Friday, 8 July 2016

Different Perspectives

My story on Rashid who became a terrorist was written to shock and show a different perspective to how the human mind works. What may seem wrong to one is right for another. Amazing isn’t it? All of us or at least most of us are taught as children about right and wrong and yet our varied perceptions see the world in many diverse shades other than just black and white.

Rashid believed he was doing the right thing by choosing destruction to seek Allah, not feeling a bit of remorse or fear before killing thousands of people and himself. Did he actually believe or was he made to believe, did he really understand the meaning of religion and the teachings of Allah, and did he ever know the difference between right and wrong? The war he was waging against the world …was it really his or was he brainwashed into believing that Allah needed him to destroy life in order to attain him?

It’s a well-known fact that terror groups are targeting children transforming them into killers and fanatics who are willing to die defending their state and religion. The children are taught the Quran but a different twist is given to the teachings thus training them to be jihadists.

Dan Grant says…
The boys become men who would have strapped explosives to their bodies and walked into crowded market places to blow everyone – old women, mothers and children – to pieces. They would have happily died to kill. In fact they would have welcomed it with praise to God.

These young men – more accurately boys – were primed for death. They had been programmed for it. Their heads were full of hate.

Rashid wanted to belong, he had something to prove, he had been deprived of love and affection his whole life and was easily brainwashed into believing that Allah was waiting for him and all he had to do was wage a war against those who were opposing Islam.

The Dhaka terror attacks enforce what I have written above. The terrorists were from well to do, educated affluent families and very young. According to the official statement, “The terrorists were from a top school and University in Dhaka... Some of the terrorists were from the Scholastic School -- a very well-known school and private university. The parents of these boys are normal and have secular credentials”. Seemingly normal boys had transformed into cold blooded killing machines. 

What could have transformed these boys, what made them believe that ending and taking the lives of the innocent was the right path to God. And herein lies the mystery of how the human mind functions. Doesn’t it confuse you that what you believed to be wrong is thought of as right in the eyes of some, that a person could be so easily brainwashed. 

Seeking Allah


My last blog post expressed my frustration about understanding humans and their motives. With this short story I strive to comprehend what it is that makes us what we are...


O prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them. Their abode is hell, and an evil destination it is.

"Here son, a Porsche for your 18th birthday. Isn’t it great?"
"Thanks Dad! This is the ultimate gift in the world."
"Well, can I take it for a spin, with my friends?"
"Yes, of course son. It’s yours, you can do whatever you want with it."
"Bye Dad, will I see you and mom for dinner tonight?"
"No son, I am off on a business trip to Prague and I am sorry but I don’t know what your mother’s plans are."
"Ok Dad. I am off. Bye!"

That’s how it had always been for Rashid. His parents never had time for him. His Dad was a jet setting billionaire million times over and it was always business for him. He took out time but only for himself and of course with other women. While his mom had tried at first to be a good wife and mom, she had given up a long time ago. His parents barely acknowledged each other’s existence. His mother kept herself occupied as a socialite and party girl who never had time for her only son.

He enjoyed all the benefits of being rich, not that he didn’t but as he grew up the world had taught him to be detached from all the trappings of a family life.  Rashid had no expectations, all he knew was that he existed one birthday to another, when his father gifted him these fabulous presents to make up for not ever being there. His parents competed with each other about who gave him the best gifts. But today his Mom had been missing since morning.

He had friends, loads of them actually. But inside he knew they were a part of his life for the money he could spend on drugs and booze and the parties he could arrange with all the money he had. He had no goal, no ambition, just himself, trying his best to exist as a normal teenager.

But today was going to be different. He had not lied to his father, he was meeting his friends but before that he had to meet someone else. He was going to meet his friends, but he was going to meet Abdul Raheem first. Thinking of Abdul put a smile on his face. Abdul had shown him the way, he had given Rashid a goal in life. He would prove to everyone that he too could do something in life and get out of his father’s shadow. And then maybe just maybe his parents would notice him. He had everything in life yet he craved for that one moment when he would leave his mark in the world.

He wasn’t scared, he knew this is what he was born for. It was in a cafĂ© that he had first felt the call of Allah. Abdul was talking to a friend. “Allah is the light that will lead you to peace, tranquillity and serenity,” he was telling his friend. Rashid wasn’t a religious person. His family didn’t have time for religion or its teachings. But something in Abdul’s voice and words spread warmth and a sense of calmness in his whole body. He had never felt like this before. Even cocaine had never given him this kind of a rush ever.

Abdul was glancing at him, looking at the boy who kept staring at him with these sad little eyes. Abdul smiled and he and his friend walked over to him. That was just the beginning of a friendship and connection Rashid had craved for all his life.  Allah had given him a sign and Abdul was his messenger.

"The West needs to be taught a lesson. They are sinners who are now corrupting our world. Allah is with us.  We have to honour him and his teachings. We have been taught to strive and struggle for improvement as well as fight back to defend one's self, honour, assets and homeland. That Rashid is Jihad, the fight against evil, internal or external."

He smiled to himself as he realised today was his day, the day he would officially be a soldier in the Army of God. Abdul was waiting for him at the warehouse. He drove into the warehouse in his birthday gift. As he got out of the car, Abdul smiled and said “today you are a true Muslim, Allah wants you with him in this war. Martyrdom will take you to Allah and harmony and tranquillity will be yours at last.

Rashid was captivated at the sight of the jacket that Abdul was strapping him into while he had been speaking. He handed a remote control to him and said…"If they seek peace, then seek you peace and trust in God for He is the Hearer, the Knower." [Noble Quran 8:61]

Rashid smiled back, got into his brand new Porsche and drove off to the mall where his friends were waiting for him for he had invited them there for a birthday treat. Allah was waiting for him and he knew what he had to do to people who didn’t believe in him and opposed him. He parked his car and walked into the mall filled with thousands of shoppers, people who had been led astray and had to be shown the true path which would lead them to Allah.  

He walked to where his friends were waiting for him, waving to him when they saw him coming towards them. He waved back and then put his hand in his pocket. He took out the remote control and pressed the button, with a smile on his face, with a calmness he had never felt before, with no dread. He could see Allah beckoning him… 

Monday, 4 July 2016

What's Wrong With Us?

I formally and publicly clearly state the fact that I absolutely have no idea what humans are all about. I am 42 years old and completely and unequivocally flummoxed.

As a species I think the human species is the most idiotic of all…batty, witless, senseless, thoughtless…boy can I go on and on. Take your pick.                                 

Humans are gifted, we have everything going for us, beginning with the opposable thumb and the cerebral cortex in our brains no other animal seems to possess. However, we give the impression of being the biggest curse of planet Earth. We are a blight on not only all the other animal and plant species but mostly on ourselves.
We defy all sets of norms, rules, expectations, standards that the most basic animal species follow naturally. We love to destroy, cheat, judge, and sin. We are a supercilious, arrogant, patronising, toxic species who doesn’t know how utterly and unreservedly destructive we really are.

We resort to violence, robbing, stealing, cheating as if that is what we are born to do. Terrorists gun down and bomb the innocent, murderers run amok, governments and politicians swindle their citizens, businesses and business men ruthlessly walk all over the common class, the so called preachers and priests, the agents of God, indulge in everything they strongly and vehemently preach against, the saviours are plundering the earth for insignificant gains and the commoners and the poor think nothing of stealing, thieving, fooling, deceiving …oh god I am running out of adjectives.

We have become crass, insensitive, irresponsible beings who have no awareness of humanity, morality or civility which of course should be our primary and rudimentary instincts.

Humanity is defined as the quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals. The below given passage from beautifully expresses my feelings…

There is, of course, no end to the magnificence and horror in the human drama. Across the continents, humanity rises to every challenge, sinks to any depth. We cherish each heartbeat and murder at will. We bless nature’s miracles, yet trash the hood. 

We accept this polarity as human nature then move on in our ‘glassy essence’. All the while our righteousness lords over other life; yet we beseech gods for mercy. Our anger flares to violence; yet we demand justice. We covet ceaselessly, give generously. Our wallowing is legion; yet we take science and art to Olympian heights.

Not least, so many suffer relentless poverty, each day wondering at living another; so many are refugees from disaster or violence, escaping under unfamiliar skies to avoid a closer death, grasping whatever it is they have left - a child, ragged clothes, a pot to cook in; so many are victims of injustice, of the vagaries of despotism or ill luck, with no legal system to which they can bring their wisps of hope.

-          Tony Balis

Kindness, compassion, sympathy, empathy are words not being taught to the future generations and these in todays’ context are actually considered harmful. We know and understand so much of what life is all about but we choose to ignore our most collective make up, which is the co-existence of our species with all others and among ourselves. Why have we become like this? Why have we chosen to harm ourselves? Why does peace of mind and happiness evade us? Why are we selfish and unkind? Why do we act inhuman as humans? Why has spitefulness and meanness become second nature to us all? Why is humanity in such a deep mess and disarray? 

These are some questions that I am going to ponder over as I go about my daily duties and responsibilities. In the blogticles that follow this one I will attempt to answer them. Maybe the answers will help me face this very perplexing and confusing world.

We've been playing games since humanity had civilisation - there is something primal about our desire and our ability to play games. It's so deep-seated that it can bypass latter-day cultural norms and biases.

- Jane McGonigal