Mohamedarif Suleman – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Taking a ride back home yesterday in a cab, I happened to interact with a very concerned driver whose sentiments were, well more or less, common knowledge, but radiated intense frustration and tiredness. As we snaked through the characteristic traffic jams of the city, he complained how authorities were always penalising them (taxi drivers) for this license and that tax, but wondered why after paying so heavily, he still had to drive through what now appeared to be craters in the middle of the city. Then, what followed was a lengthy monologue on how public funds are simply wasted away in meeting personal gains. he wondered how such a poor country could have representatives drive the latest expensive cars and build very expensive homes in a plush suburb. By the time we reached my destination, all I had was to tell him to “vumilia” (be patient) as things were certainly outside our control.
Later at night, as I zapped through my cable channels, I see this loud debate on Indian channels about how people’s representatives were about to pass a bill into law according them with lordly status (including things such as continuation of term despite criminal convictions, etc). The theme was around how MPs had become the Rajas of the country.
Earlier, we heard the world’s most powerful voice say that it is not important for him if the United Nations approves a strike on Syria or not, but (as if doing the world a favour), did submit to a congressional vote.
So many such things happen in our daily lives which we prefer not to speak about for fear of consequences which could turn our lives upside down. The truth is that no one in the world is literally accusing any particular leader of any malpractice, but is in fact simply asking for equity and the original fundamentals of equality by upheld.
It is immaterial whether Syrian President Asad is right or wrong, what is more significant is why (as reported on Huda channel) why should an innocent modest Muslim girl be captured forcefully and then dumped naked a few days later, dead in the middle of the city.
The accounts that we regularly hear of are atrocious but while these discussions are at a macro level, a closer look at the micro level will reveal that morals and ethics at an individual and family level, have in fact been abandoned in pursuit of only one goal – economic success.
When friends and family visit each other, one brags to the other of his or her high place connections, or how he craftily “cut” a deal neglecting all values hitherto held dear and beloved. Then, another member, not to be left behind, shouts out the others by eulogizing his own stories of success in an even more unfair manner. Those who talk of forgiving others are considered weak, those who do not have financial power are considered non authoritative in speech even when speaking the truth, street smart people have appreciated in value over those who try to follow a moral path.
If the basic unit of society – the family, is busy organising extended family gatherings for the purpose of brotherhood bu forgetting to spend quality time with their own children, if the lessons imparted are (for example), who does that Madrasah Muállim think he is, how dare he say that to you, where power and wealth are synonymous, we must hold ourselves accountable for the rapid overall collapse of values in society.
When people ascent to positions of leadership simply because of their popularity and wealth, they tend to form an attitude of invincibility whereby they make decisions on others’ behalf without their consent or interest at heart.
We think we live in a democratic world today but the reality is that our situation is no different from the animals in a park fleeing from the range of aiming rifles, all ready to kill them, those of us who are prepared to submit to our “shepherds”, will receive food, clothing, shelter (will we?) and education. Western societies, it is alleged, provide their people with all sorts of benefits and rewards so that on the surface, there is little to challenge their leadership. They fill our lives with utter silence at times and intense noise at others, so that our thinking senses and spaces are destroyed.
Prayer, I propose, is today our biggest hope out of this besieged condition as in the face of things, o our Lord, we are too weak and exposed to do much to think of change as everything is in the hands of the aggressor, who thinks little of us and more of himself. he is today’s leader.