Your Attitude Determines Your Latitude

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he never existed.”

-The usual Suspects

Today we are living in a world dominated by great inequalities. Everywhere you look there are staggering disparities in income, education, standard of living, science and technology. Nothing is new about this trend. Social and economic inequalities have existed since the beginning of time. What is unique about this trend is the psychological effects it has had and it is still having on the so called “Third World Countries.”

Many people think or are thinking now that maybe people in the developed world are more intelligent than people in the less developed countries. There are many reasons for this distorted perception. First, the European colonization played a huge role in this ill-conceived mindset. It created a sense of inferiority from the side of the governed since they were mostly backward in terms of civilization, legal systems and science & technology.

Second, a freshly graduate with a smart idea from an underdeveloped country sees his/her counterpart that happens to be in the developed countries implementing ideas and running a successful business in a short period of time while he/she cannot do it at the same time.

These two cases coupled with the fact that they have been dominated for so long with respect to economics, politics and science & technology have created and instilled a sense of inferiority and self-defeating thoughts in the minds of many people from the “third world countries.” This fact made them question their own intellect and capabilities and as a result of that it left a seething doubt in their conscience.

The fact is that there has been no single scientific research that proved without a reasonable doubt that one’s intelligence is determined by his/her race. In other words, there is no strong positive correlation between intelligence and race. I also strongly believe without a shadow of doubt that God is just. He gave everyone a capable mind and the ability to realize and achieve one’s own potential . One thing we know for sure now. We know that they are not more intelligent than us. If that is the case, then why some communities/nations perform better than others? Are they more intelligent than the rest? Of course not.

When you see someone that is outperforming you it means that person is doing something that you are not doing so in order to bridge the gap you have to figure out what is it that they are doing. Of course today we are living in an era where your success  is most likely not determined by your hard work rather it is determined by your nationality and where you happen to be. That is why the bright, hardworking and freshly graduated student from a third world country can’t understand and digest why he/she is struggling with life and everyday trying to make ends meet while their counterpart on the other side of the court has a support system, access to cheap credit and many other opportunities.

The reality is that life is not fair and many of the things that happen to us in life is not of our choosing, like where one was born and which nationality you belong to. But we have to remember that God has given us a free will and that we always have a free choice. We can either feel sorry for ourselves and accept our fate or we can get up,  make the most out of what we have and take our destiny into our own hands. The choice is always there for us to make.

If we truly want to leave our mark on history we have to first get hold of our minds and fix our compasses on the right bearings. We have to tune in to our inner voice. That sneaky voice in our head. We have to listen to it very carefully because as it turns out 90% of our fears never comes true, hence we become prisoners of our own fears and insecurities.

Nothing in this world ever materializes on its own. It takes the collective commitment, will power and determination of the people to make things happen. It takes the collective creativity, ambition, resilience, tenacity and steel of nerve of the people to create things. If you do this and luck is on your side then surely nothing in the world can ever stop you. we have to realize that the world is out there for us to grab.

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Fairness, Justice & Equality

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by  their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

 –Declaration of Independence

One of the most abhorrent acts in the sight of God is injustice. God considers justice a supreme virtue. In fact it is only next in terms of importance to the believe in God’s exclusive right to worship. Allah declares in the Quran : “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor.” (4:135)

Justice and equality are the cornerstones for building a virtuous, moral and peace-loving society. If history is a good guide then we all know that no nation on earth has ever reached greatness without embracing and implementing universal values such as social justice, equality, freedom and tolerance. These values are the cement that holds a society together. Hence, any system that lacks the values we have just mentioned will surely not get any legitimacy and is doomed to fail at the end.

I am a strong believer of the theory of causality. Every action we take in life has its own consequences. Some maybe implicit while others are explicit. Our people have incurred so many injustices. Since the past 21 years, thousands and thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, their loved ones and their possessions. Some of us may have experienced horrific acts which are unbearable. Murders, executions and target-killings have become common occurrence to the point that now people are reacting to them indifferently. This is an alarming situation because material losses might be recovered but the moment we lose our empathy and emotions is the moment we cease to be human beings.

I believe we have spent enough time talking about our problems and challenges. There have been many heated arguments and debates about them and why they happened and what caused them. I am not saying that we should entirely stop talking about them. What I am saying is that instead of talking about problems all the time we should spend our energy on how to bring about solutions for our problems. Instead of seeing problems all the time, we should see the solutions for them. The reason I am saying this is simple: the more we think and talk about problems the more we lose sight of their solutions and become negative and  as a result that we become part of the problem. Buddha said: ” we are shaped by our thoughts, and we become what we think.”

We all live once and life is too short. Every one of us will be judged and accountable for his/her deeds. We have to make the most out of  our limited time here on Earth. We have to collectively fight and struggle against tyranny and oppression.  We have to be just and fair in our dealings. All of us should stand up for justice, equality and fairness. We have to remember that no matter how far down we have gone the wrong road , we can always turn back.

History Will Judge Us

Yes, we must, indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.

 Benjamin Franklin

Our country is at crossroads. Today our people are fighting for their own survival and identity as they are scattered all over the world in search for a better life and opportunities. Back at home, our people are struggling to keep ends meet despite all the chaos, political infighting and economic hardships which at the moment seems eternal to them. Most of them feel like they are in a vicious circle that never ends. This feeling has caused a widespread desperation and pessimism among the general public and as a result of that many of them are on the verge of resigning to this fate if not already.

This anarchy and pessimism is caused by many forces/groups who are pulling our country in different directions. They are luring and indoctrinating people with divisive and extremist ideologies. They are self-serving and have no regard whatsoever for the disintegration of our country and the suffering of our people. The voices of these groups are the ones that are loudest and being heard everyday.

From the devout single mother in Mogadishu who goes to the Bakara market to sell tea and samosas despite the imminent danger to her life, to the fruit picker in Afgooye have one thing in common: The only thing that crosses their mind is how to survive and feed their children. Both of them want to secure a better life and future for their children. They are not concerned with politics and divisive ideologies.

I believe that we don’t have to resign to this fate and lose hope. We have to be resilient and know with great conviction that although we may take different paths in life but that our destinies are linked together and that our final destination is the same. We have to use our collective minds and instill in our selves the value of community spirit.

The only way that I think we can come out of this predicament is when we first and foremost give our devotion and love to Allah. When we withdraw our allegiances from the self-serving groups and individuals and give it to our country. When we love, respect and help each other. When we realize that together we can rise and overcome our challenges. When we give our love and devotion to our country and become real patriots then it will be difficult if not impossible for our enemies and divisive groups to exploit our differences. However, being a real patriot doesn’t mean that we should become ethnocentric. We  should all love and respect humanity.

We have to let go of the past and forgive each other. We have to shutter the chains of tribalism, hatred and nepotism. We have to work together and embrace the future & its endless possibilities. We need to do better than the previous generations because if we fail, the next generation will look back at this era and say our forefathers failed us.

Finally, we have to realize that each country on earth has its own unique characteristics. We cannot just copy or import other systems and formulas that have worked in other countries to solve our problems. What we need to do is to seek and find an indigenous formula that helps us to solve  our problems. `