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Behind and Beyond the Veil

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March 2016

The Disintegration of a Republic?

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As a product of middle class suburbia, I adhered to what it meant to be American and the promise of the American dream. At one time, I clung to the “land of the free,” “home of the brave,” “leaders of the free world,” ideology. I would watch the news of places like India and see uneducated villagers blindly follow their politicians as if they were gods. Or, I would see brawls between members of Parliament in the Ukraine. Again, at the time, I saw American politics as somehow being above that kind of nonsense. Our politicians and our people overall are more educated, and those kinds of problems mainly occur in developing nations. In other words, I believed the arrogant hype that the Western world has peddled over the past century.

What I have been seeing lately in the political arena is the stuff B-movie political thriller or satire, in many cases is made of. The larger, more dismal question is: am I witnessing the disintegration of a republic?

Our elected officials only selectively uphold our Constitution and espouse such divisive, ignorant rhetoric that belies any education they may have. This nation’s conservatives have unleashed an unprecedented level of disrespect to President Obama, going so far as to block his Supreme Court nominee, which is his Constitutional right to do. He’s been called a liar in Congress and has been blamed for everything from ISIS to Donald Trump.

Now, Michelle Bachmann is blaming Obama for the terror attacks in Belgium. She even goes on to assert that his “…humiliation comes in a manner so devastating it makes one wonder whether the creator of humankind is reminding this world of the inferiority of foolishness in the face of wisdom.” Even God doesn’t approve of Obama. Really?

Last time I checked, separation of church and state existed. How many times has this woman and other right-wingers evoked God’s name and Jesus’s name in their rhetoric? Furthermore, Jesus taught about love and light. How does someone talk about Jesus and then spew hatred? Michelle Bachmann and others have shown their hypocrisy by doing just that.

Our 2016 Presidential Election is revealing the worst sides of the candidates and the American people. Both Republican front runners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are preying on the xenophobia and fear of the American people, emphasizing their anti-Islam, anti-immigrant agendas. Has anyone stopped and thought about how Ted Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants? Then again, many Germans didn’t think about how Hitler was a quarter Jew. Speaking of lack of thought, has it occurred to no one that Trump isn’t saying much about what he will do in office, other than ban Muslims and build a wall?

This is the problem here. Apparently, many are not thinking for themselves. Instead, they are teeming with arbitrary reactions and finding ways to blame the President for the ills of a changing world. Assigning blame is an effective smokescreen to avoid allocating responsibility where it really belongs: decades of war-mongering and poorly thought-out policy.

Conservatives are so busy impeding President Obama’s agenda that they refuse to acknowledge how they are hindering the country. They have blocked legislation that would benefit Americans just to oppose the President. Sadly, many Americans are too busy letting their elected officials do the thinking for them. They are so blinded by the meaningless rhetoric they keep electing the same representatives who put their interests aside in favor of lobbyists and corporations.

The general public seem to be so easily misled by slanted media and self-serving politicians they miss real issues. They miss how we can take cues from other developed nations who have lower poverty rates, lower crime rates, real environmental protections, and other policies that actually benefit their people.

This is why I am disappointed in the events I see that could lead to the disintegration of this republic. For a young country, we have made great strides, but there are those who obstruct that progress for their own selfish agendas.

Think for yourselves, people. Leave the blame game behind and take responsibility for your own fates.

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

Top Ten Favorite Poems of all Time

WILLIAM-SHAKESPEARE Rabindranath-Tagore

Monday was World Poetry Day. While I have written verses that I choose to call poetry, I would not call myself a poet. I still sat down and thought about my favorite poems of all time. As I chose these poems, I marveled at the diversity of my own tastes. The poems I chose are not from one category. Most are love poems. Some are poems of resistance. Some are inspirational. I think your tastes in art are a reflection of who you are. I hope you appreciate this impromptu catalogue of eclectic linguistic artistry… And this glimpse of my eclectic nature.

  1. “When We Two Parted” – Lord Byron

 

  1. “Kubla Khan” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

  1. “Cross” – Langston Hughes

 

  1. “If We Must Die” – Claude McKay

 

  1. “Still I Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

  1. “Out Beyond Ideas” – Rumi

 

  1. “The Breeze at Dawn” – Rumi

 

  1. “Black Blossom” – Rabindranath Tagore

 

  1. “Unending Love” – Rabindranath Tagore

 

  1. Sonnet 130 – “My Mistress’ Eyes on Nothing Like the Sun” – William Shakespeare

 

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

The Siddiqui Brothers on: The Muslim World

13th century illustration depicting a public library in Baghdad, from the Maqamat Hariri. Bibliotheque Nationale de France

The Siddiqui Brothers have spent the last 700 years on The Other Side learning and exploring. For them, life on the next plane hasn’t been much different from when they were here. They have remained open to experience and continue to observe humanity. In their time, they were involved in the progression of not just the Muslim World but humanity. In the name of science and knowledge they taught and learned from all who came in their sphere.

Today, they marvel at all humanity has discovered. Yet, they are somewhat dismayed at the lack of progress, and in some cases regression of this current human experience.

Omar: Brothers, do you remember how much we used to love studying the skies?

Jafar: The best way to understand infinity.

Nasir: Remember the House of Wisdom? What a gift to the world! Centuries of learning and progress in one place! I am grateful that we were a small part of it.

Jafar: We and others like us taught and learned from each other.

Omar: We did all this in what is now called “The Muslim World.” But now, there is so much fear associated with that part of the world. That part of the world has come undone in many ways.

Nasir: They were helped and hindered by the Western world, but they have taken many actions that have harmed themselves.

Jafar: Too true, unfortunately.

Omar: Of course, what we are seeing now was in response to being conquered. Yet, you don’t respond to being conquered by degenerating and turning on yourselves.

Nasir: The Sunnis and Shiites just kill each other too often. In our time, there were judgments of course. There was fighting, but they still haven’t seemed to learn that is not the answer.

Jafar: And what some of them do to women… Keeping them locked in the house… Throwing acid in their faces if they’ve done something “wrong.” Lack of education and medical treatment. That is not Islam!

Omar: In some ways, they haven’t gone beyond our time, and in some ways, they’ve gone backwards. To chop someone’s head off and then claim Allah and jihad is so damaging to all. And they don’t care!

Jafar: I don’t understand how in 700 years some of them have not seen how they debilitate themselves by mistreating half of the population. We said it then and, we’re still saying it!

Nasir: Whether it’s 700 years ago or this time, the Progressives and the Moderates have to speak. Because of fear, they let these barbarous extremists drown out their voices. The Conservatives need to shut their mouths, too!

Omar: Ah, Nasir, whether in body or spirit, you plunge your words like a dagger. You always make me smile. But you are correct. The Conservatives are still too busy criticizing others for how they practice religion and force their interpretations on everyone. “She doesn’t wear hijab. Music is haram. You can’t talk to a woman who’s not your family. You don’t pray enough.” The list of their grievances has never ceased. They need to focus their attention on the cancer of extremism.

Jafar: Lack of education and resources contributes to ignorance. That will always be the case in the human experience. That is why it is the responsibility of those who with privilege to assist those who are without. Instead, those who have would rather hammer those who have not.

Nasir: Educating people and helping them evolve is how you squash extremism. Instead, many covet and zealously guard what they have. In many ways, their unity is gone. Forget partnering with those who are not Muslim. I never understood that. We’re all here together, created by one hand.

Omar: Did we ever really have unity among ourselves, as Muslims? As soon is the Prophet crossed to this side, we broke ourselves in two. When we educated ourselves, we could live with the schism. In this time, without the knowledge we used to seek like food, we are devouring ourselves. In many ways, we have marginalized ourselves.

Nasir: It’s all human nature. To separate based on what makes us different, not unite based on our common goodness.

Jafar: It’s all so simple. They have to unite for what is good and learn from everyone, like we did.

Nasir: When do human beings ever do anything simply?

Omar: The complexity of the human mind, their greatest attribute and their greatest weakness.

 

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

The Siddiqui Brothers on: The 2016 Presidential Election

Republican candidateshillary-clinton-w724Bernie Sanders

In the time of the Siddiqui brothers, the world enjoyed prosperity. It was literally a golden age with great advancement in literature, science, philosophy, medicine, and many other subjects. Jafar, Omar, and Nasir were in the middle of it, relishing it all. They were gentlemen and scholars who loved learning just for learning’s sake.

It has been over 700 years since they left this plane. From the other side, they’ve enjoyed watching the progression of humanity. However, many times, they have observed regression, as well. From what they have observed, it’s always for the same reason: fear. Fear of the looming threat of an unconquerable enemy whose sole purpose is destruction for all who represent what’s good in the world. This perceived threat has been the cause of the demise of many a great empire in the world. The inevitable, indulgent excess doesn’t help, either. They never put too much energy into judging others when they were in their bodies, and they don’t judge from the Other Side.

However, the 2016 US Presidential Election is most intriguing for them. On one side, some of the most fearsome, frightful hypocrites have brainwashed large groups of the masses with the promise of “making America great again.” On the other side, you have two possibilities for “firsts.” It’s a staggering dichotomy for the Siddiquis, but one they have enjoyed watching and discussing.

Omar: The Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump has called for a ban on Muslims but has conducted copious amounts of business with Arabs, who the majority of which, when last seen are Muslim. Their money is good enough for him, but they’re too dangerous to be in the country?

Nasir: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both Latin immigrants but want to curb immigration. They support legislation that benefits corporations but goes against the American worker. How can you do that when your parents were workers? You’re above that now, so you forget where you come from?

Jafar: Hillary Clinton would be the first woman president and Bernie Sanders would be the first Jew. That shows some expansion in thinking. Yet on the other hand, there are those who would still have slaves and think that freeing them was a mistake! The wonder and destructiveness of human beings never ceases to astound even over a period of centuries!

Omar: True brother! Remember in the early part of the 20th century where you had the leader in Germany talking of a “master race?” His alienation and eventual mass murder of Jews, homosexuals, mentally challenged, and anyone else he deemed unworthy or dangerous followed. It seems that that history is repeating. All because these leaders who should know better prey on the fears of the people. It’s a shame that even as centuries pass this fallacy has continued to be prevalent.

Jafar: Doesn’t this Donald Trump character remind you of that brute Genghis Khan a bit? No interest in diplomacy or education, just wants to pummel everything in his path? He even has the wild hair! That world is still a frightening place in some ways! Weren’t we lucky to live in the time we lived in?

Nasir: We weren’t so bothered with Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and the like. We learned from each other for the greater good. So many times, we adopted each other’s ways. All we wanted to do was move forward, and it didn’t matter where the knowledge originated from. These people in the world now; they seem to want to go backwards.

Omar: Across space and time, the good and the wise have to speak. I think they will.

Jafar: Glad we moved on!

Nasir: We’ll still learn, teach, and have the fun we’ve always had! Let them make the same mistakes over and over again!

Until next time… look behind and beyond the veil…

Jafar and Larymea

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When Jafar was comfortable with his otherworldly powers, he met a fascinating being. Celestial beings can take many diverse forms. Most who interact with and aid human beings choose a human form. One such being was Larymea, spirit guide to Zahra.

From the first visual of Larymea, Jafar knew she was spirit. Of course, instinctually he knew what she was, but when he saw divinity in her eyes, he was certain. Larymea was a presence, a beautiful one, also, and Jafar always noticed a beautiful woman.

When she approached him, he knew right away that she wanted something from him. These spirits always want something from me. Let’s see what this one’s after. He thought to himself.

He darted into a side street because, even though all of Cairo knew of his skill with expelling jinn, he avoided speaking to spirits in the presence of others. Since they can’t see what he sees, he saw no reason to draw any more attention than he already received.

“Hello, Good Spirit! What do you require of me?” He saw no need to be anything other than direct. Spirits have no need for sugary language. Circumstances are either are or they are not. They are well aware of this.

“I am Larymea, spirit guide to Zahra. My mortal has been taken hold of by a jinni. I seek your assistance.”

Jafar became serious right away. The sole function of a spirit guide is simply to guide. They are not permitted by the Divine Creator to intervene. Only a human or another jinni can expel jinn. Jafar had to act right away.

“Where is Zahra, now?” he asked, concern in his voice.

“Home with her mother. She knows it’s a jinn and has already seen Imam Haroun, but it has to be you.” He was acquainted enough with the spirit world to know that whatever has to be must be, and no questions need to be asked.

He went with Larymea. Hafiz, his guiding jinn came along, literally out of nowhere (well, the Other Side actually). No one spoke. First, Jafar went to his own home and got his ether and other supplies. After that, they went to the little girl’s home.

When Jafar arrived at the house, Zahra’s mother welcomed him with tears in her eyes. He took her hands in his and told her he would take care of her daughter. He went to the veranda of the house. Zahra was there. She made noises that almost sounded like growling. She couldn’t have been any more than eight years old. For a short moment, Jafar had a glimpse of the little girl inside the body. She looked up at him and said, “Help.” Then, she was gone again. Jafar knew the jinni was toying with him. This angered him, and he rarely got angry. Whenever it was a situation where children were involved, he was invested. He was able to distance himself with adults, but not with children. They were his vulnerability.

Despite that, he maintained his composure. He spread the ether around the little girl, who lunged at him. Using the strength of his own light energy, he threw her off him. Then, he tied her to a pillar with rope. As strong as many jinn are, Jafar’s energy was always stronger. Humans who are blessed with spiritual gifts are always stronger than jinn. Armed with this knowledge, Jafar was seldom afraid. In this case, he was only afraid because he didn’t want to hurt Zahra, who wasn’t even in control of her own body.

He positioned his hands in her direction. Some people with his ability have the spiritual energy in their hands. Some have it in their eyes. Some even have it in their breath. Jafar had impressive energy in his hands both physically and energetically. He employed much of it in this case. This jinni wanted to hold on to this girl, and he wasn’t giving her up.

They struggled. Jafar was bounced around like a ball. Larymea and Hafiz casually observed. Although Jafar knew it was not permissible for them to intervene, he still couldn’t help but think: Would the universe collapse if they helped me even a minute amount?  He had no choice but to release that thought. He fully understood his missions had to be completed by him, without the direct assistance of the divine beings in his life.

Finally, Jafar overpowered the jinni. He was a grayish green color, with the broad chest and shoulders of a man. He was bald at top and at the bottom, he was only a stream of green air. Jafar put him in his copper jar. He would release him to a safe area later. He fell to the ground and stayed there. He said a prayer of protection over the girl. As always, he was energetically spent from the expulsion.

He looked up at Hafiz. Hafiz walked over to him to him and shot a ray of light into him. He stood up right away. He walked over to Zahra and untied her. She was unconscious, so he placed her on a couch.

Larymea walked over to her mortal. She glanced over at Jafar. She put her hand on her heart and gently nodded once in his direction. He nodded back in her direction.

Jafar and Hafiz left the house and returned to the home he shared with his brothers. He rarely spoke of his encounters with jinni with them, and they rarely asked. Like everything else he felt he was meant to do, he did it and kept moving. He never saw Larymea, again.

Until next time…look behind and beyond the veil…

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