a few friends about their opinion, what should I do? Should I visit her or not? The answer from most of them was – listen to her story, then judge.
I agreed. That was the most sensible thing to do.
But I couldn’t. My values, or perhaps my prejudice, got in the way. So I opted out and decided that I am not the person she needs to meet.
So am I being too judgmental? Perhaps. Are my values important to me? You bet.
And you see, to me there is no story in the world good enough to risk your child for your own greed. None.
I’m sure the man that woke me up with his beautiful song has some values that I don’t agree on, and I’m sure I have plenty that he opposes. I didn’t understand his words, but recognized the feeling his song gave me.
The same is true for the woman in Kerobokan jail. I don’t understand her at all, but I definitely recognize the feeling her actions gave me. And I thank them both for making me reflect.