Virtue with the Wilderness
by Roa Hassan
The streets are paved with coffee-coloured men, walking
or driving amongst the rubble and dirt with the scorching
sun glaring down, ebbing away at their willpower. Each one
with the same quintessential intention but disparate means
Down a mug of red and piece of rusk; standard way to start
never-ending day and begin the futile attempts at earning an
inadequate wage to perpetuate a subpar way of life. You
witness the struggles faced by each one; but you find it difficult
to conjure up an emotion because empathy is feeling that cannot
be felt by one who is enduring the same exact struggle.
A city glittered with minarets every few yards and enunciated
With melodic lyrics sung from the holiest book of all. You would
think this is no place for political hypocrisy, religious immorality
and social debauchery to thrive. Alas, it does. The strong sense of
piety amongst the citizens of the nation is the only thing that begins
to even shroud the inquity experienced by every coffee-coloured man.
The young, the old, the poor, the rich. All brought together by one word;
Islam. A beautiful word with literal connotations to peace, tranquility
and serenity; yet so painfully in contrast to the religion being practiced
here. A religion misconstrued my selfish and depraved men to create a
new version that is underpinned by male chauvinism, extreme Salafist
ideologies and financial gluttony. A version designed to accommodate
some and annihilate some. So you can begin to see the dissociation of the
word from its intended meaning.
But it’s not all drab. You can extract virtue from every desolate situation.
For there is kindness in every seedy corner, God in every apostate,
innocence in every prison and some truth in every lie. It is easier to
concentrate on the bad when it begins to obscure the good but losing
sight of the bigger picture will become our biggest downfall.
For we can find virtue even in the sorriest wilderness.