31 August 2005

Hell on Earth?!

Got back from Palestine last week- been asked by every person I met, “How was the trip?” and I’ll give you the same answer: It was interesting and a real eye-opener! I can show you all my pictures and present all my notes, but I don’t think it’s possible to convey the actual feeling and realisation of what life there is, in mere words and pictures…

I will try my best to adequately update the website with the pictures I took and the notes I made while there, and we also plan to present wherever possible, a audio visual presentation of our experiences- hope we do justice with it all…

You can’t go to Palestine and not come back depressed- the situation is truly depressing; realising how many opportunities we miss here is truly depressing; realising how much we take for granted is also truly depressing! It took me a few days to re-adjust to normal life- don’t know if it was the jet lag or what. But the 2 weeks in the West Bank felt like ages!

But on the other hand, the patience, perseverance and drive of the Palestinians to just get on with their daily lives and to resist wherever possible, despite the bleak realities of the situation, are very motivating and inspirational- if they can carry on, then why can’t we do whatever is in our power to try and improve their situation!

We should also be careful not to pick and choose our battles- Palestine may be close to our hearts because it’s an ancient struggle, in land we consider Holy, with Muslims we easily identify with; but wherever there is oppression and suffering, be it with Muslims or not, we should be doing whatever we can to make a difference!

Another thing that I feel we need to consider is- if Israel and America and whoever else Muslims feel are against them, have to just somehow disappear, then what? I believe that we will still have our hands full with a number of problems! Muslim leadership is generally very corrupt and the masses are in many cases not capable to replace them- Muslim society has degraded, in some cases, to levels below that of secular society; we have lost our morals and values and sometimes even the capability to think and rationalise correctly. There is much work to be done on the hearts and minds of Muslims all over, starting at home, together with whatever efforts we are making out there…

I have yet to catch up with work- need to do so by this Friday in order to get away with the few extra days I was away- will definitely find time next week to come up with a more organised layout of my thoughts and feelings which I feel need to be shared at this opportunity!
In the meantime, I would like to include a brilliant excerpt from a friend’s email which aptly conveys my feelings as well:

‘For someone like me, who's only exposure to what the Palestinians go through on a daily basis is via news reports, documentaries and now, the personal accounts of friends who've witnessed the indignities, I cannot even begin to fathom what it must be like to have one's spirit brutalized in such a manner. It’s so easy for someone like me to live, with nothing more than the occasional pull of indignation when I hear of some inhumanity, to go back to living a life cluttered with the mundane tribulations that deafen the 'distant' pleas of a people who are linked to me by the thread of Faith...We ask ourselves if We are deserving of our Freedom? Are not the Palestinians (and the global oppressed) worthy of the same? Perhaps our purpose is then greater, our burden far more to bear. Does our Freedom then come with a price? And if we continue to keep our waters calm and placid, afraid of the ripples of outrage...this Freedom that we take as a given, this Freedom that we take as our right... - this Freedom will be taken...away.’

Just a quick community update for those who haven’t heard yet: Mohamed Ziyaad Hassen (formerly known as Ned- but not anymore, use his proper name plz!) and Ayesha Jacub plan to get married soon. Remember them in your duas…

03 August 2005

Kingdom of Heaven?

It’s been a hectic week-
so much that I needed to do in preparation for our trip but somehow never got down to any of it till the last minute!
Surprise, surprise!

Bought a car last week- was on my way to Azaadville to see the car and on my way there the ‘Mighty One’ decides to start smoking from the dashboard! It was a sign- it’s days were numbered and I had to get rid of it! Had a tow truck take me to the Holy Lands and traded it in- was happy with anything in its place; anything with wheels is better than a GTi on the back of a tow truck!
Anyways, now I have a 2000 citigolf, 1.6i with 95k on the clock- its not a GTi but I’m not complaining! Bid a sad farewell to the ‘Mighty One’ and appeased my conscience knowing it is resting in such a sacred place:p

Took my new car home for the weekend- haven’t been to Newcastle in months and needed to clock card before we leave for Jordan this week! It was good to be home for a while; to be surrounded by people and noise and hot home cooked meals! Family not too impressed with my travel bug- this year already been to Drakensburg, Cape Town, Durban, Mozambique and now Jordan and inshaAllah Palestine!
We spend a few days touring Jordan and then try for Palestine through the Israeli border- met and spoke to many people over the past few days and been hearing some scary stories- the Israelis make life really difficult for Muslims trying to get in and they can turn you away with no reason at all! I really hope we do get it; will be a real suck if we get turned away!
Make a dua- there is a good enough chance we get in and if Allah wills it then so be it!

Will not be using this email for the next few weeks- email me at bilal.randeree@gmail.com I will try to keep blog updated as much as possible and host pics if possible!
Keep an eye out if possible…

And again I ask- make a dua, we will need it!