It’s All the Same Wherever You Go! [Archives:2005/803/Opinion]

January 3 2005

Yousef drank a generous sip of his tea without realizing how hot it is, and spit it out in a spray that did not make some of his colleagues at the coffee table in one of those little cafes that crowd the semicircle edifice next to the newspaper stand in front of Gamal Abdul Nasser High School near liberation square.

“What is the matter with you Yousef, what is rushing you anyway, it's only midmorning and your qat supplier will leave your qat where you can always find it!” remarked Faris, not at all sure whether to throw the drops of tea on his lap back at Yousef or simply laugh.

Yousef felt bad about the embarrassing situation he is now with his friends, “Look the tea was so hot, I could feel scales formed on top of my mouth from the burning liquid. I am sorry Faris. What the hell is wrong with this cafe, you would think they would leave some napkins on the table for emergencies like this”. He gulped some water hoping that would bring the temperature inside his mouth down.

“Did you see the news yesterday; what a catastrophe? So many thousands of people eliminated with just one sweep of the mighty power of the Lord that covered the whole South Asian Coastline and way into the interior.” Abdo said, wiping the few drops that landed on the right side of his face with the table cloth.

“Wow, that was a terrible storm indeed, just look at what you guys did when a few drops of tea hit you. I can imagine how you guys would grumble, if you had all that water coming at you like the poor Bengalis or Thais, who were probably the worst victims of the flooding from the tsunamis that hit at least eight countries with devastating effect.” Yousef was glad someone brought up something that will make his tea spray bearable.

Faris went on to philosophize: “Just think of the mighty power of the Lord, and what it could do. I bet you that God was trying to tell the world something. He probably is getting annoyed at humanity for not paying attention to moral issues anymore. America is not the mightiest power, God was saying yesterday, I am and if humanity doesn't get its act together, then, yesterday's tsunamis will seem like Yousef's tea sprinkle. Now, you got it right, first blow gently on the top of the hot liquid and gently sip a few drops at a time. When the temperature appears to be comfortable, then – without slurping – drink the tea as you like.”

“You know, I think that if God wants to be mad at anyone, he is going to start of by hitting the leaders of the world, particularly the Moslem world for being so impotent against what America and Israel are doing to the Arabs.” Abdo wanted to be released from any blame for the plight of the Moslems in general and the Arabs in particular.

“Look when a calamity occurs, it does not differentiate between rulers and governed, it is generalized,” remarked Yousef.

“But what do the people have to do with the blundering of our leaders?” queried Abdo, continuing, “Look, I just went to Mecca last Ramadhan and I met Moslems from everywhere in the Moslem World. What amazed me was how all of them were feeling and thinking in the same way. Everyone was complaining about the impotence of our nation against the challenges it is facing. The resources of the Ummah throughout the Moslem World are being exploited to serve only the countries of the companies that are hoarding them away, with what ever comes back to the country being plundered by the leaders. This leaves the rest of the Moslems without anything to even donate to victims of the calamities we are subjected to from time to time.”

“Donate!” interrupted Yousef, “We hardly have enough to keep a balanced monthly budget for the most basic of necessities for our families, let alone display our philanthropic spirit.”

Abdo continued his exposition: “The most amazing thing is that every Moslem at the grassroots level thinks the same way; our leaders have let us down and forget the principles by which our Ummah should be governed. They have kept Moslems from uniting with each other to pool their resources and energies against the threats we face and they have repressed their people so that they do not even have enough energy to protest anymore.”

“What is worse”, Faris cut in, “is that some Moslems have given up hope uniting with any other Moslem countries and have decided to seek unification with Europe. Here we are a nation with a universal religion that demands from its followers cohesion and a fraternal bond, but Turkey has lost hope and decided to try out Europe instead.”

Turkey was once the unifier of the Moslem World and now it has decided that it does not want anything to do with the rest of the Moslems” Yousef said.

Abdo then remarked, “Look, I met some Turks in Mecca, and there is nothing they would rather see then Turkey in a unified Moslem nation. But, if Europe is going to welcome them more than their fellow Moslems, then what else can they do?”

“I can bet you that most Arab citizens at the grass roots level would rather see all their present leaderships replaced with leaders, who have a sense of what their people feel about current events” said Yousef, noticing the spots that he has left on his friends' clothing, continuing, “they all wouldn't care where those leaders came from as long as they remembered that this nation should be united from the Atlantic to the Pacific and all their borders removed to allow Moslems to go wherever they wish to go within the Moslem World to eke out a decent living.”

Faris has not overcome his displeasure at the tea spray he got: “I bet you if Moslems everywhere had a leadership that truly understood its constituencies in every country, then there would be no problem in standing up to any Israeli or American threat, or even the threat of a dangerous tea sprinkle from Yousef.”