Prelude to a sabbatical

That time of the year has come again. Where as most of my readers will be celebrating thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, or the winter itself, I’ll be spending my time buried amid books pertaining to human diseases and the medicines we prescribe to correct them! Well, for the most part at least.

One thing is for certain: I will be taking a short leave of absence from social networking of all sorts. I wanted to leave my blog with something extraordinary before I left and as I was contemplating what my last words should be, I stumbled upon the idea of sharing with you the last words of some of my favorite people in history. After you read about their death, do remember to read about the lives they led. Inspiration is guaranteed.

1. Voltaire: “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” (Said to have spoken when he was asked to renounce Satan on his deathbed.)

2. Henry David Thoreau was on his deathbed when his aunt inquired:
“Have you made your peace with your God?”
“I never quarreled with my God.”
“But aren’t you concerned about the next world?”
“One world at a time.”

3. Karl Marx: “Go on, get out. Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”

4. Dr. Che Guevara: “I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, you’re only going to kill a man.”

5. Vincent Van Gogh: “La tristesse durera toujours” (“The sadness will last forever”)

6. Mozart: “The taste of death is upon my lips…I feel something, that is not of this earth.”

7. Napoleon Bonaparte: “Josephine…” (It’s what he used to call Rose, the woman he loved. She hated his guts.)

8. Winston Churchill: “I’m bored with it all.” (Slipped into a coma that lasted 9 days before he was finally declared dead.)

9. Alexander the Great: To the strongest! (When asked which one of his generals will control the Empire)

10. Groucho Marx: “Die, my dear? Why that’s the last thing I’ll do!”

Thank you, Malala.

“I dreamt of a country where education would prevail.”
said Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old campaigner for human rights & education.

Her dream was finally realized after UN’s Special Envoy for Global Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, handed a petition to the President of Pakistan this Friday. The petition, which was also signed by the president during the Waseela-e-Taleem initiative in Islamabad, was carrying more than one million signatures of the people across the world to show solidarity with Malala and support for every child’s right to education. As a result of her courage and perseverance to stand in the face of adversity, 32 million girls like her around the globe who are denied their right to school have finally been brought into the lime light.

President Asif Ali Zardari also announced on Friday, that poor families will now receive $2 a month per child in primary school, which is the bare minimum fee of a child attending a subpar, government supported educational institution in Pakistan. It may not be much, but it’s an incredibly progressive step in the short 65 year history of Pakistani independence. If Waseela-E-Taleem brings about what it promises, 3 million children will be in school by the end of 2012 and this is just for Pakistan. Many of these children will be girls.

As a religion, Islam has always been an advocate for women’s rights. Before came the fundamentalists, there was no acid throwing, no poisoning of girls for attending school, no stoning of women and no burying alive. All these issues were aroused by a lack of awareness and illiteracy, and could just as easily be eradicated by providing education to the masses. Starting with the backbone of a family, the woman, we seek not only to educate the mother of her children but rather an entire generation. This is what Malala Yousafzai had been hoping to achieve via her campaign against the insurgents who wanted to keep a region of people oppressed by keeping them uneducated.

You took a bullet for your nation, there is nothing more patriotic than that. Whatever future Pakistan has, you put your life on the line to mold it into something beautiful. For that, we’ll be forever grateful. Not everybody will approve of your actions, but don’t worry, ignorant people hated Muhammad (PBUH) and Jesus as well. It didn’t stop them from conveying the right message and I’ll be damned if it stops us. We are with you every step of the way. Thank you, Malala. Thank you for being the voice to 32 million children across the globe who are deprived of their right to education. Thank you for doing what none of us could and asking for nothing in return. You are forever loved and appreciated. Today on November 10th, we celebrate your bravery, courage, and vision as well as pray for your recovery & safety. Amen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

This weeks WordPress photo challenge was inspired by Quintin Lake, an award-winning architectural and fine art photographer based in Cheltenham, UK. He’s a former architect and author of Drawing Parallels: Architecture Observed.

This here is a picture taken at the Dubai Duty Free. Dubai’s architecture has taken off in general ever since the late 1990’s building boom. As of a survey taken in 2004, Dubai was housing over 30,000 construction cranes which was about 25% of the world’s only 125,000. Although I did have the pleasure of taking plenty of snaps in Dubai, this one relates more to the subject of this week’s photo challenge: geometry.

Dubai Duty Free

Duty Free at The Dubai Airport

Hypocrisy galore

Among my favoritest of people are those who embrace a liberal lifestyle only when it’s convenient for them and shun it when it isn’t. 

I, for one, am not perfect. Yes, I know it’s hard for everyone to believe, but it’s true. Time and time again I have held unsubstantial concepts, or for semantics sake: I now believe that the concepts I once held about certain things were not exactly logical. As long as someone is willing to explain to me why they believe that something I think or do is wrong, I’m willing to listen. The biggest perk, as well as the definition, of being liberal is being open minded to everything. Even to conservatism.

When someone explains to me their disagreement with a position I hold, without using the phrases “people will think” (which is a condition epidemic to the Indian Subcontinent also known as “what-will-people-think-itis“, etymology coined by the  brilliant Urooj Zia) and “this is the way it has always been“, I am more than willing to embrace the idea of listening to them.

Honestly, there is no reason to be against tradition unless it’s an impediment to contentment and progress.  “This is the way it has always been” should be a guiding force, not an imprisonment. Once the tradition loses practical purpose and begins to cause more loss than gain, it needs to be reconsidered. Mark twain once said something about customs: 

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”

This applies to almost everything we do under the “tradition” umbrella. Let’s suppose it’s still passable. Once, however, whatwillpeoplethinkitis emerges at the horizon, you have lost your argument. What you’re basically saying is that if no one found out about it, it would be acceptable even by the people’s own narrow minded and corrupt standards. By all means, that is how we (me and you both) define hypocrisy in the real world.

The truth is, a nation of hypocrites is what we have become.

There is still some hope for us though! It is never too late to give up on our life long commitment to imbecility. The cloak of religion can only take us so far before logic yanks it off and reveals a mortifying, dissoluted skeleton of sanctimony and self-righteousness. Then you die.