Every now and again I see an article in Critical Muslim that captures my imagination. In the recently-published Syria issue it is the article “Inside and Outside“ by Ella Wind that moves me so. She explains the way Western intelligence and media has misread some very important aspects of the current situation in Syria because the internal dynamics are far more complex and are susceptible to rapid change. Far more than outsiders could ever imagine. She describes clearly and effectively how this was demonstrated in Syria as illustrated by the response of people of every shape and sort to the Arab Spring
Im sure she is right about the Syrian uprising but I would suggest the same potential for the unexpected has always and will always be with us; witness the fall of the regimes in Albania and Romania and the disgrace of Richard Nixon.
It is easy to predict the behaviour of herd animals or a totally subject people. It is more difficult but not impossible to predict the behaviour of those who are individual in their behaviour but who nevertheless freely and voluntarily conform to a broad cultural pattern. It is impossible to predict the behaviour of human beings who are at one and the same time individuals and also part of a number of diverse cultural communities.
I do believe that for many the moment of crisis is a lonely one; the consideration of options in the very early hours of the morning without the internet and to the sound of your children breathing in the next room. I further believe that many people at that moment will be strengthened by inner beliefs which they can call upon. I call that prayer.
So the Muslim Institute is right to give the systematic academics their turn on Syria and the other matters of the day, but it is truly inspired in its willingness to also let the poets speak and the novelists tell their tale.
I feel better for reading the article by Ella Wind.
Ken Mafham is a Muslim Insitute Fellow and a Town Planning Consultant with 40 years experience. His work has taken him to Mauritius, Bauch State Nigeria , Merseyside and the East Midlands. He has also taught lessons to 30-40 individuals a week for the last fifteen years, from Year 1 to A level. This leaves little time for hobbies but he does like to play the violin and sing. Not both at the same time though.