The Walls



When I was going to high school, I was, without being aware of it, surrounded by a wall. This wall was constructed in ten years by my parents, my family, my teachers, and the society. The construction began on the first days of my life by naming me in a special religious ceremony and took shape with others instructions added to that base. So, I was encircled by a wall, and I believed that I was right, but all the others out side the wall were wrong. With passing time, and the events that happened, I found that I couldn’t tolerate the wall. This feeling urged me to study for the essence of this kind of wall and at least I succeeded in breaking the part of the wall around myself that separated me from others.


Outside our wall there was another world or worlds, other kids, other ceremonies, other parents and other teachers that caused other kinds of walls around other kinds of persons, and they also thought that they were right and all others out of their walls were wrong.


It happened that I and one of the kids from the outside of my wall, we two from two different districts of the city, were sitting side by side in a row of seats in the seventh grade class in high school. Soon we became friends, and we reviewed our lessons together.  Two kids, my new friend and I, graduated from two different elementary schools, at the same age, and sat side by side in a row seat seemed quite normal. At first I didn’t know about the fact that we were from two different cultures. The only thing was that my friend didn’t show up in religious law classes. Although I was not nosy, his absence stimulated my curiosity, and I asked him for the cause. No, he didn’t belong within our wall. Yet, I found that he believed that “He was right and other people out of his wall were wrong.”  When I compared his “I am right and other people outside of my wall are wrong.” with mine, I found that at least we both were telling the same thing, but with two completely different results.  As a kid I thought that at least one of us or perhaps both of us should be wrong. In spite of this big gap between us, we were friends and had helped each other in our study, and we had seen nothing wrong in the last few weeks. Then we discussed and decided to continue our friendliness without caring for the contemptuous look of residents of inside or outside of the walls.


We exchanged  and compared our knowledge about the inside of each wall, and after a detailed discussion we came out with the idea that at least our differences in opinion were not so important that they could prevent us from being friends. We decided that each of us could have his own ideas, and each one would practice his personal religious rites. So, the wall between us collapsed spontaneously. Then I was encouraged to go further and study more about the problem. I studied the history of the religions and the history of our own religion. I found that the origin of all the religions is one, but people have added supplements to them and enclosed them in walls and disseminated the seeds of hatred between the people. I am not obliged to follow them.


An unimportant happening that put me on the side of a kid whose culture differed from mine urged me to consider our differences, and after a few years of studying I found that all of this or that kind of strong walls built around us are fake. Now I feel myself free, and I don’t believe in the walls that separate people by any means. I respect people without considering their belief, and I expect the same behavior from them. And I believe that if all the people accept this manner many of our problems would be solved.



Mohammad H. Zahraie

April 23,1997


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