Sunday 26 September 2010

Signs of Piety..

I miss writing on this blog...I really do. I am wasting too much time on Twitter and it is sapping my energy. I also realized that I have this incredible knack to make enemies across the board...that is the price to pay for speaking up, speaking one's mind and sticking to Truth, even though am fully aware no one has monopoly over the Truth.

Well tonight is no exception - I am going to make more enemies...I know it.

Tonight I want to write about external signs of piety. By external signs I mean external signs.
External signs that need to show affiliation to a certain religious group. Turbans, beards, veils, niqabs, kippa, synthetic wigs, scarves, shawls, hassidic hats, side curls, robes, cloaks, weird looking hats, long chains with gold know, the whole works.

Now I have absolutely nothing against religion. Nothing at all. But somehow these external signs of "piousness" make me question...

I've been brought up in a religious atmosphere, in school. Being taught by nuns and priests was the most traumatic thing anyone can inflict on a child. Maybe the Christian clergy has evolved from the dark ages of my childhood but I can't be that sure. Corporal punishment was the norm so were the daily humiliations. In retrospect, I see that what I experienced and witnessed was nothing but pure Sadism. A bunch of very frustrated, sexually repressed people taking it out on their subordinates - the children. The fact that I came from a Muslim family did not help matters too much. I was also put down for that. Going to school every morning was like torture - physical torture. At 12/13 I threatened to put an end to my life if I was not removed from this Abu Ghraib of my childhood. And I meant it.

I came to associate all the nuns and priests black robes and aprons with Torture. We had a small chapel in the school, I used to escape there and pray to God. I can still remember that chapel. Small, dark, and cold. I felt claustrophobic, but not as claustrophobic as in the rest of the building. So I'd kneel and implore God - who was represented by Jesus nailed to a cross - to save me from there. One day I remember getting cross with that statue. I said - How can you save me when you are nailed the way you are ?! - that day I gave up hope.

Thankfully I was transferred to another school...and years later, I made it a point to visit the grounds of that school. An assistant greeted me with - how can I help you ? I said I have one question - are the nuns still frustrated sadistic bitches or have they evolved since ? She was shocked and started stammering something or the other and started telling to me of the love of Christ. I spat on the grounds and told her - I am gracing and blessing your school - turned my back and walked away...

I did not stop holding love and esteem for Jesus, quite the contrary -- but I understood that a man nailed to a cross cannot save my memory --all I wanted was to save him. And I also decided that NO clergy was spokesperson, representative or had monopoly over the Truth.

Years passed, Time attenuated my first traumatic encounter with God's representatives on Earth...or so I had hoped.

All this quickly evaporated when I witnessed the several Jewish violent and barbaric wars, incursions and the rest...a rest that has not stopped. Men with kippas, side curls, star of David, shawls and weird hats frothing at the mouth with joy, exalted over the killings of innocents -- while their jets were flying over our heads - dropping bomb after bomb in the name of their God, put a quick end to my hope. I started detesting their external attire of piety and associated and still associate it with brutality, vindictiveness coming from a mean, nasty, vengeful God - their representation of God.

But I did not lose hope...I kept a secret wish somewhere...deep down, that maybe I will come across a person who dresses, speaks and acts with congruence. I suppose I was secretly hoping to meet a "representative of God" with some moral and spiritual integrity.

I started frequenting the Masjids - Mosques -- hoping to find a human "authority" to emulate.
During that period, the Muslim clergy had no such power, as there is no Clergy in Islam as such --definitely not like today. But following the advent of Khomeinism, I started noticing more and more people believing that Clerics can save them and Clerics or "men of God" became the living incorporation of the Divine on earth. This trend got exacerbated with the occupation of Iraq and the unleashing by the Americans of dark obscure forces in black Turbans and Chadors. Forces who did the unthinkable in the name of their God - from mutilation, to drills, to rape, to name it, they do it...Ironically those dark forces of the power of the Clergy collaborated with the Crusaders who invaded in the name of Jesus. My nightmare was far from over from the day of those priests and nuns dressed in black. It was now inflicted on a whole collectivity.

I also noticed that more and more men and women started embracing those external signs of piety. Apart from the turbans, you had veils, chadors, niquabs, beards etc...

I thought to myself, who am I to judge - I, the "sinner" - am in no position to judge those pious people who have finally "embraced God". So I kept an open mind...and I let a few of them into my life...wannabe preachers, pious veiled women, men with beards and rosaries...I let them into my life not politically, because politically I can never follow anyone, but on a social friendly basis - I kept the door open. None of them were political extremists either...they hardly had any interest in politics...their main interest was preaching and judging...I found them to be intolerant, judgmental, gossipy, back biting, slanderous, opportunistic, two faced, ignorant, rigid and hypocritical...and some were outright deceptive liars -- very much like the rest of the "pious" people I met from other religions.

In conclusion, all I wanted to say was -- what you wear on the outside is no guarantee of purity, cleanliness, honesty, goodness or love on the inside.

But then you knew that already...or did you ?