This morning I woke up to news that made my stomach churn with anger and utter disbelief. The Freedom Flotilla, a convoy of nine boats carrying aid to Palestinians living under siege in the Gaza Strip, was attacked in the early hours of Monday morning in international waters by Israeli security forces. Video cameras streaming live showed the moments the Israelis being lowered down on ropes from a helicopter gunship, while heavily-armoured warships flanked the aid boat on either side.
The men that came on board from the helicopters were armed to the teeth with automatic rifles, bulletproof vests and night vision goggles. It must have been the most alarming sight to see them descending from the ropes, fingers on hair triggers.
The activists on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel in the convoy, were obviously frightened but determined they would not go down without a fight. There was an ensuing melee. I did see an activist give an Israeli a good couple of thwacks with a folding chair, just like they do in the fake wrestling programs you see on TV. But I never saw a wrestler get shot dead for hitting someone with a chair.
As yet, the Israeli government has still not confirmed the exact number of dead, but sources have put it at 19 thus far, with up to 60 people wounded. The remaining activists were escorted to the port city of Ashdod in Southern Israel, where the wounded were taken to hospital and the others were held in a makeshift detention camp where they would be processed and probably deported later. The 10,000 tonnes of aid in the boats would be unloaded, checked, searched and slowly “dripped” into Gaza at the mercy of the Israeli government. Dangerous and subversive contraband, such as cement, would not be allowed into the Strip due to a ban already in place.
The Free Gaza Movement organised this flotilla with the aim of breaking the siege that has been strangling the people of Gaza for three years. The group was comprised of approximately 700 pro-Palestinian activists from over 50 countries, including a Nobel Laureate and several European legislators (including a Turkish MP who was found to be one of the victims killed in the military operation).
However, the Israeli Army (I refuse to call it the Israeli Defense Force) would have you believe that the people who organised the flotilla are part of a “radical Muslim organisation” with ties to Al-Qaeda and Hamas (yeah, like my grandmother. If you had to believe the Israelis, only that Muslim gal who was a stripper before she became Miss America doesn’t have ties to Al-Qaeda, and that’s probably only because she doesn’t wear enough clothing for her to conceal a bazooka underneath).
Andy David from the Israeli foreign ministry would like to convince you that these people “were not there to deliver peacefully (sic) humanitarian aid. They were waiting with knives, with metal bars. They were there to attack.” The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, referred to the Freedom Flotilla as an “armada of hate and violence”. And to think that they pay their PR people top dollar.
Other spokespersons from the Israeli Army tried to defend their trigger-happy behaviour by saying that the activists were waiting for them and they were “lynched”. Because that’s what peace activists do. And the Israelis were so defenceless and afraid for their lives. They are also obviously too underfunded and backwards to have heard of tear gas, rubber bullets or crowd control training.
I hate that anyone had to die or even get hurt for this, but if anything, it will make Joe Bloggs more immune to the brown stuff that is constantly being spewed out of the Israeli PR machine. It also shows the power of social media. Twitter and Facebook have been overloaded by today’s events, and I’d like to think that ordinary folk have made a difference in bringing the issue home to all of us. Today, we shared, discussed, argued, re-tweeted and got information directly from the ground.
That’s the kind of democracy and freedom of speech that counts, but it’s also the kind that the leaders of the “free world” don’t really like because it can’t be edited to suit them. Today, the Israelis found themselves on the back foot while trying to bluff their way out, and everyone in the world has called their bluff.
I read an interesting article today on how Istanbul’s muezzins, after a slew of complaints from local residents, have been sent for voice training classes to ensure that they are able to give a melodic, spiritual Azaan in the correct tempo for the correct time of day.
So why can't we send our South African muezzins for voice training? I don't mean to be offensive, but some of our muezzins here in Johannesburg sound like zombies on tik. If Hazrat Bilal RA could hear them droning on as though they were doing the world a favour, he would be turning in his kabr.
Reading Azaan is an honour and a privilege, and yes, it is a task which many of the modern” in-name-only-Muslims” would never have time to do. It comes with a great sawab, but also a great responsibility.
Done correctly, it has the ability to make the heart of a human being yearn with willingness to prostrate before his Creator, burst to seek the understanding and wisdom of the Universe and bleed at the sheer beauty and inexplicable sadness of the call itself. Done incorrectly, it can make the die-hard Jamat-wallah want to bury his head deep into his pillow and beg for mercy.
At least in Istanbul one can actually complain about a tuneless Azaan and be taken seriously, but any voices of dissent here are drowned in a sea of stubborn dismissals from the ulema as follows:
“Can you do it better? You are welcome to come and try.”
“The muezzin is making a sacrifice in his old age to get up for Fajr and make Azaan. You are being rude.”
“Why are you mocking your pious fellow Muslim who is doing a service to Allah?”
Being “funny” about it doesn’t change the fact that the guy is croaking instead of singing and is turning the faithful into munafiqun instead of turning the unbelievers into Mu’mineen.
When Hazrat Bilal RA gave his last ever Azaan at the funeral prayer of Rasulullah SAW, it was so filled with deep spirituality and love for Islam and the Prophet of Allah that none who stood in the courtyard of the mosque at that moment was untouched. Tears ran down the Jamat’s faces and sobbing filled the courtyard.
Every muezzin should aspire to re-creating that feeling among the members of the Ummah who hears the Azaan. Muslims in South Africa are descended mainly from Indians in Durban and Johannesburg and in Cape Town from Malaya and Indonesia. Correct me if I’m wrong, but people from India are known for their ability to belt out tunes.
Once I heard a Jummah Azaan that was given by an old man who sounded as though he was in sakraat. Halfway through the thing, he came to a stop and began to choke very loudly over the loudspeaker and everyone on the street stopped what they were doing, fearfully wondering if he was going to die mid-Azaan. Luckily, he lived to croak another day.
Why is it that as South African Muslims we have lost our pride to such an extent that being a Muezzin is a “dirty” job, suitable only for old men who have retired and are waiting for death? Or might already have died, judging from some of their voices.
Perhaps another point to raise is that as parents, do we only aspire for our children to become doctors and lawyers, and leave the religious jobs to the retarded ones whose only other option is working in “Deddy”’s hardware store? So is your faith in the material life of this world or in what is awaiting us in the Aakhirah?
Non-Muslims who live among us in our communities must hate us so, so badly.
The question on my mind is: are we ready to change the way we represent ourselves as Muslims in this country? If we put our minds to it, we too can get a trainer to help our faithful old muezzins hit the high notes and train some younger ones the correct way.
Glossary of South African / Muslim terms for Americans and other people on tik:
Muezzin: is a chosen person at the mosque who leads the call (azaan) to the five daily prayers (salat) from one of the mosque's minarets (in most modern mosques, electronic amplification aids the muezzins) Azaan: the Islamic call to prayers, given five times a day from mosques Tik: Methamphetamine Munafiqun: sing. Munafiq – one who is a hypocrite, mocks other Muslims behind their backs Kabr: the grave Aakhirah: the hereafter or afterlife Sakraat – in the throes of death, on one’s deathbed Mu’mineen (sing. Mu’min) – Believers in the One God of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) Jamat – (collective noun) the attendees of the prayers at mosque Jummah – the Friday noon prayers Ulema - religious leaders and scholars Sawab - heavenly reward
On the heels of Saturday’s attempted bombing of Times Square, Washington has announced the detention of a scapegoat US citizen of Pakistani origin, Faisal Shahzad.
According to the US Attorney-General, Eric Holder, the suspect returned from a trip to Pakistan, bought a Nissan Pathfinder, rigged it amateurishly with propane, fireworks and ticking clocks, then paraded around in front of CCTV cameras so that the authorities could get a good look at him before running off and trying to board a plane for Dubai.
This is so hilarious it almost made me slap my thigh. Almost.
On Sunday, New York’s Mayor and head of the NY Chapter of the Illuminati Michael Bloomberg said in a carefully worded statement: “We Al-Qaeda didn’t do it. We are sure of this because we didn't instruct the CIA to do it there is no evidence to support this claim”.
After the City Police Chief, Raymond Kelly, revealed that police were examining CCTV footage of the bomber, he told the media that he was looking for a “white male in his forties”.
Now they are telling us they caught the evil, naughty, Pakistani Islamist just before he could run away to Dubai. He’s not white. He’s not even 40. He’s a brown-skinned 30-year-old guy. Way to go, NYPD!
Now, I’m no naughty, evil, smelly Asian terrorist, but I have a couple of brain cells to rub together. If I were to think of planning something like this, it kind of stands to reason that I would want to cover my tracks a bit if I was planning to make an escape and not commit suicide like most of the CIA-programmed sleepers terrorists do these days. Would I use my own car with registration plates and VIN attached, proudly proclaiming to the world who the car belonged to? Uh, no. Would I make a bomb that hissed, emitted clouds of smoke and had CLOCKS THAT TICKED????? Good Lord! Would I then arm the bomb and walk around in a famous place with lots and lots of surveillance cameras for all the world to see me? Uh…. No. Would I bother to do it at all if all it was going to was maybe make a little fireball? I’d rather just run a couple of people over with the car, it would be more effective, and this being New York City, maybe no-one would even notice.
So you see, America, perhaps if you got your story straight in the first place, people might be more inclined to believe you your lies. Almost makes us blind sheep miss Richard Nixon, doesn’t it?
Women spend a lot of time looking for their soulmate. The “One”, the proverbial knight in shining armour, the man with the golden member. Whatever. Guys might think they’re looking for the “One” (you know: cooks, cleans, is contracted to wipe your mother’s backside when she becomes too old to eat solid food, etc. Oral sex is a plus.), but in reality, most guys will settle for whatever they land up with, as long as it has nice breasts.
The truth is, there's no such thing as a soulmate. There's simply a process that must be followed in marriage, and not everyone has the stomach for it. Sometimes the mixture goes green and has to be thrown out.
Guys don’t often look at the long-term picture here. Breasts hardly ever last forever - even the fake ones. Usually they are so surprised that a real live woman lets him touch her, he will, after enough nagging, settle down and have 2.5 kids. Trouble is, Married Utopia is like cheese – it may taste pretty nice, but after a while it gets stale and eventually, slightly furry. Especially after 2.5 kids.
Women have a knack for working with what they have. They will take that weedy underpaid office clerk and make him into that knight in shining armour, or he will die trying. Women see men as malleable lumps of clay, waiting to be moulded into a desirable shape with a late model car. She dutifully reminds him daily of his shortcomings and inspires him to be a richer, more successful man who will give her more money. She never gives up until he has become a tortured shadow of the dream she married. Still, by the time she has it, it is hard to deny the fact that he is balding and farts when he is nervous.
Men, on the other hand, tend to get disheartened quite easily. Just one year into the future, your glamorous sexy wife is transformed into a lumpy, misshapen mutant that either cries when you touch her or leaks milk out of her breasts, which, incidentally, used to be the object of desire of all the guys but now resembles uncooked dough in two long plastic bags.
So, you’ve been married ten years and your husband has avoided all your attempts to murder him and collect the inheritance. You’ve twice caught him texting other women and he now has enough scars and just enough brain cells left not to try it again. Your kids are big enough to start becoming their own people, and you have both realised that they are the kind of people you don’t really want to know. Getting to that plateau is the key. It is only then that the two of you will finally unite in mind, cellulite-stricken body and capitulating soul. The war is over. It is time to call a truce, wax each other’s backs and avoid your kids at all costs.