Tip of the ice burg

I’m sure most of your have either come across this study in your studies or seen it on The Contender (2ooo). The question is, how does company policy start?

Put five apes in a cage and in the middle of a cage, place a set of steps. At the top of the steps hang a banana. When the first ape starts up the steps, shoot all five apes with ice cold water from a fire hose for five minutes. When the next ape starts up the steps, do it again. That’s all you’ll need from the fire hose.

When the third time an ape starts up the steps, just wait. The other apes will beat the sh*t out of the ape. Now, replace one of the apes. He’ll start up the steps. Wait, and the other apes will beat the sh*t out of him. Repeat the process, one by one, until you have five ‘new’ apes in the cage. They’ll never let one of the apes up the steps. And if you were to ask why, the answer would be simple:

Because that’s the way it’s always been done.

And that’s what’s happened to us. It’s like there’re invisible lines, restriciting us. And the horror stories of the past keep us firmly within our limits. I know of many families who have felt the burn of the ice cold water. And so, their descendants aren’t willing to take the risk. But I was raised in Canada. Far away from the impotent and corrupt acts of the Middle East, the ignorance of America, and the deeply rooted ethnocentrism of Europe. It was so easy to be open minded. To be the ‘peace makers.’ We were raised differently. I was wearing my hijab at the time of 9/11, yet the majority of opinions I faced were ones of sympathy. I was shocked to my core when someone spat at me at work. But the man behind him literally grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, made him apologize, and threw him out of the store – to cheers from the remaining crowd. Recently, not so much what with the strong movement towards patriotism and being best buds with (or the lap dogs of) America. 

I don’t buy into the methods of Arabs. I’ve never burnt a flag to show my displeasure with a country’s policies. And I never will, God willing. I’m above and beyond those methods. It follows that I can not call my self a Muslim, and thus a follower of the prophet Mohammed, if I don’t follow in his example. And so, I refuse to resort to their level. And I refuse to shove all the blame onto the shoulders of the governments who refuse to take actions. I am a human. I have a voice and I have a brain. And thus, I shoulder some of the responsibility. 

But, while I’m all for peaceful measures – such as protests – a blind man can see the lack of effect they’re having. This is more than wearing your keffiyeh, marching in the streets, and writing articles. While those are important – the efforts have to be on two fronts. The short term and the long term. And as I’ve noticed, and please correct me if I’m wrong, Arabs tend to focus on the one – short term. So we get all riled up and storm our streets screaming “Jews are dogs” and burning the flags of those who offend us.

I believe the problems in the Middle East are more deeply rooted than that. We are the problem. These people need to revolt against themselves. They need to believe in the power they have. I don’t blame Hossni Mubarak when he decided to play the puppet for Israel and refused to open the gates and allow aid in. I blame the Egyptians who didn’t take matters in their own hands. And the same holds true for all the people who stood by and watched Gaza burn – especially the people of the neighbouring countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia (the last “Islamic” government). Myself included. The situation is now winding to a close (before Obama takes charge – clever, eh?). The question remains however, do we learn from our mistakes? Or do we continue down the path that lead us here?

One thing should be realized and taken as fact. The problem is not, as some believe, the strength of our enemies. The problem is our weakness. I’m sure you’ve heard the tag line “United we stand, divided we fall.” We are the divided. The weak. 

The corruption that runs rampant in our societies has to stop. Twisting of Islamic law to suit the needs of some has to stop. Our lies, jealousy, manipulations, immorality – they all have to go. Ya Allah! Sometimes I’m dazzeled by the beauty of Islam. It’s so simple, and so sweet! Look at this line: None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself – the Prophet Mohammed. It wasn’t until they pray, or fast, or wear hijab. Islam is in your soul and your hearts. 

So you can imagine, when a few days ago I walked into the elevator in my building and was faced with this, I was literally sick to my stomach.

Flag in the elevator

And then later, in Bab Touma:

Flag in Bab Touma

Why on earth?! When I saw people burning the Quran, or ripping its pages and stepping on them I was saddened. When I saw the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in that Danish magazine I was honestly exasperated. And I pitied the cartoonist. When I saw Fitna, the movie, I laughed. That’s what you’re reverting to? How pathetic! I know this won’t sit well with some. A lot of people believe I lack patriotism or dignity because I can look at the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and not go on a killing rampage, and see the genocide in Gaza and not condone the murder every Israeli man, woman, and child. I want to ask those people: what are we defending? What are we fighting for? If your answer is our dignity or Palestine, then you need to reorganize your priorities.

Personally, that’s not what I’m in this fight for. I’m fighting, as my brother Horseman taught me, under the flag of La Illah Illa Allah. And I fight using the methods of the Prophet I follow. I don’t stoop to their level. For those who disagree, read this article, by no2wars. I quoted the hadeeth of the Prophet and I will do so again: a neighbour of the Prophet (some say she is Jewish some say its a man) used to greet the prophet every morning by throwing her garbage at him. A few days went by and she didn’t show up so he goes and visits her to make sure she is okay. That is the prophet a follow.

If you still don’t agree, I’m really sorry. But please, bear with me for a moment When you see this

Finger Posteraren’t you filled with disgust? With hopelessness? Aren’t you struck speechless by the hatred and ignorance that went behind such an inhumane statement? Can’t you clearly see the hopelessness and redundancy of saying something like that?

So now the tables have been turned and I have to pity my own people. There are others of course, those who have posted more effective pictures such as:




but the thing is, Gaza is the tip of the ice burg. Below the murky waters lie problems and issues we’re too afraid to look directly at, for fear of being overwhelmed or having to finally owe up. And so we shy away from the responsibility, and hope it all resolves itself. Tomorrow Obama will become the president of the United States. I pray that he is a better man that Bush was, that he has the humanity not to commit Bush’s crimes. But that doesn’t mean I wait for him, and twiddle my thumbs in the meanwhile. I’ll improve myself. And you’ll improve yourself. And we’ll build for a brighter future. God willing.

Because: “Verily, God does not change the condition of a people until they change themselves.” 

If you want a quick recap of why we need to change ourselves, read these two posts that have been brought to my attention. By Desi Diva regarding Israel’s past actions (thanks to Nadia). And another article, Gaza: The Logic of Colonial Power. (Thanks to A Student’s Life)

Let’s stop being the apes that blunder blindly into the mistakes and pitfalls of our forefathers. The world needs a solution. One that requires planning for the long term rather than indulging in short term actions that gratify our need for immediate action. Don’t you agree?



Filed under Canada, Head-Bangers, Ignorance, islam, Islamophobia, Israel, News, Palestine, Reflections, Syria

19 responses to “Tip of the ice burg

  1. Such a great post with so much meaning, thank you!

  2. Ayesha

    You are so deep ):

    I wish I could think like you, but I’m less inclined to think about my words and actions and more inclined to jump up and start yelling at people.

    I really hope that one day soon the politicians of the Muslim world (and actually, all the people of the Muslim world) can have as much insight, sympathy and understanding as you!

  3. Can you run for office? Woman, you are wonderful! There is much hope for the world with people like you in it. You make SO MUCH sense! GREAT POST!!

  4. I second that nomination. Great post.

  5. love the new banner first of all..
    and that’s pretty messed up :S

  6. Mythos

    Wow. All I can say is wow!

    That article was amazing S&S!!

    Very touching, very true, and definitely touched my soul. Thank you very much for your words, and I hope that many, many people read this article.

    Your friend,

    ~ Mythos

  7. Liya – Thanks!

    Ayesha – Oh wow. Thank you!! I hope so =)

    Susanne – LOL!! First journalism and now politics? 😉

    Mona – Awww…thanks =)

    Naseem – About the banner, thanks! =) And, uhh, messed up? Lol. I hope you’re referring to the flags on the floor and not my opinion 😉

    Mythos – Wow back at you! ‘Touched your soul,’ eh? I’m honored. Thank you =)

  8. Mythos

    lol..yes S&S, you definitely touched my soul. I’m the one who is honored to know you as a friend who has love & compassion for others. Keep up the good work.

    ~ Mythos

  9. Thank you for your kind words. You set the bar quite high!! 😉

  10. I loved the monkey example. I am going to quote it to my class.

  11. I know! It’s very powerful, eh?

  12. S$S,

    Great Title but I respectfully disagree with the post. May I disagree?

    As you state, “..fighting under the flag of La Illah Illa Allah and …using the methods of the Prophet I follow..” is really the right thing. Under such “flag” then we all need to rush to defend our brothers ANYWHERE in the world wherever they may be oppressed or abused or under occupation. We’re not doing that.

    Likewise, the Prophet’s (pbuh) example does not really fit he scenario. Remember, he was in charge of his faith, beliefs and actions. He was a leader with a message. He was to set an example. Drawing a parallel is.. well.. let’s say it’s two lines that separate widely! He was peaceful but strong. The woman was not a militant power fighting him. As a Prophet, he most likely asked God to forgive her for her ignorance. And the loving caring neighbor that he was, he visited her on her death bed! She was a neighbor!!!

    Yet Israel throws upon us their garbage – if you will – and keep killing our brothers and sisters – whether it’s their ITF (Israeli Terror Forces) or the Settlers actions or the government in general which continues to steal and confiscates Palestinian lands. And so on. Since 1937 and we’ve been living under such terror! Imagine that Palestinian farmers who are not permitted to plant or tend to heir lands (since their land is occupied by the military thugs) get their lands confiscated after 3 years according to Israeli laws! When these farmers went to court, the Israeli judges upheld the decision and confiscated the land because the land was unattended and unused – even though the ITF is on the land! The judges told the farmers to sue the army and the law is the law.. that it was not their problem that the army ocupied the land!!!

    I call this blatant lying and stealing! Actually, it’s really Ethnic Cleansing!

    What are we to do? Accept that because we want peace? Peace comes at a price: it’s called justice! When we don’t get either, we have to take it by force from the oppressor for we were created free. And since we are also oppressed by our governments and cannot get “permission” to rush to our brothers support, regardless where they may be, we risk our lives or torture and prison… even at “home.”

    Remember the famous story of Almo’tasem? A woman who was slapped cried out “Wa Mo3tasemah” (Oh Mo’tasem, Ameer ul Mo’mneen, Help)[ ok, poor translation :p]? He prepared an army and liberated this area called Amoriah and dragged its ruler to the woman’s feet to get her rights back and serve justice. We all know the story.

    He did not send a letter asking for an explanation nor did he order a summit or complain to the U.N. Justice was served and swiftly. Likewise Haroon Al Rashid with Hercules and that story! In other words, the flag of La Ilaha Illa Allah is action with justice!

    Withe the absence of justice even in our homelands, the way the masses – your building, Syrians and others, express their dissatisfaction, is as such… step on the star and flag that represents Nazism, oppression, injustice and cruelty!

    Our forefathers were strong, just and honorable people. This is why the Islamic Empire ruled with blind justice that was better than and more perfect than democracy.

    This is why they prospered and introduced the sciences that Europe used to emerge from the dark ages and into modern Europe!

    And we went the other way!!!


  13. Of course you may disagree! But I think we agree more than you think 😉 Allow me to explain:

    I want to restate my point again, if you don’t mind. There are many problems besieging the world today – not least of which is Palestine. For sixty years now, we’ve watched the slow yet sure disintegration of their land, their rights, their basic dignities, and so on and so forth. For sixty years we’ve been trying methods that have failed or, at the very least, can be said to be inadequate. What I am suggesting is not that resistance stop. As you said, silence against injustice does not and can never result in peace. Injustice can only be fought with justice, lies with truth, oppression with liberation. And so I completely agree with you when you say “the flag of La Ilaha Illa Allah is action with justice!” I do not suggest that we succumb to our circumstances and accept the scraps we are given to appease us. On the contrary, I refuse to accept a solution less than one that affords Palestinians their rights, their dignities, and allows them to reclaim every inch of land they lost. What I’m suggesting, and here is my main point, is that our methods of resistance change, at least to incorporate the methods of the Prophet and religion we claim to defend. When I quoted the Quran, I believe that before we point the finger of accusation at others we direct it towards ourselves and our own shortcomings. And before we look towards others – Obama, the UN, anyone – we should work to build the power we could wield in our hands if only we realized it and worked for it.

    And so, while burning flags may satisfy someone’s urge to express their extreme displeasure and dissatisfaction with nations, does it really solve anything? Does it bring us closer to our goal? I strongly believe that if I have a goal, each and every step I take should bring me closer to fulfilling it. If it does not then it is not only wasted effort it also causes regression. There are a number of reasons I object actions such as flag burning and stepping on flags. First, I believe in respecting others – regardless of how they treat me. I’ve heard the counter argument that respect must be earned, but in this situation I do not believe that the actions of some (the IDF, Olmert, Sharon, etc) justifies my abuse of something, that may be meaningless to me, yet symbolizes something dear or scared to someone else. That would be mean I was stereotyping and discriminating – two things I never do. Second, as I said, any action that is not productive is destructive. What is there to gain through these actions? I can’t see anything constructive or productive. On the other hand, expressing dissatisfaction by using dolls to symbolize dead children, wearing keffiyehs, holding candlelight vigils, dressing as Guantanamo prisoners, writing letters effectively and respectfully get the point across. Third, we do Islam and our Prophet an injustice if we commit these actions in their name. “Life for a life, eye for an eye…. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way for charity, it is an act of atonement for himself.” (5:45). That is the Islam I follow. Wisdom, and respect, and faith. Determination and adherence and motivation.

    So to sum it all up – we must resist. There is no other option. But our methods of resistance must change. They must become more wise and productive. At least that is what I believe =)

    btw, I think you misunderstood me on one point – I didn’t mean to sound as though the hadeeth I used as an example could be applied to Palestine. They are, as you said, two unrelated incidents. I used that example in response to some Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons – the death threats, damaged property, and what not. But never to Palestine.

  14. worldcitizen

    Quote When I saw Fitna, the movie, I laughed. Unquote

    In The Netherlands we didn’t laugh.
    We remembered Theo van Gogh. The director who was killed in 2004 by a muslim because of his movie in which he criticized the Quran.

    The producer of Fitna, a member of our Parliament, is now under 24/7 protection by body-guards.

    Same as in Canada where you’ve lived, I’m raised to respect peoples individual freedom. The freedom- and right to accept, but also to reject and to be critical. These fundamental rights includes religions too.

    Same as you I want my rights, my culture, my believes, my country and my freedom to be respected as I do others. I cherish my freedom of speech and expression.

    The Netherlands is known through history for defending each persons liberty and for its open-, multicultural society.
    In the last decades a large amount of muslims have come over to our country and settled down to stay forever. They’re still more then welcome. We even have a muslim major in our 2nd largest city; Rotterdam.
    But respect is a 2-way street. Is it too much to ask respect for my values and these of the country I’m born in? Without being afraid to be killed?

    I hope now you understand why we didn’t laugh about Fitna.


  15. There is only one language the zionists speak and understand, violence.

    What made them bow to their knees when they invaded southern lebanon in ’06? Was it demonstrations? It was the fact that their soldiers got smoked and that Hizbullah knew every move they made before they made it.

    The true revolution will come when Muslims realize that if they coordinate their efforts, the zit on the ass’s butt will vanish – i.e. Israel. In reality it takes only a handful of Muslims to change their governments, and the beginning of liberty can be felt. It happened in Iran, france, even America!

  16. worldcitizen

    I guess my post is censored?

  17. I think you made your point loud and clear, S&S – the goal is EFECTIVENESS. All the posturing, all the emotional speeches mean nothing. Find a strategy that works. I liked your analogy with the prophet, and I think it was apt. When you meet violence with violence, things spiral upward. When one has all the power, when one is a bully, the other has to find new ways of achieving his/her goals. Has to find new ways of thinking, new behaviors. I think you made the point clearly.

  18. World Citizen – That’s odd. You say you respect people’s individual freedom and rights, yet retain the right to reject or be critical of those freedoms. So you’ll excuse of me if I fail to see what you’re arguing against as one of my main points was that that right should be tempered with respect. Wouldn’t you agree? Or else this post wouldn’t exist and I would be among the masses who choose to burn and desecrate what other people hold sacred and you’d be supporting the ‘actions’ of the Muslims Wilders and van Gogh were being critical of.

    And you seem to have misunderstood my usage of laugh. I did not laugh humorously. I laughed in derision. I laughed at the measures some people will resort to. It’s quite disgusting. I know nothing of Dutch people or the netherlands to be honest, but regardless of the cartoons, movies, and other racist, anti-Islamic, and (in all honesty) ignorant, baseless, and extreme acts I’ve seen generated from that area, I’ve yet to come to the conclusion that all Dutch people are this intolerant, or rushed the streets screaming “Death to the Dutch.” Because, really, I’ve been blessed with a brain and I refuse to let the misdeeds of some dictate and justify my actions. I’d think that’s straight common sense, but apparently many people, including Theo van Gogh fail to see it that way.

    And about van Gogh. The man was not only unknowledgeable in the extreme, I can honestly say his actions show no desire to attain knowledge and make any sort of contributing arguments. His sole purpose wasn’t to educate or provide constructive criticism. He seemed to delight in feeding off ignorance and breaking every taboo out there. That’s not quite what I’d call freedom of speech. Or is explaining the smell of carmel by saying “they’re only burning diabetic Jews” freedom of speech?

    And please. When on earth did the phrase “freedom of speech” come to include the ignorant, baseless, insensitive, and sometimes straight up disrespectful statements of people like Wilders and van Gogh?

    But as you said, “respect is a 2-way street. Is it too much to ask respect for my values and these of the country I’m born in? Without being afraid to be killed?”

    Is it too much to ask that people at least attempt to understand who I am, the religion I follow, and my opinions before calling me a terrorist, oppressed, and linking me with Al Qaeda? Is it too much to ask that people exercise their grey matter before falling for stereotypes?

    Like you said, it goes two ways. Seems people like Wilders and van Gogh, who expect to get off with their oh so daring and revolutionary acts that show no respect whatsoever, ought to learn that lesson, eh?

    Besides, wasn’t laughter, however humorless and derisive, better than gunning him? I don’t understand what you expect my reaction to be. Applause? Support? Please.

  19. btw, World Citizen, the default on wordpress is that all first time commenters are placed in moderation. Once your email address is recognized, your comments are automatically accepted….

    Abu Layth – No doubt that violence, in certain situations, is the answer. I can’t expect those in wars to just stand there and turn the other cheek. But I’m not in Palestine right now and I am unable to resist in the way those who are there should and are. I can, however, resist in my own way. By improving myself, my practice of Islam, and my country. There are many problems plaguing the Ummah. Maybe we should exert some efforts towards solving those as well.

    Intlxpatr – Exactly! I saw a T-shirt once that read “Fighting for peace is like $%&*ing for virginity.” There are other, more effective ways to initiate change.

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