It is said that Abraham Lincoln had confided to his bodyguard the night of his murder that he had been having dreams of being assassinated. He met his fate at the Ford’s Theater at the hands of one John Wilkes Booth. Shot on the 14th of April 1865, and died the following morning. This is a humble sketch work in Abe’s 146th anniversary.
You would think that 1,432 years after the last Heavenly revelation that God would, at least, give us a clue as to where we’re heading. Isn’t it just astounding that a little more than fourteen centuries after Islam was revealed we’re exactly where Christianity was in the Dark Ages? It makes one wonder how that could happen when we’re supposed to, as Believers with such great teachings, take the reins of humanity and make life.. godly.
In our attempts to pinpoint what went wrong, we spill a lot of innocent blood – and that still continues – along the way. It is the price anyone pays as a fee for wanting to find out a little bit of truth. And rightly so. But here’s the thing: the fight isn’t with evil, Satan-loving non-believers. It is actually with people of religion. And it gets worse, because the fight is among individuals of the same religion, the same faith.
Is it God’s fault, then, that everything is in chaos? Keeping in mind that blaming God for the dysfunctional mechanism of Religion is simply asking for the easy way out. Let’s face it, we have the tendency to blame others for things we don’t understand; that is intrinsic, it’s understood. Plus, blaming ‘higher management’ for things it ‘should have done’ is the closest we can ever get – sometimes – to solving our problems. So we are still left with this dilemma: is it really God’s fault that Religion isn’t working as it should be?
Most religious people are thin-skinned when it comes to criticizing their religion, but beneath that defensive shield, nobody truly cares to consider why it is backwards ever since the Prophets and Messengers left the battle fields, all battered and bleeding. And those who do give it a moment’s thought are coming up with various irrelevant reasons as to why our Religion is failing to keep afloat; well they’re either irrelevant, or delusional in their significance.
When it comes to Islam, the method the religious body constituency – manifested in the form of a large group of long-bearded serious looking men – uses to investigate the shortcomings of Religion is the same method used by Ministries of Education (in most countries around the world) to understand why education is dysfunctional, which is a method based on subjective analysis of details. What that means, basically, is an objective negligence of more urging issues. Many scholars, clerics, Ulamah, and Ayatollahs, Shiite and Sunni, are no longer capable of providing effective and sustainable plans of core-Religion reformation. They do, as mentioned, provide subjective analysis of details within the circumference of Religion; however, that is all they are ever going to provide. The problem with being subjective lies in its limited affect on reality, mainly because it revolves around idealism. For this reason, social reformation is not possible when the tool used is, in and of itself, dysfunctional.
Clerics and religious figures do not need to re-assess their roles in our societies: on the contrary, we the people are to take part in re-assessing their roles and the ones to suggest the parameters of the new social and religious reformation. We cannot afford to work single-handedly, though, because we are not in to revolt against religion, but we must revolt against how religion is being read and interpreted by its keepers. I’m in no way suggesting that there be a religious watchdog, that would only encourage and usher in more useless bureaucracy, the one thing we’re trying to avoid in this new world order.
To live religiously is too oxymoronic of a statement, especially in days like today. For in an era of extreme controversy over what the ‘right path’ is, without excluding the points of view of all non-religious parties and factions, there is simply very little room for micro-analysis of religious issues. There are big efforts and much time wasted into hopes of bringing ideologies closer to each other, and the only reason why these attempts are still alive today is because the perception that the mere act of ‘attempting’ is considered Holy ground. It matters not whether your attempts are working at all; it matters not whether your attempts are destructive; attempting to bring religious views closer is seen as a glorious struggle rather than to accept the concept of live and let live.
However, that is where we – as believers in general – take most of the damage. Because the focus has become the ‘act’ rather than the ‘purpose’. We have enough TV channels pouring in to brainwash an entire generation, and all that one has to do is have the time to sit in front of the TV set and watch. In today’s Islamic environment, the mullahs and the fatwa issuers who are not so far themselves from having their own Fatwa Vending Machines (i.e. “Press 8 for fatwas on killing infidels“) wholeheartedly believe they are doing what pleases God… or do they? Maybe it is intentional. I mean, Tim Osman seemed to be very conscious about a Holy Jihad against the enemies of Islam; but who in the world is he, really? CIA agent? A blowback? A millionaire? A real Jihadist mullah? all of the above? Honestly, who gives a toss? What difference does it make anyway?
The majority of the Sunni fatwa issuers and mullahs were chanting his name and praising the Lord whenever he made a statement. So what kind of religion are we dealing with here? How far is all of this from the message that the Prophet (pbuh) brought forth? My guess is: very, very far. I mean, kill an infidel and dine with your prophet in Heaven tonight isn’t quite what Islam is here to establish. The extremist ideology is so twisted that it is in fact a stand-alone religion, independent of Islam in every way.
And this is the scary part; history repeats itself.
The current revolutions taking place around the Arab world are not unusual, let alone a sign of an impending apocalypse. People have the right to panic, of course, but in order for us to know where we’re going, with some sense of certainty, we ought to know where we’ve been. Everything about life is about historical records and trends. And this is the world we were brought into and the same world we live in today; a world of coup d’états and rebellions, warring states and civil wars, terrorists and double-agents.
“Survival of the fittest” seems to work only in the Animal kingdom. Survival, in the world of Man, is for no one. The mightiest of rulers and the most ruthless of kings could not survive the waves of change. And change, as I mentioned in another article, is the only constant and fixed truth about the world. So whatever is happening is not out of the ordinary; on the contrary, it is expected, anticipated, and calculated.
The landscape of the Middle East is changing, for one reason or another, but it is changing. Could it be the beginning of the separation of religion and politics? Could this separation be the first step into a more Western-style democractic governments in the Arab world? However way I look at it, I see some sort of opportunity for Arabs – the people, not governments.
We cannot afford to stop change from happening. When you don’t adapt, you die. Which is a message I wish Arab leaders would take a moment to digest. It just doesn’t matter what position you have, head of state, prime minister, supreme leader, or king of the umpa-lumpas. If you don’t roll over and adapt to change, you will be changed.
So could this really be the break for religion to prove itself? Can this change, when handed over to more aware and intelligent people whose loyalty lies with their ambition to become, can this change be the answer to solving our problems? Who knows. In principle, I personally don’t agree with the separation of State and Church, so to speak. But given the hopelessness all of us in the Arab world are living in, I don’t see another way out. So then, again, can we really blame God for where religion has gotten us or not?
I think each one of us has ‘the’ answer to that question.
May God help us all.
Many of our crucial moments that may change the face of our future are solely dependent on our single reaction. How we react to events ultimately decides how we live the next stage in our lives. It is not an easy task, to be able to pick your words, assess the situation, keep your emotions in check, and all in a fraction of a second.
We do live in extreme conditions, and that is not a surprise. Today, because of globalization and the internet, just being ourselves has become that much more complex than any time before.
At a time when the entire world is viewed as a village, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid interacting with people who might have extremely opposing beliefs. And it is exactly this issue, how we deal with opposing beliefs while having to manage sharing the land, is what makes everything about life very challenging.
We’ve always had a struggle when it comes to race and religious minorities. Since the dawn of Man (not the Darwinian dawn) trouble existed between believers and non-believers, the rich and poor, the free and slaves, idealists and realists, and it just boils down to human nature to be defensive (or aggressive) against that which is different.
Capitalism and Communism are two ideologies that offer a structure for economic well-being of the people (amongst other things). And as facts can be stranger than fiction, the hype created at the peak of the cold war over the imminent Soviet threat was apocalyptic. Of course, one can never mention economy independently from politics, and for that reason there is no pure economic development plan that exists today without politics being its very own fabric from which it’s woven.
The media is another of Man’s never ending battle fronts; it, too, is as old as life itself. And so when someone says that history is written by the winners, it really makes me very worried. For so much of who we are is written in history, and if history is biased, then who’s to say that we know who we are? The entire game is based on perspective; whose side are you on? Hence, the infamous presidential statement, “You’re either with us, or against us.”
Americans are known for being very sentimental about how they view the world, and by world I mean the United States. But it wasn’t until recently that their recognition of the outside world came into being, thanks to Terrorism (what are the advantages of Terrorism?). Now once again I would do my best to avoid coming across like the conspiracy theorist who believes that the U.S is the mastermind behind terrible tragedies and assassinations around the globe, including taking out Kennedy. Yet, the best advantage terrorism gives to the U.S is that they are not an entity that can be fought in a certain geographical area; terrorism is all over the place, which in other words means an all-area-access authority. Whether this is a plot for logistical and economical dominance is not the issue here..
But one thing IS the issue, though.. sacred and made-sacred topics, as well as forbidden topics, should never be touched or tampered with. You cannot go to India to hold a Beef festival. You cannot go to Israel and question the Holocaust. You cannot go to Saudi Arabia and ridicule their Fatwa. You cannot go to China and demand free speech. You cannot go to Hungary and say “Romania”. You cannot go to Iran to argue about the legitimacy of their Supreme Leader. And you certainly cannot go to Ground Zero, New York and demand an Islamic Center!
I have been very perplexed and bewildered about why someone as smart and savvy as Obama would commit political suicide by supporting the Islamic Center fully only to say, “uhh..well..maybe not!” If that isn’t an automatic kick in the groin for the Donkey I don’t know what is. The issue is much more sensitive today because, like I said, the world has tranformed into a village, and this village is called United States. More like, someone in Russia would say, “I live in Moscow, Russia, United States, planet Earth.”
Having said that, and as a political leader, you are supposed to think a thousand times before you said anything. Of course, George W. Bush may have said everything before he thought of anything, but only W was able to do that. Let’s face it, some skills are simply God-given.
Obama, on the other hand, is much more aware of the variables around him; he should have anticipated it. He should have objected to the Islamic Center from day one. You don’t want to strike a chord with the Muslim voters and cut your ropes with Americans, because the issue here is moral and not ethnic or racial. And you can’t take sides in a moral issue. The thing with free speech or freedom of choice is that they’re very circumstantial, and who’s to say that this shouldn’t be the case? All of us have some sort of freedom by default, that is until we’ve committed a crime, then it gets taken away from us. The United States has made it abundantly clear that it lashes out against certain people, or nations, that try to defy it. From as early a problem as slavery came a string of other wars, civil or world wars, propaganda wars, that fueled America’s appetite for gradual but sure world dominance. And standing in the way of the moving train that is the U.S, one can only expect to be terminated.. president, you were, or commoner.
It boils down to this: you can’t have a Japanese cultural center, even now, at Pearl harbor. Maybe a Japanese cuisine is already there for all I know, but never a war museum or hall that celebrates the Kamikaze. An Islamic community center certainly will not sit well with not only Americans, but with anyone who has a sense of understanding of the world today.
Yes, America is the land of freedom of choice and free speech, but not when you’re blamed for blowing up the Twin Towers. I’ll tell you what right we have now: the right to remain silent.
The past two weeks were violently volatile. Things changed in a blink and there was no time to sit and ponder whether the change was good or if it was good with an embedded file of miscalculated luck. And when there is no time to breathe, eventually you forget breathing all together. Whether or not this could be one form of micro-evolution is entirely beyond me; though I would make the assumption that sometimes holding your breath is the only way to survive.
The thing about change is that it is, on the one hand, very fixed. But on the other hand, it is very problematic to know that Change, in and of itself, is incalculable. Much of change is related directly to the Unknown, actually.
Yes, I did stop last night to ask myself why there were several unforeseen changes in my life during the past couple of weeks, mainly on the small-to-medium scale, that may or may not improve my standard of living in the near future, both socially and emotionally. The sort of changes that I would have otherwise considered them insignificant, but had quite the impact simply due to the fact that I could not see them coming. My question is:
What is Change?
I realized I never stopped to ask myself what that concept or… state… really is. Is it a condition? Is it a state-of-being? Why is it inevitable? More importantly, still, why do changes happen and what are we supposed to do about them?
Are we supposed to greet Change with open arms? Or are we supposed to look like deers caught in the headlight of a speeding vehicle? I understand that many things in life (if not life itself) are very circumstantial, and for that it is normal to view Change as a fact of life. But is it?
We took comfort in understanding Change as the natural outcome for all that exists. Not even mountains escape Change, let alone our meager existence. As much as we’d like to believe that Time is the Grim Reaper harvesting our souls day and night, yet we tend to forget that even Time is subject to Change. Thus, the real proprietor holding the scythe is Change. And so if we’re governed by Change, what exactly is the point in struggling to stay consistent? What is the connection between Consistency and Change, even though one sounds like the nemesis of the other?
If I bring up the fate-destiny issue, how much time do I have before somebody either thinks I’m repeating myself or labels me as an idiot? Because quite frankly, I think change, like darkness, is non-existent. Just as darkness is simply the absence of light, so is change is the continuum of the norm. In the sense that if change is the constant truth, forever present over the axis of time, why do we view it with so much fear? Why do we have to skip a heart beat when somebody utters “change is coming”? Yes, it’s only normal to fear the unknown, but only if you had to face the unknown once. However if you’re constantly living in the unknown, so to speak, what is there to fear? If miracles are defined as events that are abnormal, and are rarely experienced, then why do we label giving birth as “miracle”?
It is rather striking to know that fear is the driving force in this material world. Fear even drives change to take place. While it is true that everything is in a constant state of change, even the dead, yet it is crucial to realize that fear is what triggers change. Yes there are other elements, like need, ambition, jealousy, and boredom, but isn’t there a hint of fear in all of them? I believe fear and change are two sides of a coin, see. And one cannot speak of one without having to mention the other, conciously or otherwise.
Change, much like death, is inevitable. It will take place, it will affect us, and it happens for reasons this blog-sneeze can never encompass. Whether to face change aggressively, oppose it, go with it, or embrace it is totally up to each one of us.
Makes you think, when you make plans, do you ever factor in the variables or do you just cross your fingers and hope the wind blows where the sails are going?
Why do people cheat on each other?
What makes a man cheat on his woman, and vice versa? Is it a need? Is it a sickness? Is it a reaction? Just what is cheating all about? Why do men hide their rings once they strike a chord with a potential single lady? Why do committed women flirt reluctantly once they’re in a conversation with specific type of men? Why is it that a married man always thinks that the single beautiful lady is flirting with him when she’s only being nice? And why is it that married women always think a single guy is sending mixed signals? Is the whole ordeal sexual, pure and simple? Or does it have to do with satisfying emotions with a monstrous appetite?
Is it okay for committed people to be friends with the opposite sex? Can a woman be okay with her husband having a best friend as a woman? The other way around, maybe? If you’re raising the “trust” flag, well, is it really about trust? Is “jealousy” anywhere in the formula? What if the wife has a nerdy overweight guy as a friend, would the husband feel the same if this friend was a tall, tanned and muscular hunk? Would the wife be okay if her husband’s best friend was a classy, slender and attractive young woman in a mini skirt? Better yet, would either spouse be okay if their partner had a best friend whom they share killer secrets with?
Forget committed people.
Is it natural for men and women to be friends even if they’re not committed? Can men ask other men about women? Can women ask other women about men? Who’s to say that men are experts on women when all they know about women is what they want to believe they know? And who’s to say that women are experts on men when all they know about men are the facts that other frustrated women told them? Do men and women date more than one person in an attempt to date the “perfect person” who possesses all the good traits? Or is it simply the fact that it is human nature that people can never have enough of something..or someone? So then what becomes of marriage? Does this at any level make it seem that marriage is the only way out for all the men and women on this planet? Or is it staying single?
I have not the slightest idea. But here’s a clip that sums it up…
Different people have different visuals coming to their minds once that word is mentioned. People love them for different reasons, and they relate to their struggles in different ways as well. But there remains one undeniable fact that is true and the same for all: whatever initial visuals they’re having upon the mention of a “superhero”, one character is the common denominator in all visuals. He is the one, the only, the bird, and the plane.. he is Superman.
What makes Superman so special, though? What gives him the edge? I mean, sure, in today’s terms, Superman puts on what has got to be one of the gayest outfits ever. From the red boots and undies, that are so fashionably worn on top of the blue tights, to the cape that’s got no added value to neither his skills nor defense mechanism, this superhero has GOT to sue his fashion designer. Yet, Superman, if you’re reading this, please do know that we’ve learned to accept you as you are, with all your shortcomings, and yes, that includes your vibrantly gay costume.
Aside from that, Superman is the only superhero with an extremely generic name, which is basically “man” with “super” as a prefix. This, of course, does not include Superwoman. Call me sexist, if it makes you feel better, but Superwoman is an obvious spin-off of the great Man himself. I wouldn’t want to use the term “milking it”, which is vulgar and inappropriate, to say the least, but I think at one point in time the people behind Superman’s world realized that maybe Superman was missing his other half. They thought of Superwoman at exactly the time when nobody was particularly in need of Superman in a skirt. I’m sorry, folks, but I needed to get that point across, and it’s up to you if you want to praise me or loathe me for it.
Come to think of it, not only is Superman the only superhero with a uniquely plain name, he is also the ONLY superhero who is an Alien disguised as a human-being. All other superheroes are really your everyday Joe (or Jenny, thereof) disguised as a non-human-creature. Spider-man, Batman, Venom, Iron Man, Catwoman, Daredevil, Flash, and Spawn, to name but a few. Of course, others like Hulk and Thing are victims of circumstance, as far as costumes are concerned. But superman really IS an alien hiding behind a human persona.
I’m not trying to re-write Why The World Does Not Need Superman; Lois Lane took care of that. Although, I wonder if she ever stopped to think if her title should say Why Superman Does Not need The World? (if this doesn’t win me a Pulitzer I will be very very disappointed). Going back to my question, what gives Superman the edge? Don’t try to convince me that Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark and Matt Murdock are who they are in the morning and saving the world at night, because that is a flat out, in-your-face kind of misconception. They’ve been in their hide-outs ever since they transformed into superheroes, albeit feeling so distant and lonely; needing so badly to save the world. But our boy, the Man, Superman, he’s actually trying to fit in with the rest of us. He wants to butt-in with commoners day and night, and only saves the world when it needs saving. No personal vendetta, no who-killed-my-mommy kind of vengeance. And that’s what gives him the edge. He is a superhero who desires to become one of us. All others are our fellow humans who have become aliens in the process.
Respect for the Man in Blue Tights!