Do you remember Louise Woodward? Neither did I. Well, allow me to refresh your memory as Wikipedia refreshed mine. Louise is the former nanny (au pair) convicted, at the age of 19, of the involuntary manslaughter of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen in his home in Newton, Massachusetts. Louise sentence was reduced to time served (279 days).
I am not interested in the case itself. What I found interesting, or rather outrageous, and the only reason I still remember this case, is the obscene display of prejudice by the majority of two supposedly civilized peoples. Even before the trial started, the British & Americans looked & sounded like spectators in a boxing match. In the right corner, we had Louise wearing the Union Jack, and in the left corner we had the parents of Mathew wearing the Stars & Stripes. And the Atlantic divided the spectators into a side that blindly believed in the complete innocence of the British nanny and another that blindly believed in her absolute guilt.
This stance was an excellent example of how when ignorant patriotism comes in the door, common sense, logic, and even morality go out the window. This also applies to nationalism, religion, color, language, social status, and a number of other supposedly noble reasons for pride & unity. They could easily lead us to the wild river of prejudice which drowns its victims and strips them of their moral obligation to be righteous.
I am proud to be an Egyptian, an Arab, a Muslim, a Woman, a Zamalkaweya (well not too sure about this one), but I make a effort to close all the windows before I take sides.
p.s.#1 To be totally honest, I am not that perfect. When I judge men and Ahlaweya, I leave the windows ajar.
p.s.#2 BTW, another excellent common sense and morality replant is fear. Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this discovery. Politicians made (and used) this fact looonnnggggg ago.