Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prayer from Rilke's Love Poems to God

Perhaps to each thirsty reader within each different setting, this petition may become particular and new?

I am praying, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words
from the depths of me
rush toward you in the wind.

I’ve been scattered in pieces,
torn by conflict,
mocked by laughter,
washed down in drink.

In alleyways I sweep myself up
out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you,
who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands
in wordless beseeching, that I may find again
the eyes with which I once beheld you.

I am a house gutted by fire
where only the guilty sometimes sleep
before the punishment that devours them
hounds them out into the open.

I am a city by the sea
Sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself, as though someone unknown
had poisoned my mother as she carried me.

It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
that now I find myself again.
I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
in an all-embracing mind that sees me
as a single thing.
I yearn to be held
in the great hands of your heart -
oh let them take me now.
Into them I place these fragments, my life,
and you, God – spend them however you want.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke’s Book of Hours – Love Poems to God

In a later letter Rilke writes as follows: "...There is only-- love. The way our heart is coerced to consider one or another thing to be true, which is usually called belief, does not make sense. First one must find God somewhere and experience him as so infinite, so abundant, so tremendously present, then it may be fear, it may be astonishment, it may be breathlessness, it may in the end be --Love..."

Winter Tree found here

Monday, January 10, 2011

“We either live together, or we die together” Muslims make selves "Human Shields" at Midnight Mass

This photo found at The Truth Pursuit site

You Tube url here Al Jazeera's publication is entitled "Midnight mass in tense Egypt" where there are over 8,000 readers' comments

The Muslims organized under the slogan “We either live together, or we die together,” inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist:

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy...whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea.

See several other postings and titles such as this one at thetruthpursuit.com "Egyptian Muslims Become Human Shields to Defend Christians from Terrorism here

There may be a reasonable debate as to whether or not the holding of this service and/or the gathering of this group of courageous people who became "human shields" should have made this choice. Yet, given this event took place, perhaps Christians and Muslims have thereby moved a few large steps closer to one another and toward peace worldwide.

Thousands of Egyptian Muslims Show Up as "Human Shields" to Defend Coptic Christians
as posted Saturday 08 January 2011 in Truthout where over 4,000 Readers' Comments have been indicated...

On New Year’s Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. Religious tensions immediately rose in the country, and angry Copts stormed streets, battled with police, and even vandalized a nearby mosque. The riots and heightened tensions between the Muslim and Coptic communities was likely what the terrorists wanted — to divide the Egyptian community and create sectarian strife between different religious groups.

Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. As Egyptian Copts attended mass at churches across the country, “thousands” of Muslims, including “the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak,” joined them, acting as “human shields” to protect from terrorist attacks by extremists. The Muslims organized under the slogan “We either live together, or we die together,” inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist:

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

“We either live together, or we die together,” was the sloganeering genius of Mohamed El-Sawy, a Muslim arts tycoon whose cultural centre distributed flyers at churches in Cairo Thursday night, and who has been credited with first floating the “human shield” idea. Among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the attack one on Egypt as a whole. “This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Copts because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”

Al Jazeera English covered the attacks and reported from the site of one of the solidarity events where Muslims and Christians stood side by side, protesting discrimination against Copts and calling for an end to violence.

It is a frequent complaint among opinion makers in the United States that the global Muslim community does not condemn and prevent terrorism. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has even said that Islam needs a civil war similar to the one the United States fought in order to deal with its extremists. But the truth is that moderate and progressive Muslims all over the world are battling extremism. Here in the United States, one-third of al-Qaeda related terror plots have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by Muslim Americans. It is up to the press to report these positive stories and not exaggerate the sway that extremists hold over the global Muslim community. (end posting by Truth Pursuit)

Final note by blogger:

There are of course many other events with a similar spirit between peoples...to name just a few -- many efforts to help the destitute, injured and bereaved in Gaza, Christians vigiling with Palestinian Christians, Muslims and others in Jerusalem at both masses and at Muslim sites; Rabbis for Human Rights and many other groups of dialogue for peace and solidarity with attacked Palestinians, the Parents Circle with dialogue between bereaved parents in Israel and Palestine; Vigils at various sites worldwide for peace; Christian Peacemaker Teams standing beside Iraqis and seeking understanding in in Iran as well as many peacemakers visiting in one another's nations and online sites seeking to break down walls of fear.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

NOTE: for those interested in Human Rights and Inter-faith Updates

Please visit No More Crusades dot blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Bit of Winter Peace

May we each remember one another often whether near or far as One Family.

A Song of Peace

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hope, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hope and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Tune is from: "Finlandia" by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Words by Lloyd Stone (1912- ) There are many versions of this - yet today - the beginning of 2011 with the chaos and confusion all about, I liked this combination of words with the following music best for it's simplicity and peace - go here CLICK on SONG OF PEACE - the beautiful singing should download immediately.

Then I found two other pieces of music for peace in the envisioning of Divine Love, Creation and Reflection alone here and

The image is from a postcard found here

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Christmas Eve Remembered (Family and Friend Missing Aafia)

A Christmas Eve Remembered --

From Free Aafia dot org - Official Family (of Aafia) site

See another post (from Family site) on Dr. Aafia just below --

December 24, 2010

The following message is a Christmas memory shared by our dear friend Andy...

2004 was not a good year. We had all come to terms with the fact that Aafia and her children were not coming back. In our own ways we mourned for them. We had begun to move on.

Christmas Eve. It was snowing in Houston. Not heavily, hardly more than flurries, but it had been snowing like that since lunch time. By dinner time it was actually sticking to the ground.

In Houston we don't see snow very often, so when it does snow we remember it. There is no previous record of it ever snowing here on Christmas Eve.

After some last minute shopping, I headed to the house of Aafia's brother to deliver some Christmas gifts for his children. After dinner we were all sitting in the living room with the lights dimmed and a fire in the fireplace, just talking and watching the snow fall. I had my guitar with me. One of the kids asked me if I knew any Christmas songs.

For the next hour and a half I played and they sang. Muhammad's wife and children knew more of the words than I did, so I just played until they stopped singing.

Having a Christmas to remember is wonderful.

Merry Christmas.
By Andrew Purcell

Monday, January 3, 2011

More Calls for Dr. Aafia's Release - Seasonal Events

SEE Christmas Rally Christmas Support for Dr Aafia and Aamir Liaqat Column - Urdu link below
On 24th December - Christmas Eve - Christian Pakistanis joined others to plead for Aafia's release (Publ. Christmas Eve Dec. 25) Find Video here and news item here

Then the Sunday after the New Year, another event takes place

Pasban lights Asia’s largest torch for Aafia
Sunday - Daily Times 2 January 2011
By Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Pasban Karachi Chapter on Sunday lit Asia’s largest torch at Mazar-e-Quaid demanding release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

Aafia’s children Mariam and Ahmed had lit the torch. Thousands of people present on the occasion raised placards and chanted slogans in favour of Dr Aafia.

While talking to Daily Times Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr Aafia said this torch signifies light of hope and freedom.

She said that 2010 was a very good year for her struggle because the world saw Dr Aafia as a heroin, who was earlier called an alleged criminal. She said that it was a large achievement that a simple campaign to free Aafia has been changed into a movement of honour and dignity of Pakistan.

Responding to a question she said that she is hopeful that 2011 would be the year of repatriation of Dr Aafia. Her children have provided me with inspiration and hope that if they can come then Aafia can come also.

Pasban Pakistan President Altaf Shakoor announced a movement for the repatriation of Dr Aafia. He said that Pasban will motivate public and take them to the roads from Karachi to Peshawar via Islamabad during this movement. He said that Pasban will observe 2011 as the year of Dr Aafia.

Shakoor regretted and said that Pakistani ambassador at US and Foreign Office played a nefarious role during the hearing of Dr Aafia’s case. He held them responsible for the sentence of Dr Aafia. The government mentally tortured the family of Dr Aafia. They asked them to decorate home and remain ready to welcome Aafia, he disclosed.

Find the following NEWLY posted articles at Free Aafia dot Org or GO here

# 2 0 1 1
# Aafia Siddiqui – Memories of MIT to Carswell Prison
# MIT colleague speaks of Aafia
# Western Double Standards
# After Aafia, No Pakistani is Safe
# Pak Christians in Solidarity with Dr Aafia on Christmas
# ISI and Aafia in Same Boat
# Christmas Support for Dr Aafia and Aamir Liaqat Column
# A Christmas Eve Remembered

Christmas Support for Dr Aafia and Aamir Liaqat Column
December 22-25, 2010

Jasarat, NATION, EXPRESS here

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Update & References re. Aasia Bibi

Aasia Bibi with child after court hearing

Saturday, January 01, 2011 The original posting on The Daily Times dot com dot pk holds truth and wisdom for us ALL...

COMMENT: The true blasphemers By Dr. Mahjabeen Islam

One wonders what Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) would have thought of the clamour in the Muslim world to force respect for him, especially when it involves killing and brazen persecution of minorities. Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was sent “as a mercy to all mankind” (Quran, 21:07), and we are enjoined to study his life and model our character after him for he is described as such: “You, O Mohammad, are of most sublime and exalted character” (Quran, 68:4).

Would Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) have looked kindly at the blasphemy laws enacted during the tenure of Pakistani dictator Ziaul Haq? The infamous blasphemy laws have been used to advance political agendas, continually endanger minorities, and even make Muslims more Muslim.

Lower court judges, frequently fearful for their own safety, have pronounced death sentences on alleged blasphemers but higher courts have revoked them. Hopefully, this will be the case for Aasia Bibi, a 45-year old Christian mother of five, whose situation now represents the madness that has become Pakistan. While working in her village, she allegedly offered water to her Muslim co-workers who refused to accept it on the basis of her being ‘unclean’. Reports vary but the one used to pronounce her death sentence claims sworn statements by the other women that Aasia Bibi was disrespectful to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). She was arrested the next day and is in jail awaiting a decision by the Lahore High Court.

The flames of fanaticism have put out a reward of $ 5,000 for anyone who is able to kill her while she is in jail! A few years ago, two Christian men charged with blasphemy were acquitted by a higher court but killed as they left the court. The disconnect between the spirit of Islam and this insanity leaves non-rabid Muslims incredulous and pained. “Let there be no compulsion in religion,” says the Quran (2:256). So why do Muslims feel they can force conversion or pressurise the observance of respect when none is felt?

Islam literally means submission to the will of God and the Quran states clearly that He directs those to the light that He wills (26:35). Not only have Pakistanis become the judge and the jury, they have taken on the mantle of being God and the Prophet (PBUH)!

Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) life was characterised by gentleness and forgiveness. He repeatedly suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of individuals and groups, but his response was not militancy but clemency. Muslims know the Taif incident in which Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was jeered at and injured with rocks and the angel Gabriel came to him and said that if Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) wanted, the people of Taif could be destroyed. But Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) prayed for his own relationship with the Almighty rather than making death wishes for the people of Taif.

Another current day ludicrous event is the arrest of Dr Naushad Valiyani, again on charges of blasphemy, this time for throwing the business card of a pharmaceutical representative named Muhammad Faizan in the trashcan. Dr Valiyani is an Ismaili, another minority Shia community in Pakistan. If this perverse logic is to be extrapolated, no one with the name of Muhammad, which happens to be the most common in the world, should be punished, reprimanded or questioned for it would activate the blasphemy laws.

During the rule of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Ahmedis, a small community in Pakistan, were classified as being non-Muslim, with mention of this status on their passports. As though this travesty were not enough, Ahmedis are killed on a regular basis at the instigation of well-known, so-called ‘scholars’ of Islam.

Pakistan is 96 percent Muslim, unlike secular Turkey, which is 99 percent so. Pakistan’s constitution protects minorities and the white strip at the edge of its flag represents minorities while the larger green area represents Muslims.

In Pakistan’s educational system, the best and the brightest become doctors and lawyers. The orphaned and the disinterested become imams, mullahs and sheikhs. And they get captive audiences during the Friday sermon and prayer. There is a personal, national and international agenda at work with these blinkered mullahs and giving out of context hate-filled sermons is now national fare.

It is not Aasia Bibi who deserves to die or Dr Valiyani who merits persecution; not only should there be a repeal of the blasphemy laws, Pakistan needs an ultra-rapid detoxification from its rabid mullahs that have hijacked Islam and misrepresented the Prophet (PBUH). They are the true blasphemers.

End of article

The writer is an addictionist, family physician and freelance columnist. She can be reached at mahjabeen.islam@gmail.com Dr. Mahjabeen Islam-Husain is a Sunni Muslim Pakistan-born family practice physician living in the Midwest. She and her husband, a Shi’i Muslim who also is a physician, have three daughters, and both are active in their local Islamic communities and in national Muslim-American affairs. Dr. Islam-Husain experienced the loss of her two brothers due to a car accident when she was only 12. Shortly thereafter her father died suddenly as well. Thus, she speaks to suffering and faith. Besides her work as a physician, she is quite a writer as well. Find another article here and here

Find my older and updated post with quite a conversation in COMMENTS section:
here under Bibi's Cross for December.

By the way, our very principles at The Journey of Hope, besides the focus of forgiveness include the desire to show others all the prejudices involved in the death penalty. These biases include racism and economic prejudice. MANY have died or been held in prison for years partly because of the color of their skin or the lack of money in their bank accounts. MANY among those of color and those from a background of poverty have finally been exonerated in the USA and shown to have been held without cause. Sometimes this is true as well in other nations where religion may also be an added factor.

For another reference on this case from Pakistanis seeking understanding and human rights - particularly in Aasia's case - GO here and watch for others to be added.