At present we have an alarming predicament. The world is in turmoil surrounding its behaviour towards Islamic countries – set off against a backdrop of confused economic interests. When I say ‘the world’ I mean of course ‘my world’ which happens to be European.
As a European I think it is necessary to justify a conscious perspective on just why Islam matters and to place these ‘economic interests’ second to the increasing xenophobia which makes little or no sign of decreasing – in fact, the very opposite is happening, with situations like those occurring in Libya, setting off interactions which do nothing to portray our intentions in a positive light.
Islam matters in a truly global cultural sense. We have ignorant opinions collectively strung here in the United Kingdom which are ill-informed and reactionary – based on divides between national culture. Some of these are legitimate – based on the universal truth behind freedom, injustice and oppression. Some of these prejudices are the blind hate which is common to all people of the planet. If we were in Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran (or Libya for that matter) there are no doubt Humans who feel the same way about ‘foreigners’ or those of different cultural origin as we do at home in Blighty. The recent case of British Muslims burning poppies is a good example. There has been as much reaction to this as the initial action! What hypocrites we are! The statement the British Muslims were making is valid as a form of protest (despite being incredibly stupid and tasteless). Until there is intended harm pointed directly there is no crime. Inciting hatred is one thing, burning poppies is another! Both my grandparents fought in World War II and relatives of mine died in the first world war. Am I angry?! What kind of hypocrite do you take me for? The association of delusions like hatred towards different people cannot afford to be based on cultural means. Our national affiliations merely create yet another divide in which we reap, what the Buddhists call, the cycle of birth and rebirth. Not limited to the mere act of giving birth, birth and rebirth can take on many forms and shapes. Psychologically we can give birth – the inception – to many things. One foul thing which has plagued the minds of many a inhabitant of the Isles of the world is prejudice and association of past (even recent) prejudice with the present. This is the source of anger those British Muslims were filled with.
We forget, in the heat of reaction, just why our feelings toward Islam truly matter. Why is the Middle East so important?
We can easily see through history such a positive influence that has spread across the world from the middle east and the peoples who may well have originally evolved (no offense intended to those of faith) from these lands. We have one of the most important facts in recent history (meaning the past 500 years – in order to think big you really have to think big) none other than what is referred to as ‘the golden age of Islam’.
The golden age of Islam was the time the Islamic empire reached a highpoint. The centre of the Islamic empire was Cordoba in Spain. Tell most English people this and they will laugh in disbelief. They truly do not know! I find it astonishing to think that with all or technology and information freely available we are without the understanding of really significant cultural facts. I digress…
During the time of the Golden age of Islam the civilisation of the empire was staggering. There was socially developed trade between every nation on earth – goods and migrants flowed freely through the Cities and culture developed in sophisticated ways. Some of these far surpassed anything which had been seen inside English history until the Industrial revolution. Things like Medicine (with it an understanding of hygiene, surgery and how preparations and temperature both play a major part in disinfection and success in surgery). Agriculture and sustainability were enhanced by amazing technological achievements such as La Alhambra or ‘the red fort’ a water-filled oasis in the middle of the desert – watered purely from the natural water table of a nearby mountain and the force of gravity.
The writings and philosophy of this time were quite remarkable – and the food and cuisine! what a feast! but rather than spend my time giving a history lesson (which one can do easily now with the help of the internet) I’d like to focus on the main point I wanted to get to.
We have a massive responsibility to resolve our differences in a peaceful way. Our judgments should not be left to mere leaders – we have to demand our collective good intentions are met on this planet. The responsibility is vast concerning the Middle East. Before we get sidetracked into more recent history, the understanding of our long-term humanistic affiliation to others in this world is something incredibly significant, which has been blurred through history – fueled through religious and autocratic conquering. It is something that first should be addressed. Secondly the more recent should be addressed. In order that we first understand the past to result into the present is the only way – we cannot get to the present by just arriving! We needed a vehicle to arrive in the first place. The history of the Middle East and understanding it – this is the first step to understanding why we cannot present our affiliations, our conditions on a people. Secondly, once you understand a sentiment, we can associate in ourselves why this may be common to all people on earth.
There are people out there who have traversed the whole world and come across alarming anger. Some of the most concentrated religious anger on the planet. This too originates from the Middle East (although America comes a close second). Tensions run high and with this we should aim to resolve rather than consolidate the misunderstanding. Take a quick look at the movie ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ and you truly get a sense of the need to show the Islamic world just how humankind is not divided by recent events – it is bonded. Those who witness the atrocities of war are equally horrified in whichever country. Wikileaks is one example of just how much action is taking place to stop it. We really need to ask ourselves, who is responsible for the crimes? How can we stop these crimes from occurring in our planet? The world has become much smaller with the use of internet communication and those with the imagination, resourcefulness and the good intentions are capable of mobilising the sheer number of people to stand to these aggressors.
The recent unrest in the Middle East has highlighted our perceived Western superiority when we have not really thought it through. We have borrowed so much from the Islamic world and we have not paid this due when it mattered. It matters now.