On Human Relations

In Voru, Estonia before my show, I got into some interesting conversations about immigration. One guy became particularly agitated, saying that he didn’t want his newborn to be exposed to all the Muslim stuff that immigrants are bringing along with them. When I told him that I am of Muslim heritage (and of course clarifying that I’m personally an atheist), he nearly had a panic attack. A big white guy from America? No way. Thought this was a Muslim-free zone. He shook his head a couple of times, got up, and left. So much for empathy and discourse.

A few days later, I was playing a show in Leicester, UK and got into really interesting conversations with an Uber driver from Bangladesh and a hotel receptionist from Sri Lanka. These were such meaningful and memorable moments with super friendly and funny people, talking about our home countries, our new homes, family, Bonobo, and rain (naturally). I was remembering the guy in Estonia who just couldn’t stand imagining a life filled with refugees — and refugees of different color and religion in particular — and thinking to myself how sad it was, for him and his newborn, to be missing out on such potentially incredible human relations. And all it takes is just talking for a few minutes to realize that everyone cares about the same things, thinks about the same things, and just wants to exist in peace and mutual respect — all the same things.