The lesser evil

Most people don’t vote for the perfect candidate, only for the lesser evil.

Many who vote for the ruling party do so, not because they are fanatical supporters, but because they remember the old days of poverty, persecution and failing public services.

The problem for the ruling party is that the burgeoning youth, who now make up the majority of voters, hardly know of those days at all, and only know of life under this government, with its increasing cronyism and pursuit of economic growth at the expense of all else.

Only time will tell if populist electioneering, capitalising on the misfortune of others elsewhere, will be enough to sway the masses inclined to vote the other way.

Will voters see that grand saviour of the Holy Land, standing up for the oppressed everywhere. Or will they simply decide to vote for the lesser evil, however they perceive it and wherever they stand?

Relative sins

It is amazing that we forget what sin is when it is our beloved sages that stand accused. All of a sudden we are charitable, telling each other that it is not so bad, and certainly not as bad as it could have been. How utterly bizarre. Would you be so charitable to the unknown or the poor? Or is it only the rich and famous who escape rebuke?

1984

Critics come to me demanding to know where I stand on political violence, but despite making absolutely clear exactly where I stand, that is still not enough. Because I grant to people the rights granted to them by international law, and do not simply roll over and capitulate to the demands to deny our enemies those rights. Continue reading “1984”

Cost

Everyone says these rulers are pious sages, but to me they seem to be hyper capitalists, bamboozled by development above all else, be it the environment, tradition or social welfare. They will build a glorious state, perhaps, but it will come at an enormous cost.

Natural rebels

Being a Muslim as a minority may make you vulnerable to hostile currents, but at least you can be driven by conscience. Come to a place where Muslims are the majority and you will notice that the people of conscience are not the masses, but the dissenting minorities.

Conspiracy

Everybody wants the world to be black and white, with the good folk on one side and the bad on the other: a simplistic binary world we can easily align ourselves with according to our disposition. Unfortunately the world is not like this at all. Continue reading “Conspiracy”

Strange advocates

I don’t have a problem with ordinary people campaigning for the release of a charged suspect held in pre-trial detention. However I do find it peculiar when the campaign is taken up by the news channel of the public broadcaster of a country which is holding 50,000 people in pre-trial detention for alleged membership of a banned organisation and which, furthermore, recently passed a law allowing the period of pre-trial detention to be increased to seven years. Does the accused really need advocates such as these?

 

Our problem

Is the problem this: that we don’t do our own research? That we just parrot whatever we are told? That we don’t study history, so can’t put things in context? That we don’t look into things deeply, to probe and reflect? That we repeat what we are told without verifying it for ourselves? That we choose to trust those who tell us what to think, without asking whether they are trustworthy at all? Is this our problem?

Clockwork

The so-called crisis in Muslim leadership is nothing new. It is cyclical. Ten years ago it was the turn of the followers of the celebrity sheikhs of the Levant. A decade earlier witnessed the demise of the Salafi mission in North America. The characters change, but the same broad storyline recurs: charismatic figures are granted status far beyond their due, and in turn begin to abuse and exploit those that put them there, preying on the weakest amongst them, until ultimately a schism occurs between the most fanatical followers and those whose sincerity has been severely tested by the conduct of those they had believed were their guides. So don’t be alarmed by the latests crisis: they come around like clockwork. 1997, 2007, 2017. Mark my words, we’ll be here again in 2027 too, lamenting the fall of another great sage from amongst us, jolting the next generation out of their complacency, and hopefully creating that necessary inner inertia for renewed repentance and reform.

Caution in an age of fakery

It is of course true that in modern times absolutely everything can be faked. Photos can be faked, video can be faked, audio can be faked, testimony can be faked, hmm, probably even memories can be faked. And while advances in forensic investigation techniques enable experts to detect and highlight fakery, the masses are still easily fooled. So, yes, exercise caution when news comes to you. It is okay to be suspicious and to probe. But better to adopt a position of “I don’t know” than an absolute, “I am convinced” one way or the other. There is always a possibility that a mass of evidence has been fabricated in its entirety; on the other hand, it may be absolutely legitimate. Caution is a good thing, but we must exercise it equally on all sides and not just when it favours our friends.