I had the misfortune – or displeasure – to meet a number of today’s Muslim parliamentary candidates at university, and they were just as divisive in politics then as they appear to be now.
They were self-serving bullies, with no notion of the common good, who did immeasurable damage both to individuals and the student body as a whole.
Who could forget their mobilisation of Muslim students against an empathetic, compassionate and politically-aware candidate for the Student Union Presidency who they believed to be bi-sexual in favour of a dropout, marijuana smoking layabout called Mo?
The former candidate would not have discriminated against any Muslim student who went to her for support, but short-sighted and self-serving campaigning ensured that an individual incapable of serving the student population won instead.
As a student, I was caught in the crossfire between these belligerent personalities, now running for parliament. Back then it all seemed petty and insignificant, albeit unpleasant for the individuals caught up in it, but today we can look back on those squabbles (repeated nationwide) and see the foundation stones of today’s discomforting environment.
I am of the opinion that we are largely to blame for the position we find ourselves in today. I am not sold on claims about witch-hunts: I have seen the way we play politics and it is largely at the expense of others. We have no notion of serving humanity as a whole; we can barely see beyond sub-sectarian divides. We have, unfortunately, squandered many opportunities afforded to us.
Call it a grudge, call it malice, but I won’t shed a tear for the latest parliamentary candidate to fall from grace. May they all receive the opprobrium they deserve.