Saturday, January 17, 2004

lekshe commented a few days ago on reading Rumi. I find Rumi to be an interesting contrast to the Middle Eastern Muslim that so many Westerners seem willing to stereotype as full of hate, immoral, fanatic fundamentalist, single mindedly willing the destruction of our way of life. I thought this meditation on war and conflict worth reading.
Mevlana’s Meditation on War.....
The snakes are scattering venom
and though the sour-faced folks distress us,
yet up in the mountains in hives among the trees
communities of bees still create their stores of honey.
As much as the poisoners spread their poisons,
these antidotes will neutralize them.
When you reflect, this world is all in conflict, particle with particle,
just as spirituality is in conflict with denial.
One particle flies to the left, and another to the right.
One particle flies up and another down:
Witness the conflict in every movement.
All of this visible strife is the result of hidden strife:
This outer discord springs from that inner discord. . .
By means of truly unto him we are returning.
We have come back from ourselves to Your Ocean,
and we have begun to nurse at the source that suckled us.
Phantoms have distracted you from the path,
so don’t boast of principles,
if you have lost the Principle.
Our war and our peace are in the light of essence:
It does not depend on us alone, everything is
between the two fingers of God.
The wars of nature, action, language—these terrible conflicts
exist in all the parts of this universe.
This world is maintained by means of these wars:
consider the elements in order to solve these difficulties.
The four elements are four strong pillars
by which the roof of this present world is supported.
One pillar is a destroyer of another:
the pillar of water is a destroyer of the pillar of fire.
And so this whole edifice of creation
is founded upon conflicts;
and for better or worse we are at war.
My own states oppose each other:
each is in conflict with the other.
If I am constantly warring against myself,
how can I be in harmony with another?
Behold the surging armies of my states,
each at war and in conflict with another.
Contemplate this same poignant war in yourself:
why then be so busy warring with others?
Unless God spares you from this war
and brings you into the single-colored world of peace?

Melvana Rumi, Mathnawi, Book VI: 33-39, 41-55,
Translated by Kabir Helminski

Now I read that France is trying to band head scarves in public schools next year.
butuki commenting on commonbeauty's post about gratitude at the expense of others was upset by how quickly we have narrowed down our view to that which the media portrayed (an isolated incident in it's sheer hatred) of Palestinians celebrating after the WTC tragedy. I found this interesting quote by our prior president this week, I thought it was both obvious and very perceptive at the same time, and certainly a risky thing to venture out with when your wife still has political aspirations. But hopeful nonetheless.
"Too many Americans know too little about the Islamic world, and much of what they know they learned after Sept. 11 through the narrow lense of terror," Clinton told U.S.-Islamic World Forum, organized by the Washington-based Brookings Institution and held Monday. "What people do out of anger, pain and fear both darkens and distorts reality."

I am so afraid that this rift just widens further to the point of an impassable gulf. Banning head scarves. I have to admit I look at this and wonder if it isn't some bizarre plot to further provoke the middle easterners against the "immoral westerner." What we do to protect ourselves simply creates greater threat. We fortify each side of the fortress in response to the other, and the walls get higher to balance each other, and the conflicts get more desperate. Who steps inward first to create the bridge?

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