MELBOURNE (MindaNews / 14 Sept) — We are at war. We make our own choices. The small things we do can get amplified. If you are powerful, what seems to be a perfectly practical thing to do can have an encompassing effect and will impact on the people’s mental, social, and cultural well-being as well.
A simple display of cultural sensitivity, especially from the powerful towards the already downtrodden, will equally be magnified and will be seen as a show of compassion, magnanimity, and sincerity to the condition of people at their most vulnerable moment.
It is not a question of whether it was right or wrong. In the hands of the authority, some things become non-issue and are deemed the only options to do with no other alternatives. It is more of the question of given the enormous power you have, will you find a space in your heart to be merciful and consider the traumatized feelings of people who have lost everything? Shakespeare expressed this best:
The quality of mercy is not strained/
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown/
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
Salahudin Ayubi, the Muslim general who retook Jerusalem heard that King Richard I got sick during the siege at Acre in 1192. Michael Hamilton (2007) in Lost History wrote:
“When Richard falls sick… Saladin not only sends his personal physician Maimonides over to treat him, he sends ice to help him fight the fevers and certain healing fruits. When Richard’s horse is killed during battle, and the English king finds himself on foot facing the entire Muslim army, the Muslims let him walk by their entire phalanx without attacking. Later, Saladin sends him two fresh mounts so he will not be at a disadvantage.” (p. 272)
Michael Hamilton’s Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists is a must read for all. Knowing the great contribution of Muslims in so many fields is liberating.
What recently transpired in Marawi City at the Islamic Centre, is a lost opportunity. It could have been remembered decades from now differently, just like how victorious Salahudin Ayubi is remembered for his magnanimity towards King Richard. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Elin Anisha “El Anisha” Guro of Marawi City is Director of Mindanao State University Press and Information Office, on study leave to finish her PhD at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne in Australia. She finished her MA Media Studies at the New School, New York City as a Fulbright Scholar)