Change She WroteNeutrality versus religious/ personal convictions [Archives:2004/741/Culture]

May 27 2004

By Sadaf Shah
[email protected]
For the Yeamen Times

It is my personal belief, which is somewhat influenced by my religious belief, that in order for a statesman to rule a country with all fairness, he should first free his mind of all previous prejudices that harbored his whole being prior to taking office. It is a truly difficult task indeed, to allow ideas to flourish that are alien to our 'accepted' system of beliefs. Thus, as a result of the complex nature of this task, we observe in the world today that it is virtually impossible for the modern man to step away from his paradigms and accept an opposing view. On the contrary, we observe that it has become common practice of most respected rulers of our time to not only oppose, but also violently threaten with force and bloodshed. We cannot expect anything from terrorists as they are nurtured to oppose anything/everything contrary to their dearly held notions of the way our life should be modeled. While it is only human to play favorites, it is equally naive to think we can pick and choose which groups/states can be categorized as terrorists/insurgents or freedom fighters versus those justified in carrying out blatant forms of terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism. If we are going to get in the habit of forgiving (by way of explaining) lawlessness in the name of causes we support, we should just as easily brace ourselves for lawlessness in the name of causes we oppose as well. Violence begets violence, and instead of addressing the real issues of the problems currently polluting our planet, our leaders have set out to distort and disillusion the common man into thinking that 'this is the only way.'
According to F. L. Morton, a Canadian professor of political science and writer, “Moral zealotry is not a monopoly of majorities or minorities, of the right or the left. In whatever form, it is the enemy of liberal democracy.” And also, “The moral consensus of a free state is not something mysteriously prior to or above politics; it is the civilizing activity of politics itself.” From the beginning of our history to our present condition, we find that although we read about our past, we have not learned anything from it. We seem to be tripping over the same blunders over and over again without realizing what it is that is knocking us down! Is it our rigid view of our superior nature, color, race or religion that is blocking us from embracing progress? Or is it our preoccupation with dehumanizing 'other' people that dangers our existence? Our answer to both of these questions must be in the affirmative to establish any genuine effort to finally forget the bloodshed and pains of the past and forgive to move forward to a much more peaceful co-existence. If we deny ourselves the opportunity to live peacefully, we deny ourselves the right to live at all. Next week, we shall discuss the existence and role of God in our world.