Nationalism vs. Brotherhood

Posted: 24 Juni 2010 in Islamic Lecture
Tag:

Nationalism vs. Brotherhood!!! Which way are we headed???

Dear Reader: Before you read this article, I would like to ask
you a simple favor: Take a deep breath, close your eyes for a
moment, and think how fortunate you are. You can read!!! A
very simple thing that we living here in this country and other
industrialized nations of the world are taking for granted.

In fact, this is not the only aspect of fortune that most of us
enjoy, there are many more. We have plenty to eat and we do
not go to bed hungry at night, we have a roof over our heads,
and we have a fairly high standard of living compared to other
nations. Not to trivialize, but some of our daily decisions are
to pick what we eat, how we dress, and in sometimes the color of
car we drive. In the meantime, there are those “others” in a
far less fortunate situations who are dying of thirst and
hunger. I hate to tell you that they exist, and there are quite
a few of them, some even in this country. They do not have the
choice of what food to eat or going to bed at night with even
their basic needs provided for. The people in need have the
same desires as we do; to be able to provide for themselves and
their family.

There are two questions we need to ask ourselves. The first one
is: what responsibility do we bare in these cases not only in
this country but in other countries? The second is: If we do
have a responsibility, what role can we play to fulfill this
responsibility?

To address the first question, we must ask ourselves, what is
our relationship with each other. In principle, it is supposed
to be one of brotherhood. Thinking globally, we all belong to
the same race of human beings. We all descended from the same
origin and we have so much in common. We all share the same
earth in the short time between our birth and death. Yet, we
are all unique, not one of us is the same. This individualism
and diversity are what gives the human race its great strength.
In the mean time, this individualism and this diversity can also
be to the detriment not only to the people of one community
country but to the world at large. Individuals as well as
nations have to look past the differences in culture,
background, and heritage, to look past their backyards and
territories, to get to know their neighbors near and far.

Unfortunately, as individuals and as nations, our local
attitudes and our near-sided heritage decide how far we stretch
our hands. Our tribal and nationalistic ideology acts as a
barrier between us and those in need. Rather than thinking of
our neighbors as brothers in humanity, we think of them as
limitation and restriction to our freedom. Instead of sharing
with the needy we claim that we can’t afford to contribute of
ourselves. A rich nation borders a poorer one, and a new born
on one side of the border has so many resources while his
counter on the other side is entitled to almost nothing.

Worst of all is that we are serious about this attitude. We
believe as individuals that we are entitled to all what we have.
Very little we can give away. As nations, it is even worst.
Each nation is so protective of its resources and the strong
overtakes the weak. Moreover, instead of uniting forces and
integrating resources, many countries are being divided into
hatred and wars and more suffering and starvation goes on.
Worst of all is that we defend such divisive and individualistic
attitude by giving it a name; we call it nationalism and we call
it patriotism.

We must all take the time to think about the life we live.
Although we can argue the point that we are where we are by
chance, it can be stated that most of those who are less
fortunate than we have no control of the situation they are in.
A child would not choose to live in a country in which there is
no food to eat. We must realize that although we have
constructed all of these man-made artificial barriers such as
race, heritage, national borders, etc. we are one. We all
inhabit the same world, humanity is one nation, if you will call
it that, on this earth. In order to make this world a better
place we must look at our fellow man as a brother, no matter
what their background or nationality. We are all responsible
for not only those less fortunate, but the welfare of all other
and the world we live in.

The second question, is more important, how will we exercise our
responsibility. Many times talk of needy and those less
fortunate elicits monetary contribution to provide for those in
need. In this regard, one may ask, are we doing enough. Have
we gone as far as the meaning of brotherhood implies? Or are we
thinking of those in need as true brothers? I am sure that we
all can do more. I am certain that if we take the meaning of
brotherhood seriously, there will never be a human in need on
this earth.

Although monetary contributions are worthwhile and do help in
providing services, food and shelter, this is not the only way
we can help. A man may be rich financially, but very poor,
whereas a man may be very rich but have no money. There are
many needs in this and other countries, not only financial, but
social and spiritual needs as well. The best place to start is
in your own backyard. Look around and see what the needs are of
those around you. You can provide help in a variety of ways,
from helping an adult read, spending time with children and
sharing your experiences with those who have no one to talk to,
spending time with the elderly in nursing homes, helping to
build needed housing, etc. Monetary contributions to various
causes can be very worthwhile, but you cannot put a price on
many simple experiences such as: the smile of a child who has
gone camping or seen a baseball game or a zoo for the first
time, the self esteem an adult has gained by learning to read
for the first time, the pride a family has in living in their
first house or apartment, or even the joy elders have in someone
sharing time with them. All of these are intangibles for which
all of the money in the world cannot buy.

We must remember that there are needy all over the world, in our
country and other countries. The future of our world, will be
in how we provide for the needs of all peoples. We are people
made up of many nations, races and background, but above all we
are a brotherhood of human beings on this earth.

Komentar
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