Lamentations of the heart

May God forgive me for what is in my heart; for entertaining suspicions and doubts, negativity and assumptions. God knows that I feel bad that my heart harbours ambiguity about the innocence of a man well respected and admired.

Many of my friends frequently recommend his writing and laud his insight. Other friends know him personally and have spent quality time in his company. I once gave him a lift in my old banger and thought him a decent chap. When I listen to his speech, I think to myself, “This is a good man.” When I read what he has written, I think to myself, “He is wise and true.”

For those reasons, and many others, I have every reason to think the best of him, and to dismiss the allegations made against him as preposterous inventions, borne of malicious intent. I ought to be of those in the “benefit of doubt” or “innocent until proven guilty” camp.

Continue reading “Lamentations of the heart”

Not my place

Here in my ivory tower, it’s true: Islamohobia is one of those words I flee from. To me, it is like the term Anti-Semitism, which particularises racism, when there appears to be no real need to. Of course one can argue that both Muslims and Jews are not necessarily targeted because of their ethnic backgrounds, but simply for their adherence to a particular faith. But then that argument could be made for vast swathes of humanity, for whom we have not adopted a designation to describe particularised hatred. But we are where we are, and these labels are here to stay.

Continue reading “Not my place”

Due process

It is quite normal that, despite the presumption of innocence, a person under investigation can be considered potentially dangerous and preventive measures are thus put in place.

That is why school teachers who have had allegations made against them are normally suspended, even though those allegations may be totally unfounded and even vindictive.

They may well be exonerated at a later date, but it would be extraordinary for an institution to allow them to remain in post — or to speak in public — during an investigation into serious misconduct.

We shouldn’t allow our personal biases and attachments to cause us to treat cases involving those we respect and admire any differently, if we truly care about the protection of vulnerable people, as we claim we do.

Seeing the past in the present

It is not difficult to see how the pathway has been mangled over centuries and millennia. Just witness the behaviour of the powerful in their battles to maintain their grip of control. Watch how they crush their opponents, mobilising armies of fanatical followers to their own cause, to do their bidding in silencing all dissent. Continue reading “Seeing the past in the present”

Irrelevant

We offer unconditional support for victims who courageously dare to press charges against their abusers, irregardless of their political and religious views, because those opinions are irrelevant.

Murmurs

And then I ask myself, “Why do you write all these things?” And: “Wouldn’t it be so much better if you would just fall silent and disappear?” And: “Isn’t it all just self-deception: thinking to yourself that you are doing fine, as you head full steam into oblivion?” And I think to myself: “All the world thinks they have something important to say, to which they must give voice, believing themselves rightly guided.” And I wonder: “Am I just deluded?” And I wonder still: “Should I vanish now?”

Facing the enemy

A community under attack always goes into defensive mode, and with attacks and hostility rising exponentially that defensiveness will only increase. Which is a tragedy, really, because there is so much we need to talk about internally. We so desperately need to hold ourselves to account for a whole litany of abuses, injustices and crimes. Continue reading “Facing the enemy”