We live in an age where equality and fairness are no longer utopian ideals of the minority but the insistence of the majority. We have our predecessors in humanity to thank for their heralded work in attaining equal rights regardless of gender, race, religion or social standing.
You only have to look at the high level of student participation in the recent workers strike on campus to realize that we all seek equality for ourselves and for our fellow men and women. Whilst we can celebrate these achievements and pat ourselves on the back for being the most just and fair world there has ever been, negative consequences have been reaped.
One of these consequences is the decline of small common courtesies such as opening the door for someone. You only have to walk around campus for a few minutes to realize that this courtesy rarely takes place amongst the majority.
The library is a prime example. The doors to the library are heavy, requiring most of us to put a conscious effort into getting them open. They are also twin doors, meaning one person can be exiting the library as you enter.
Rather than just watch them struggle pushing the door open, be kind enough to pull from your side, let them go through, look behind you to check no one else is coming, and enter the library knowing you put someone else before yourself. It is particularly frustrating to see someone walk through a door and not look behind him as the door slams into someone’s face.
No one is in such a great rush as to not pause for a moment and look behind them, or in a great rush to not at least offer to let someone walk through the door before you do.
Sadly, however, that appears to be common practice at AUC. That was considered rude a century ago and despite all our progress in achieving equality and fairness, we as a generation appear to have lost some of our politeness.
Once upon a time you could approach a door, find someone else on the other side, and you would both stand there for a minute saying “No, please, after you”, “No, please, I insist, after you”.
Now all you find is someone sticking their palm on the door, not making eye contact with you, and you find yourself wondering if you in some way offended that person for them to not acknowledge your existence.
If you find yourself going through a door and someone else is going through the other side, remind them of the old days, beam a big smile and let them go through. Hopefully they will say thank you and pass on the favour a short while after.
I congratulate the student body of AUC for showing tenacity, sensitivity and hard work in the workers strike. Now all we have to do is use a tenth of that effort and remind ourselves to open doors for our fellow AUCians and show we are not just all about the big issues because sometimes the small things are just as important.
Ahmed Kadry, ECLT graduate student