Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Darkness of the Mind

Ignorance is a lot like darkness. It deprives us of our vision and everything we do under its influence will be an approximation of what we set out to do. We may walk and stumble and break, but it’s only after the light fills the space once more that we actually see what we’ve done, but more importantly what damage we’ve caused.

This darkness is sweeping. It is difficult to illuminate, for this darkness exists in the minds of certain people, the entrances of which have been blocked. It is difficult to access this darkness and give it light, and for that reason, what they do will cause damage.

This ignorance is the reason why sectarian clashes are at their height and why religion will continue to be a tool to manipulate people. The case of ignorance here is simple, ignorance of the other. This darkness hovers over many Muslims. They are unaware of who their Christian counterparts are, or what churches or monasteries are like, or what prayers are like. This applies not only to extremists but to moderate Muslims. The moderates, even when they do not believe in violence, will not understand that churches do not store weapons, that monasteries do not torture people. They do not have the necessary information to make these logical deductions, like monasteries do not have the man power or the time to torture anyone, or that we’ve never heard of a church fire on anyone despite the tumultuous times we’re living in.

The facts are simple and yet so unknown. The minds of the weak can be filled with any sort of object as long as there is darkness. We can fill a room with oak, mahogany, gold and gems as long as the room remains dark. We can fill the room with beasts, with swords, with weapons as long as the room remains dark. The answer is simple, light the room, but the ignorance is not as easily conquered by knowledge as darkness is by light. It may be that certain inhabitants choose to wear blindfolds, so that even when the room is lit, the blind remain blind.

We need to light the rooms and pull down the blindfolds, because there is no hope without our attempts to do so. The only weapon we may count on is the truth. We cannot play the political game of hiding the truth in order to protect, because there’s no one to protect from the truth. We are not in a position today to fight darkness with darkness. We cannot fight ignorance with ignorance.

It’s not enough for you to open your eyes today, you need to open other eyes, because in the words of Roger Waters, ‘each small candle lights a corner of the dark’.

There is too much darkness for us not to at least try and make a difference. Many have missed out on the chance to be part of a revolution which has brought us pride. It’s not too late to contribute, there are many battles to fight. Maybe spend an hour with those in Maspero, maybe talk to extremists and convince them of the truth, maybe talk to other moderates and ask them to know.

There must be something within us all to fight this darkness that has taken hold of many generations. There must be hope that those of us who care will speak out and make a difference. There must be a way to fight against the worst forms of darkness, the darkness of the mind.


Mohamed Elkammar said...

This article very much reminds me of a Quranic verse that I like to share with you. The verse does not explicitly describe ignorants acting on their narrow mind but I think it is well applied. The verse says:

صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَرْجِعُونَ [٢:١٨]
أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ فِيهِ ظُلُمَاتٌ وَرَعْدٌ وَبَرْقٌ يَجْعَلُونَ أَصَابِعَهُمْ فِي آذَانِهِم مِّنَ الصَّوَاعِقِ حَذَرَ الْمَوْتِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ مُحِيطٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ [٢:١٩]
يَكَادُ الْبَرْقُ يَخْطَفُ أَبْصَارَهُمْ ۖ كُلَّمَا أَضَاءَ لَهُم مَّشَوْا فِيهِ وَإِذَا أَظْلَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ قَامُوا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَذَهَبَ بِسَمْعِهِمْ وَأَبْصَارِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ [٢:٢٠]

Deaf, dumb, and blind, they will not return (to the path).
Or (another similitude) is that of a rain-laden cloud from the sky: In it are zones of darkness, and thunder and lightning: They press their fingers in their ears to keep out the stunning thunder-clap, the while they are in terror of death. But Allah is ever round the rejecters of Faith!
The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (Helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah hath power over all things.

Wael Eskandar said...

Actually, this is a great description of the darkness within, and it can be applied of course.

This is a beautiful description really.

Berkman Center for Internet & Society said...

Dear Blogger,

We recently invited you to participate in an online survey run by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and Global Voices Online about online safety for bloggers in the Middle East and North Africa. To the best of our knowledge, we have not received your response to the survey. You can participate in the survey by following this link:


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