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Out of Many, One: E pluribus unum

It is telling and indeed intriguing that three religions, coming from the same root have such deep-seated animosities. Even though all the three religions acknowledge half a dozen protagonists as their founding fathers, still Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have developed such deep rooted enmity. In fact, every strain of these religions in turn has led to more animosity that even after 15 centuries, it remains fresh and potent! Protestants vs Catholics or Shia vs Sunnis. I can understand if for some time, there may be misgivings… but there seems to be no end to this enmity!

All the morals of Moses, or Love of Jesus or revelations of Mohammad are of no use if all these can inspire is nothing more than hatred and cruelty. A Sunni feels no compunction in hanging an Ahmediya simply because the latter added another protagonist to the long list of Prophets. A Jew feels little love for a Palestinian and vice versa.

Nowhere and in nothing else has a “Past” had such a profound and debilitating effect on such a vast mass of humanity and for so long as the “Past” of Jerusalem. Sometimes, I wonder if there indeed could be anything “holy” about a place whose most practically felt contribution to the contemporary world has been hatred and wars! Holiness should inspire men and women to rise FAR above their stature and mind. Between the Demon and God, lies the Human. Holiness should take this humanity towards the realm of Godliness, but instead if that journey takes the humanity to demonic coordinates, then how profound can it be?

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Yesterday, Barack Obama gave a speech in Cairo. It was a speech that many in history SHOULD have given. He said what many SHOULD have said over the centuries since Mohammad but sadly and unfortunately DIDN’T! These were words that were resting on the Lips of Eternity to be uttered…. but there wasn’t enough of a humanity available which could get over the bondage of that “Past” to even say these things as unequivocally as Obama said it now.

Make no mistake. This speech was not just a political speech. It was an obligation of an entire humanity….. that aspired to take the path to Holi-ness and Godliness to speak out in order to challenge a humanity that had reveled in the safe confines of the narrow but morbid path to demonic ends. When we hate, we are demons. When we love, we are Gods. Between this Love and Hate, we remain Humans. If one Human can acknowledge another Human and the obvious frailties of being so, then there is no meaning of Hate and Love. Man, at that moment transcends God and Demon both, out into a realm all his own.

Until now, either people of wisdom and power past didn’t have the sagacity and will or the courage enough to take this step.. a leap really. A leap of faith that Humanity can be one. E pluribus unum, (“Out of Many, One”).

He is being criticized as many people making such efforts are. Some say he didn’t go far enough, while others believe he went too far. Some say he is all rhetoric, others accuse him of giving away too much. Dwarfs have seldom in our history understood what a Giant can see at the horizon. It is no different here.

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As much as he took a difficult and unprecedented step, and exhorted others to do their bit, there are people on all sides who are “waiting’. Waiting for his “next step”. Little realizing that the “next step” in this entire game of giant reconciliation has to be taken in THEIR hearts and minds.

Indeed it is damning for the entire humanity when it keeps waiting for Prophetic figures to extricate it out of all the sins that it commits willingly and nonchalantly. Even something as simple as a inward look in the hearts, beyond the facade, is not possible. Even that needs a Papal or Prophetic nod. Slavery is not always a physical phenomenon. It is mental as well.

Today, if we all can find it in our hearts to take the “next step”, then maybe humanity can turn the corner and move the pendulum of our existential movement to a Holy and Godly direction. Then who needs Jerusalem?

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Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh – the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and “drishtikone”.

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4 thoughts on “Out of Many, One: E pluribus unum”

  1. It is easy to preach when you are the US of A. Obama makes provocative statements, but stays clear of owning up responsibility on behalf of his country, except in the matter of Iraq where he can conveniently blame his predecessor

    I join issue with the following –
    1. US will continue to fight terrorism globally – especially those that target innocent Americans, will continue to operate in Afghanistan and will reduce interference in Iraq. Can we hear something about how creating Taliban was a mistake and how it is to be avoided in future? Can we hear a little more about alternate ways of killing people and destroying livelihoods using economic sanctions and unfair trade practices.
    2. After decades of arming Israel and creating a hopelessly lopsided power differential, Obama expects Israel and Palestine to negotiate in peace
    3. Pumping in money into Pakistan in the face of every evidence of a state deeply compliant or heavily compromised in the face of fundamentalist forces
    4. What is US’s record in reducing its nuclear arsenal in the last decade? and that of the other P-5?
    5. When talking of fundamentalist fringes, it is useful to remember that giving into the stereotypical, but widely persistent free market values have brought the vulnerable in the US and with it, the world, to the brink – causing death and destruction that is unfortunately bloodless, glamour-less and as a result, meaningless

    But on matters of religious freedom, democracy and women’s economic advancement, the script reads well and is encouraging.

  2. Sure.. if I want I can also list 101 other issues that he didn’t address in those 50 odd minutes. But is that the criticism of what he SAID? It is astonishing that the critique of his speech has centered around what he did not say.. not on what he said. To say what he said AND the way he said it was a herculean task in itself! I doubt ANY … and I really mean ANY leader in the past 200 years could have done what he did!!! There is a reason why NO ONE in the last 1400 years has gone to an Arab country and talked of the things AND the way he did!! As for the Arabs, less said the better… they can’t even come to the level of that thinking… forget about saying it. The Arab and Muslim criticism has been what “next”. How about THEY do something “next”??? How many times and how long will they play victims…. and yet turn out to be aggressors??

    A start had to be made. . and an honest one. I am convinced that Obama has done that. Anyone who criticizes him….. cannot even do 1% of what he did.. but then people just want to have their “right”….. none wants to have any “responsibility”!

  3. It is easy to preach when you are the US of A. Obama makes provocative statements, but stays clear of owning up responsibility on behalf of his country, except in the matter of Iraq where he can conveniently blame his predecessor

    I join issue with the following –
    1. US will continue to fight terrorism globally – especially those that target innocent Americans, will continue to operate in Afghanistan and will reduce interference in Iraq. Can we hear something about how creating Taliban was a mistake and how it is to be avoided in future? Can we hear a little more about alternate ways of killing people and destroying livelihoods using economic sanctions and unfair trade practices.
    2. After decades of arming Israel and creating a hopelessly lopsided power differential, Obama expects Israel and Palestine to negotiate in peace
    3. Pumping in money into Pakistan in the face of every evidence of a state deeply compliant or heavily compromised in the face of fundamentalist forces
    4. What is US’s record in reducing its nuclear arsenal in the last decade? and that of the other P-5?
    5. When talking of fundamentalist fringes, it is useful to remember that giving into the stereotypical, but widely persistent free market values have brought the vulnerable in the US and with it, the world, to the brink – causing death and destruction that is unfortunately bloodless, glamour-less and as a result, meaningless

    But on matters of religious freedom, democracy and women’s economic advancement, the script reads well and is encouraging.

  4. Sure.. if I want I can also list 101 other issues that he didn’t address in those 50 odd minutes. But is that the criticism of what he SAID? It is astonishing that the critique of his speech has centered around what he did not say.. not on what he said. To say what he said AND the way he said it was a herculean task in itself! I doubt ANY … and I really mean ANY leader in the past 200 years could have done what he did!!! There is a reason why NO ONE in the last 1400 years has gone to an Arab country and talked of the things AND the way he did!! As for the Arabs, less said the better… they can’t even come to the level of that thinking… forget about saying it. The Arab and Muslim criticism has been what “next”. How about THEY do something “next”??? How many times and how long will they play victims…. and yet turn out to be aggressors??

    A start had to be made. . and an honest one. I am convinced that Obama has done that. Anyone who criticizes him….. cannot even do 1% of what he did.. but then people just want to have their “right”….. none wants to have any “responsibility”!

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