Archive for May, 2011

Nurtured Frailty

“Crawling to my glass prison

A place where no one knows.
My secret, lonely world begins.”[1]

I watched the spectacle of defeat. I witnessed agency fold.

By what?

Nurtured Frailty.

As the late Sayyed Fadlallah (ra) noted, dictatorship begins at home. When individuals are directed and not taught they fail to think and create their existence. When one is raised in such an environment—an environment in which the parents dominate the life of the child—dictatorship is transferred from the parent-child relationship to any dynamic thereafter: political, occupational, marriage. Monsters take over.

When a monstrous personality exploits the weakness of an individual anything is possible. We see tyrannical dictators dominate countries, we see insecure spouses inflict physical and emotional abuse. We watch human beings break.

When a culture cultivates feebleness and doesn’t foster individual agency what can we expect but to see communal chaos? When you mix this reality with a tendency to place personal interests over principles you get a social dynamic ripe for relational instability and venomous personal interaction. You create an environment in which it is easy to overlook and accept malevolence.

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05 2011

Keeping the Veil

These days taking it all off is celebrated more than keeping it on. For instance the recent NPR special on “Lifting the Veil” spotlighted Muslim women in America who have decided to stop wearing the hijab, or headscarf.

Now I know that for something to be “news” it has to be new and exciting. I remember a journalism professor telling us in college that “dog bites man” would hardly get some inches in a newspaper, but “man bites dog” – now that would make the front page.

A Muslim woman appreciating her headscarf, working with it, living a normal life with it, is not news.

And so it continues, this insatiable quest to uncover the latest problem with Islam. However with this story unfortunately, instead of non-Muslims telling us what is wrong with our religion, we have Muslims trying to justify what is wrong with the concept of hijab.

There is no need to get into the nitty gritty of hijab, why it is part of the Islamic dress code, etc. These days the word hijab has become synonomous with the headscarf or chador that some Muslim women wear. Delve into the Holy Qur’an, and you find that hijab actually talks about a “barrier.” Despite one woman’s claims that a headscarf has no place in Islam and is merely a part of Arab culture, the Holy Qur’an has in fact talked about the actual garment women are required to wear over their heads and chests.

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05 2011

Distracting from the Issues

It might be wishful thinking that now that President Obama has released his birth certificate, the ridiculous issue can be put to rest.

I can’t believe questions about Obama’s birth have gone on for this long. Besides being a ludicrous issue, it really takes away from big questions that actually matter.

There’s more than enough going on in the world that the president, Congress and the rest of the leadership have to deal with. There are two wars, uprisings all over the Middle East and a grave financial situation.

Obama was right to feel affronted when people questioned why he wouldn’t release his full birth certificate. It shouldn’t be an issue.

It takes away from him dealing with what’s important.

What’s more, the Republican leadership has just helped fuel this fire. They haven’t pointed out that there are more problems at hand. They’ve let a faction of their constituency go on about a problem that shouldn’t be the focus for anyone.

The political arena has fallen away from wanting to solve a problem by any means to political parties wanting their way to be the only way to tackle a matter.

Republicans have been disingenuous about wanting to solve economic problems. They just want to make sure that nothing gets solved while a Democratic leader is in power and will do anything to make sure that things go wrong with Obama in office.

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05 2011