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More in Common

30 Jun

This post is barely about recently murdered British Member of Parliament Jo Cox.

That’s because it’s kind of about how the book x0 was supposed to take place in Saudi Arabia, where my book’s hero, the oil hunting geophysicist Lola, was going to run up against all manner of things she did not understand or agree with, but as a budding telepath she was also going to learn that she had far more in common with those around her than she knew.

peace1Only the book ended up being about Nigeria instead. You see, in 2010, when I started to write it, Americans on the whole considered Nigerians scarier than Arabs. I had just taken a job with a Nigerian oil company where I often worked late in a common room and couldn’t help but overhear the phone calls of my young, male Nigerian co-workers as they called home. These “nefarious” young men spent their free time helping their younger siblings study for exams, assuring their mothers that they were eating well, and telling their girlfriends how much they missed them. I watched them struggle to overcome physical disabilities, inadequate training, and prejudice while noticing that all of that was usually overshadowed to them by their worries for those back home.

And I thought, we could not be more different demographically, and yet how is it that the same things occupy our hearts and minds? It was an eye opening revelation. So, thanks to a handful of Nigerian geologists, Lola went on to have telepathic experiences in Africa, and part way through writing her story I added this to my dedication:

to my Nigerian coworkers and friends, with thanks for reminding me every day how the ways we are all alike are so much bigger than the ways we are different

But this post is only kind of about x0.

That’s because according to The New Yorker’s beautifully done coverage of Jo Cox’s funeral, Brendan Cox spoke about how his late wife had —

“come to symbolize something much bigger in our country and in our world, something that is under threat—her belief in tolerance and respect, her support for diversity and her stand against hatred and extremism, no matter where it comes from. Across the world we’re seeing forces of division playing on people’s worst fears, rather than their best instincts, trying to divide our communities, to exploit insecurities, and emphasize not what unites us but what divides us.”

It was an eloquent tribute, made all the more fitting given that the words she used in her first speech in parliament were

“[we] have far more in common than that which divides us.”

This blog is about the fact that I never heard of Jo Cox before her murder, although I wish that I had. I’d like to write a dozen pieces about her, even though I’d stay away from the subject of Britain leaving the EU because it seems to me to be an internal decision that the people of Britain were entitled to make.

No, more than anything, this post is about Jo Cox’s core values.

And it is about how I believe with all my heart that what she said holds the secret to world peace.

others

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Nigeria, peace

 

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4 responses to “More in Common

  1. Arturo Zinga

    June 30, 2016 at 10:57 PM

    I am at loss why you described the Nigerian young men you work with as nefarious.

     
    • Sherrie Cronin

      July 1, 2016 at 4:25 PM

      Hi Arturo — I was trying to be funny, because the young Nigerian men I had the pleasure of working with were anything but nefarious. I understand that sarcasm doesn’t always conveyed well when written, but please understand that the term nefarious was definitely used ironically. BTW, I just went to your blog and looked around and found your post on smart women. Because I like to think of myself as a smart woman I was ready to be offended, but instead I found the post to be fair and honest. I especially liked the part about how many women want nice guys who are also exciting, just as many men want smart women who are also warm and caring. So …. I’m following your blog now and look forward to reading more from you.

       
  2. Arturo Zinga

    July 1, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Thank you Sherrie for the kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the post after the initial scare lol. I really enjoyed your post but that part had me confused. Glad you’ve cleared that. I also look forward to reading more from you.

     
 
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