Observation is an art perfected by artists of different hues. To lesser mortal like me that is a quality farthest from the personal chemistry. The observation that some of my kind has perfected from days when we graduated into trousers was to look agape at the lass that pass by, (Though in my case subtly, I do not believe in offensive gander).And in any case that is not the observation I thought about.
Being away on travel, though was not strange to me, living in a foreign land and in a society which, compared to my origins is culturally like wine and water, is an alien experience. So that in itself gives ample for watching, understanding and inferring. It is only when you pass through a society or live in its midst, which has not had culture or traditional values that survived and helped the society or a nation to build, that one realises the fortune we Indians for example are bestowed with and enjoy. It can be a value that may be an offshoot of a certain religion or a political system, or just simple nihilist living. But sometimes what that you believe or that is imposed on you in itself – it can be a religion or a political ideology may constrict you, domineering and defile centuries of tradition and refinement.
Look towards Tibet .The culture of Tibetans have been usurped. Centuries old monasteries that were repositories of Tibetan culture were lost forever. The great march of Mao Tse Tung eliminated the great part of Chinese tradition. The Bolsheviks did their gory part in Russia. The wealth of Alexandria, the greatest asset bequeathed to humanity from the Ptolemy of Egypt was finally lost to the marauding Muslim fanatics in the 6 the century BC. Afghanistan and its tribal heritage along with the remnants of a pacifist way of life “Buddhism” vandalised by fanaticism and bigotry only exhibited by one solitary faith in the modern world. The world’s oldest city Damascus and the city of Jerusalem are now hostage to outlandish religious philosophies. American native Indians lost forever priceless wisdom and way of existence of life in harmony with nature they brought down from centuries, to the great thought of the western world, “Democracy”. The examples are many.
I wonder if this will be disputed.
What the West affectionately term as the “Arab uprising” is nonsense. And that cannot spread or happen as they wish. For any social revolt there needs to be an atmosphere that sees people as one. Fortunately for Egypt there must still be centuries old of culture that predated the usurpation by Islam. That was what unified the country and brought forth change. It will not happen in countries and societies that are nomadic for ages and have only an illusion created and cultivated by a man who claimed to be the Providential emissary in the middle of the 6 th century AD, to hold on as succour and hope. Religion cannot unify man- the stark reality was unambiguously shown by the liberation of Bangladesh. And it is again underlined by internecine rivalry and violence in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and many other parts of the Muslim world. For even what Islam calls the one and only true Providence cannot unite the Shiites and the Sunnis. Ironical, as this is a Frankenstein created by beliefs, faith and unwillingness to think! So what the US and its allies claim as whiff of democracy blowing across the Arab world are only ember that are kindling out of dormancy, embers of deprivation and domination of one Muslim sect over the other. They cannot meet eye to eye!
Faith has bludgeoned ancient culture in societies in Syria, Iran and Iraq- the old Babylonian haven. If faith has reversed life, constricted human mind, defiled human spirit, it is in the Muslim world. In these societies, fanaticism of faith has emasculated Man and no education will reverse his fate for a few generations to come. I have not seen greater frenzied inflammation in worshiping than here in the Muslim world. To consign it with a dismissive comment such as, “it’s the matter of faith”, is the surest way of ensuring the contagion of intolerance, bigotry and barbaric philosophies, cross the seas and frontiers.