21 July 2005
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!
Whew- its been a wholesome 2 weeks since my last email! Been to Durban and Mozambique- for bread and milk details of the road trip, log onto my blog and check it out: http://bilalsblog.blogspot.com/
Mozambique is a very interesting place- just came out of a gruesome civil war that ravished the country and set it back decades! Moz was until very recently the poorest country in the world! Interesting history behind what led to such appalling circumstances; Moz was a Portuguese colony that was apparently a chic hangout for the rich and famous, safe haven for many freedom fighters from all over Africa, and a holiday destination for all- around the 70’s or 80’s, the socialist party took over Portugal and the Mozambicans managed to wrench their independence! The Portuguese just got up and left- they took whatever they could carry (equipment and machinery) and sabotaged whatever they had to leave behind! Buildings and homes were rendered useless by pouring concrete down the drains, wells, dams and farm lands were poisoned, and factories and production plants were stripped of machinery rendering them impossible to function!
And where did they all go? South Africa- the government allowed them to enter our country and become co-occupiers! The government was also a sinister force behind the ensuing civil war that began post independence! Frelimo, the party that gained independence, led by Samora Machel who became President and was assassinated by the Apartheid regime, was challenged by Renamo, a rebel movement pronged and funded initially by Malawi, Rhodesia and the South African government!
The result was gruesome- thousands dead, even more injured by land mines (manufactured in SA and distributed freely throughout the countryside!), and a country which thereafter for many years held the position of poorest in the world! The lows that Mozambique sunk to were possibly the lowest lows possible! The positive side now being, that they can only go up from here now…
Since the end of the civil war in 1992, the country has been building itself up quite steadily, and now has one of the highest growth rates in the world. The recent floods took them back quite a bit in terms of infrastructure, but one can sense the drive and ambition of the Mozambicans that should take them into better times soon enough…
Our neighbours- we should be making efforts to assist them where possible! The north of the country was the most southern point visited by Arab traders- people of that region are majority Muslim and are also those still suffering the most… There, now you know!
Well, returned to work last Tuesday- after an absolutelty heavenly week in a semi-paradise, it really was painful! Only thing keeping me going are the good memories of Moz and building up excitement about upcoming trip to Palestine…
Irfaan and Ash are back from Qatar- it went so quick, hardly felt that they were gone for that long. And been quite updated about there happenings anyways since they left. Had a nice get together to catch up on finer details- seems like Al-Jazeera is the new hip place to be working at!
Went on an excursion to Zak Park Ulooms on Sat morn- quite an interesting experience; if I may say, quite like a visit to the zoo:) In the sense that they took us from classroom to classroom and let us sit and observe the locals in their natural habitat! But was seriously beneficial in making us understand what the beards have to go through in order to get their qualification. I hope this was a start to a fruitful relationship- pointless for us to just criticise everything unconstructively, but as outsiders with some sense, we should be able to give valuable advise about things that are not so noticeable to persons who have always been in that environment… and obviously vice- versa…
Sat nite also saw the launch of a Muslim Alumni network- the idea, as I understood it, was to reaffirm commitments to the Cause and try to provide a platform for young, dynamic, sincere Muslim professionals to meet, interact, discuss and strategise to achieve our goals as Muslims living in this beautiful country during these opportunistic times! Or something like that- you interested?
Drum- a South African movie about the very magazine- interesting; a bit too Hollywoodish, but it gets the message across. Like the journalist who was killed for writing for the magazine, there were many other unsung heroes of the resistance who gave their lives in order to make ours better! Maybe, just maybe, we should get these flipping capitalistic, profit maximising, materialistic, un-Islamic dreams and ambitions out of our systems for a while?! If that’s even possible!
I know that I promised the end of these emails- sorry, if you don’t like it then just don’t read it!
Remember an interesting but rather vague and maybe baseless quote: ‘the cynic commits intellectual suicide’- what the hell does that mean?