BETWEEN US ONLY! — By Majed Al Sulaimany —
= The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr — The Hadith (Islamic Sayings)
= The only reason for being a writer is that you can’t help it! — Leo Rosten
= A metaphor is like a simile! — Anon
= Be obscure clearly! — E B White
I was reading an article about Ubuntu Philosophy — and I thought it would make a good topic for my article in this column.
First of all, there is need to say something here. We may be that lucky and endowed with the greatest of knowledge, culture, heritage, customs, history, wisdom and civilisation — but the question to ask here frankly and in deep self analysis and conscience — are we practising them? There is a lot of preaching and publicity — but no real practice in our lives’ dealings, interfaces and relationships! This is the sad and bitter truth — whether we like to accept it or not.
Just watch the news. It becomes a real embarrassment to see we can do these things to one other — devoid of our own religion and its teachings. The time to hold our heads high with pride, esteem and acknowledgement is all gone — though pretenses, facades and acting have remained dominant and supreme. It is like marching one step ahead — and then back two steps behind!
The point I want to make here is that we can all learn from others and in humanity — and there is no culture or civilisation that is inferior — especially if those people do and actually practice what their sayings and writings are all about. We need to hold our heads down in shame — and in learning!
An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candies from the nearest town, and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree. Then he called the children and suggested they play a game.
When the anthropologist said “Now!” the children had to run to the tree, and the first one to get there could have ALL the candies to himself/herself. So the children all lined up waiting for the signal.
When the anthropologist said “Now!” — All the children held each others’ hand and ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time, divided up the candies, sat down and began to happily munch away.
The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together, when any one of them could have had the candies all to himself/herself.
The children responded: “Ubuntu”! How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”
Ubuntu is a philosophy of some African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are”. This can teach us all many things about life!
In the East African Swahili lingo — Uutu — Uutu bora kuliko Viitu. — Humanity is better than things (materialism and individualism)...
Saying It As It Is!
A long time ago when my Consultancy was dying a slow death — I went into the Public Forums — and in vain attempts and just like that drowning man catching the weed in trying to save oneself! Being M as I am — I used my real name — and not a pseudonym or Nome-de-plume thing! I was personally attacked — and on very sensitive and delicate issues concerning myself — and even my family. The people behind all these thought that they were very smart alecks — because they thought that they would never be found in this new technological savvy arena!
In the end I had given up and just left — and wrote what I wanted in my columns and in my books only. Actually, my thanks and gratitude are due to them — because that is how the concept of writing my books came into being!
I also strongly believe in these — and are my motto in life now.
= Be who you are and say what you feel; because those who mind don’t matter; and those who matter, don’t mind! — Dr Seuss — Writer, Cartoonist and Animator.
= Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can — and the wisdom to know the difference between the two! — Anon
I also strongly believe in this. Did you read the story of The Three Blind Men? Each one of the blind men was ‘correct in describing the elephant’ in his own way — but as The Rajah had said — The elephant is like the truth of all things and we are like the blind men!
Despite well intentioned, goodwill and focus to represent or reflect on the issues and the situations — one has to be careful that you do not add any ‘fuel to a cinder fire’ sort of thing! To make a bad situation just even turn worse for that matter!
We do need the wisdom, pragmatism and dynamism to prevail and dominate always. And also being positive and realistic — that things have now changed — and still changing fast — and the old ways and methods of doing things are no longer applicable or appropriate anymore!
Allah The Lord Have the Mercy on all of us — and Protect and Preserve us all — Amin Amen.