26 November 2006

There is no wealth but life...

With exams behind me I look forward to an exciting few months- until the results come out and hopefully don’t dampen any spirits! A great man we lost- or should I rather say- a good friend we said goodbye to, for the short term hopefully, and to return with the friendship double barrelled. Very few men of this calibre in my vicinity, and same said for his fine match- an obituary this is not; just my humble attempt to shed some dull light on stunning examples of luminaries! More thought and effort must be invested for an adequate relying of my feelings- will try again some time soon...

The Vuka Awards acknowledges those who contribute time and effort to raise awareness for important issues like Aids, Child & Women abuse, Drugs and Alcohol abuse, Anti-Smoking campaigns and many other important social issues. Some amazing talent on show and awesome ideas- watch out for them on DSTV. My fondness for rebels in eminent and those rebels with causes were celebrated at this event. The Tsotsi guy and girl were there also- a chance to rub shoulders with some of the talented and famous:) Some may be lucky enough to some day see the proof:p

But in stark contrast, Borat suffers from being void of anything closely resembling talent. To be fair, the guy may have a brilliant, albeit messed up, mind and he has placed Kazakhstan on the map for the shallow American rodeo fans. Certain scenes should have undoubtedly been cut from the show- do not torment yourself if you haven’t already. If most of the more wacky scenes were not scripted, then maybe some traces of true talent should in some sick way be acknowledged...

By saying this I can expect to be hurt by some a couple of my loving readers- work just seems to be such a distant memory:) After three weeks of study leave, preceded by super national trips and an awesome international one, and now followed by mildly enjoyable training on the outskirts of Joburg! Not exactly a holiday in the bushveld, but close enough. But that just may mean getting back to work in the New Year is going to be ever so painful!

Patrick Bond, Phd doc and director of the Centre for Civil Society launched his book, Looting Africa, to a mixed crowd of cliquey socialists, artsy hippies and rebel capitalists! He speaks of how this continent was raped and plundered by colonialists- but did it end then? Apparently not! Looting continues. He claims under the guise of capitalism- privatisation, IMF funding, offshore listings and many other schemes. With that said, Bond and Dennis Brutus, who was also there launching his new poetry book (I don’t like to be mean but his poetry sucks- or maybe its just coz I’m not much of a poem lover!), are a dying breed of social activists that resisted and hopefully continue to resist the temptations of materialism and bourgeoisie lifestyles.

Is not a perfect balance between pure capitalism and pure socialism what we should be striving to achieve? Who does the thinking anymore? Who is out trying to come up with plausible solutions to the problems we face? What role do we play? Is there any onus whatsoever, on any of us? Some thoughts.

Peace & blessings

19 November 2006

Tell me your friends, & I will tell you who you are!

{Joburg City Skyline- from my seat of study- distracting, but not better than an ocean:)}

This comes a tad delayed, solely due to a 360 odd minutes, gruelling, semi-lit, dusty challenge that God-willing will never have to be experienced again! For now it’s just wait and pray. And pray. For about another 2000 odd hours at least! In the mean time, I need to ensure that my next 30 days are utilised as beneficially and constructively as possible. A few thoughts in mind, visa dependent, and hope that works out.

Quite an interesting response I’ve been getting on the organ donating issue. I hope that discussions like these will breakdown the negative mindsets that exist- together with those of us who consider saving lives with our organs (when we no longer need them of course) as an eternally rewarding act, taking the necessary steps to register as organ donors. I imagine in a few years as attitudes change and medicine advances, we will see more of this...

Efforts are currently underway to secure the promising secondment previously mentioned. With a well needed (and possibly deserved!) twist of luck, this could work out great! At least that’s the level of expectation for now- lets hope London comes through and turns out to be all its imagined to be...

Attended the ultra flashy gala dinner with the lone motive of collecting the cheques for charity. As some say, the corporates do this kinda things largely for marketing reasons, but nevertheless, it’s an admirable initiative- for one: encouraging the pawns to become more socially active and two: dishing out large sums of dosh! Thank you, blood sucking, evil corporate, thank you:) [disclaimer: I am being cynical:p]
More news on how the money will be spent to follow shortly- in the pipeline- at least one project that will require the blood and sweat of a few Joburg Samaritans!

This is a really sad story. Not even a story but a real life tragedy: Have you all heard of Alia Afghani?
Came across this heartbreaking account on
London Muslimah’s blog.

And since I have been appropriating material from other blogs, for this weeks *Global Muslim* post we look to Electric Spaghetti for some MiRC inspiration. Another humorous example of such typical and common behaviours. If I have enough time will siphon up some Mxit treats for next week- all the lolls, hahas, hehes and ::)))!...


12 November 2006

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

What are your thoughts on organ transplants? I know this is something that thankfully many of us will ever be forced to think about- but I was recently forced to research and advise a family that is actually dealing with this hard reality. The question that I’ve posed to everyone I met this week, and I pose to you now:
‘If you were told that you needed an organ transplant to survive. Without it you will die! The organ is ready and waiting on ice- all you need to so is say yes and the operation will begin!’
Now everyone I spoke to eventually admitted that they will definitely take the organ. Who will say otherwise- offered a chance to survive, it will be extremely strange for someone to refuse it!

So with that said, how many of us will be willing to allow our organs to be donated in the unlikely (inshallah!) event of a premature death? I understand that its simple to do so today- just fill in a form and you will be added onto the register for organ donors. If everyone is willing to take organs when needed but not willing to offer when available, does that not make us hypocrites? If you say you would have to first find out the Islamic ruling, I can assure you, from my research its fine to do so. But should you still have any doubts, I implore to do your research, ask the questions you have and take the necessary steps to help establish the great life giving gift of organ donating in our communities...

Time is running out- just a week left for the board exam! Trying my best to get enough studying done but there is only so much that the brain can handle. Plus this week I need to attend a work function- they are giving me money to give to charities of my choice. If you had a fairly decent amount of cash, who would you give it to? I’m looking at 3: Islamic Relief for a local project that I can assist with and get others involved as well; Awqaf SA towards an educational waqf [a waqf utilizes only the proceeds of the capital donated]; and Sanzaf for starting a bursary fund for Bcom students looking at specialising in Islamic finance and economics. Any better ideas?

This coming week also sees a meeting with representatives of our London office- a hopeful opportunity for a three month secondment! Not sure the exact details on the table yet, but anything to get out of auditing will be super right now! That with an interesting call from a central African investment group brings about thoughts of the future and life after the dreaded articles!

Watched an interesting docudrama during one of my study breaks: Road to Guantanamo. Shows a group of youth from Britain in Pakistan for a friends wedding, when they decide to go exploring in Afghanistan. They get caught up in the war and are captured by the Northern Alliance and passed on to the American forces. They spend almost three years in Guantanamo Bay after which they are eventually released. The shocking thing for me was that these were very normal guys that caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time- an eerie resemblance to situations we often find ourselves in as well as the decisions that some of us would take. Three of the four survived to share their story and one guy was in Cape Town this week to launch the doccie. Try and see it sometime…

Had some good feedback from my account of library discussions last week. This week I put my neck (and blog) on the line when I attempt to take a light hearted look at comments in the blogosphere- this may be the end of feedback for me, but after a recent accusation of also being involved in it, I take the risk:) Check it out- its probably way off the mark- but know first that its intended as light humour:P see: *Global Muslim*

That’s all folks!
Make a prayer~
Peace & Blessings…

05 November 2006

Doing justice means giving everyone his due.

[View of Table Mountain in Cape Town from a plane.]

Things change so much and yet so much stays the same! Spent most of my week at the university library studying for my upcoming exam. And found it to be a real learning experience. You want to know the state of the youth, what makes them tick and what is on their minds? Spend a few days wandering through the corridors of your local university. An amazing learning experience! And on a lighter note, maybe slightly inspired by our maniac brother, it’s sometimes necessary to introduce some dryish humour. Check this out.

Stand up comedy is also a discipline (if you can actually call it that!) that Muslims need to start exploring. Maybe using more humour we can break down the many stereotypes and misunderstandings of both Muslims and Non-Muslims. What better way to serve and uplift humanity, than using good old laughter! Not that easy I must admit, not that I tried it, but the funniest comics on the cool running scene tend to rely heavily on the worst of profanities and crudeness!

In one of my study breaks, instead of spending a few minutes relaxing on the lawns, I unfortunately picked up a book, which fortunately turned out to be very interesting. I would like to recommend it to all you out there. Women and Islam by Fatima Mernissi. Read it with an open mind and I’m sure you will learn and discover much. Not everything in books needs to be agreed with- read whatever you get your hands on and using the Quranic framework in your mind, sift through everything…

To see sickness and suffering is possibly one of the best manners of character development- no matter how much of suffering and tests we may go through, there is someone close by who is experiencing a more complex trial and then there some others who pay the ultimate price! Paid a few visits to a family member of a friend who was sick in hospital. Then while visiting him met yet another young man who was suffering from cancer. This brother has recently passed away and we pray that his family is granted patience and he is granted a lofty seat in Paradise!

To attend a volunteer day at an orphanage/crèche at the risk of missing a march for Palestine is a tricky predicament. Maybe contributing to the planning and organisation could be a fitting consolation, and hence the risk I took and lost. The day was fulfilling and fun; painting murals, faces and finally a smile on many a face! Such extreme poverty lays clear its ugly face right in our backyards. Maybe its normal, maybe its not. Maybe we can do something to change it, maybe we can’t. But who cares- let’s die trying! Let’s try to be part of change that is most definitely coming! Is it really coming? From what I hear, and if John Pilger knows what he’s talking about, major changes are round the corner…

A snake around a tree has always had biblical connotations for me- but this painting rather exhumes a more innocent idea of the same in my mind. Maybe its coz it’s a palm tree or the snake is a bright yellow and blue! Just hope the kids don’t get a fright in their new playroom!