'A modern day journey through the wild western Balkans'

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ramadan Fast

I'm sort of in my post iftar trance as I write. Fasting has been an interesting, and surpisingly easy experience. I have very much enjoyed the spirit of Ramazan, with friends and families gathering regularly for good meals and quality time together every day. The fast itself certainly enhances self contemplation. And my body seems to be appreciating the cleansing process. Its not just the external fast though that i find fascinating, but rather the internal one.

There is an unsaid concientiousness about the words you speak. There is a calmness to ones temperament. There is a general attempt at slowing things down and paying attention to the people around you. Ramazan is a time for inner peace - at least for those who choose to embrace that.

Westerners are, as usual, only exposed to the 'sixty bodies being found in Baghdad' or the car bombs that go off daily between Shiites and Sunni's. That is the image of the Muslim world. Violent people, extreme views, radical interpretations, suicidal tendencies. It's not all that black and white, in fact, not at all.

I saw a clip of "Jesus Camp" -- a startling depiction of the new generation of Christian soldiers in America. Its not at all far off of the impressions we are IV fed of the extreme elements in the Muslim world. Onward Christian soldiers is a horribly scary concept...as scary as desperate Muslims thinking they will buy a ticket to dzenet if they die in the name of Islam. So a lot of us have really gone off the deep end...all because we haven't yet explored ways to understand each other and our obvious fears - and henceforth so-called 'hatred.'

What I see here though, in this time of contemplation and fasting...is a desperate need to be understood, respected, and walk as equals amongst the white west. If the west can't offer at least that to the east - then the moral high ground the west seems to think it holds is no more solid than the lads wreaking havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we will all continue to have a long and painful road ahead of us. And from my shoes...none of us really want that. Do we?

Masalaam companeros


Blogger juancho said...

"What I see here though, in this time of contemplation and fasting...is a desperate need to be understood, respected, and walk as equals amongst the white west."

I think you are on to a new perspective, this need for equality.

Can you elaborate on the idea please? (If you take requests).

7:16 AM

Blogger che said...

certainly my friend...there is a general sentiment that westerners see Muslims as backwards camel jockeys. And they often feel they get treated as such. Not to mention the fact that every darker skinned or arab looking individual will be and is targeted as a suspect. Henceforth, inequality.

The west does not have much dialogue with the east, but rather lectures them on democracy. A democracy that has seen millions of palestinians displaced...a democracy that fully supports the horrid oppression of the Saudi regime...and allows Lebanon to be destroyed with few even mumbling a word about the atrocities.

Many in the Muslim world are well aware of the deep seeded problems within thier own societies....and could very well have a lot of answers for the 'problems' we face...yet we don't engage them, we lecture...or more often then not, bomb, kidnap and occupy.

There is also a strong sentiment of double standards. Guantanamo Bay is not a pressing issue in American politics -if it was, it would have been dealt with. for Muslims, its the epitomy of unjust americans calling for human rights, democracy and then having a torture camp in Cuba.

America can help India further develop its nuclear power stations...but Iran cannot possible have nuclear power for energy means. Iran can't have nuclear power because they are Muslims, but Indians can have it because they are the US allies.

There is no equality in that. In the eyes of even the most moderate Muslims, its pure bullydom...double standards...and condescending. The president of Iran may just become the Hugo Chavez of the Muslim world...and then the west has even more problems on its hands.

do you see that at all?

9:41 AM

Blogger juancho said...

I see that absolutely. So when did it all begin going this way? When was the last time leaders from East and West sat in a room as mutually respected equals?

2:33 PM

Blogger che said...

when clinton was in the white office. his foreign policy, even with it holes, was by far the best and most humane - even more so than Jimmy Carter, because jimmy was just a good guy and wasn't able to get much done. The Iranian hostage thing did him in. Clinton brought palestinians and israeli's together in a way no US administration had ever done. Bush dropped the ball the second he got into office. North Korea was always priority no 1 for the clinton admin, bush dropped the ball. He made very solid relations with China and Vietnam...Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon. He was a president willing to engage, even if Afghanistan and Sudan were total fuck ups.

But my point is that its not happening on many levels at all. Civil Society has often led the way with that...Jimmy Carter Institute for Peace with the Serbs and Palestinians, Insitute for Peace with North Korea and Northern Ireland. We're not even doing much of that -- which is the scariest part. Politians will play politics, but civil society very often paves the way for constructive dialogue, and at the very least, understanding each other. Simply that process makes people feel like they are being heard, respected, and treated as equals.

The complications don't just lie in the west. The Arab league is a fucking joke. They can't agree on what time it is let alone on a common policy or stance. They are very fragmented - much to do with the green carrot called USD.

But we are not engaging the moderate...and dare i say, even more radical voices. That we need to do...because the oppressed will always rise and fight to the death,- for they feel they have nothing to lose.

Iran is respected because they are seen as standing up to a bully. Just as Hugo Chavez in latin America. They may both be assholes, but Bush is seen as the biggest poop shoot of them all.

1:17 AM

Blogger juancho said...

poop shoot? you end it with poop shoot?

10:52 AM

Blogger che said...

that is the end isn't it, the poop shoot is the end of the line. and that's what we all get...the stuff from the poop shoot.

12:50 PM

Blogger juancho said...

stop, you're making me hungry!

2:58 PM


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