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Chickens, Eggs (25 May 1999)

Lessons To Learn (18 June 1999)

Since the opening of this web site in mid-May 1999, I have been asked more than once what kind of animal am I? Sometimes, I tell them, the kind that comes out of an egg. Sometimes, I tell them, I am actually a computer virus, just lurking around for that inevitable ‘Gotcha!’

Okay, I am not a virus. I am whatever you would like to think of me: funny, bitter, sad, laughing, howling, singing, crying, reading, writing (but not dancing, not dancing, you’ll have to read my Prologue, Epilogue … book section to understand why.)

I laugh and am happy because there are a lot of things, great or small, to be happy about. I am bitter and sad because there are a lot of things, great or small, to be sad about.

This is my world. This is your world too.

110-Year Old Illiterate Learns To Read

Concepcion Fernandez, an illiterate 110-year old lady from Argentine was reported by Reuters recently to have started to learn how to read and write in order to prepare herself for the challenges of the new millennium, taking lessons at home under a program launched by the government. Fernandez, who continues to work on the land of the cotton-growing province of Chaco, says: "… I am sound. I only feel a minor pain in a leg where a horse once kicked me."

What inspires me about this story is the solid demonstration of the ageless spirit of learning that I have always espoused in all my dealings with students, teachers, parents and PTA groupings (both hostile and friendly). Such a government program is also laudable, and I wish our own Pinoy government can take the cue from here and do something on a similar line.

For a start, educate our adults about the folly of prejudice and the shamelessness of ethnic cleansing, while Kosovo is very much a sad & mad example of what evil things people steep in their misplaced ethnicity are capable of. Educate our adults under the banana trees of Mindanao and under the fluorescent lights of MetroManila’s plush offices. Educate them in rundown barangay centers and in congressional sessions. It is never too late.

To Concepcion Fernandez, I can only hold the highest esteem: Atta Lola! Don’t let 'em kick you anymore, Concie baby.

KOSOVO Lessons

Now that the NATO troops have entered Kosovo to bring the Muslim Kosovars back to their homes, newspapers, magazines and generally writers like me are harping at lessons learned and all that.

The killing has stopped (for now), and NATO strategists, especially the Americans, are jubilant that their course of action (unrelentless bombing of the unrelentless killers and their instruments) succeeded in stemming down the violence.

'An eye for an eye' was proven correct (hey, this is a lesson that the Qur’an teaches us). In fact, Kosovo’s lesson was more of like this: a blasted brain for an eye!

NATO, at this point, has not yet even completed the ‘eye for an eye’ part of it, not yet, while the madman Milosevic is still walking the Earth a free and proud man. Who could imagine Hitler could resurface so quickly and within the same century? And more vicious and cunning?

But keep one eye open and don’t take this lesson blindly. ‘An eye for an eye’, while espoused by the Qur’an, is situational, and is very much qualified by other numerous Qur’anic verses to the effect that if you can learn to forgive, then the rewards are greater, and God is All-Merciful and All-Forgiving.

So while that eye is still out there to be extracted, the Muslim Kosovars, the armed KLA especially, are well-advised to heed the other half of the lessons: always go for that higher rewards of God Almighty. Take that positive step to stop the deadly cycle.

Another step is this: Muslims should always keep themselves alert and prepared. Kosovo would not have been such a tempting piece of meat to Milosevic if Muslims, both inside Kosovo and outside, have been more attentive to their security, their strength, their unity. Muslim governments around the world, except for a few such as Saudi Arabia, could not even vocally endorse the NATO bombing campaign for fear of crossing the other mighties in Russia and China, their traditional big brothers.

Should the KLA disband and lay down their arms? No. On the contrary, they should make this episode reason and logic enough to ask NATO to strengthen them militarily. Do you expect NATO to stay in Kosovo forever? No. Do you expect the Serbs to leave them alone forever? No. After uncovering all the atrocities committed by the Serbs on hapless children and women and old men, do you honestly think these animals can just wash themselves clean of blood and dirt and act like human beings forever?

Milosevic is still out there. He may have miscalculated. What he thought was a piece of soft porridge to be trampled upon by his men in boots and uniforms turned out to be porridge on the plate of ‘Never Again’ gringos and knights the likes of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. But what is more chilling in all these is that it was not even Milosevic who went out to the fields and villages to kill and rape and butcher and torture. It was white, nice-looking Caucasian males who, from the outside, do not look any different from any civilized person in Europe or the Americas.

For now, the Muslims have a lot to thank the Western powers for. Like Alanis Morissette, we should all be singing, Thank you, thank you … to Bill Clinton and Tony Blair (and Jacques Chirac and others).

Bill Clinton has finally earned his gold medal, a redeeming legacy to look back at when he retires and rides into the dust of history, chomping a foul-smelling cigar probably, but nevertheless, a hero to all humanity (I can almost cry).

To the NATO countries and their present-day leaders, thank you, thank you, thank you....

 

Said Sadain, Jr.
18 June 1999

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