Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

by M. Fatih ÖZTARSU

I think that most people really do not understand childhood fairy tales until they are adults. But by then these stories often are not revisited. Joseph Campbell, vis-à-vis Carl Jung, said that myths, including childhood fairy tales, are best read as metaphors. These metaphors help map out our life quests.

In Snow White, the evil stepmother gushes: “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” Most people think that she is vain, and therefore being vain is “bad.” But there is more to it than that, and if this is all we can impart to our children then we are robbing them of meaning. Actually, I do not think this is about our children at all, but rather about ourselves as adults. When we read these stories again to our children, its very telling about ourselves if we finally “understand” these stories or not, now that we have grown up.

If you are searching for wisdom in life, a child’s library of fairy tales is a convenient place to begin. The imagery in fairy tales provides us with archetypes that we can use to organize the lessons that life teaches us.

The notion of the evil stepmother in Snow White talking to her mirror struck me when I was looking at myself in the mirror. We know that some mirrors do a better job for us then others. Mirrors that make us look horrendous put us off. Is it the lighting? Is this mirror warped or what? Do I actually look like that? What’s going on with my hair? How come my pores are so big? But what I really mean is: “Am I the fairest one of all?”

I wish I had a mirror that did the job like the one Snow White’s stepmother had. It was honest and reliable. But mirrors like that do not exist, at least not for our bathrooms. But we do carry such a mirror, and it is of great help if we know how to use it. To use it properly, we have to ask ourselves the proper questions. The evil stepmother asked the wrong question. She was not evil; she was unenlightened and lost in her own illusions.

Most of us ask the wrong questions but do not think of ourselves as evil. We ask if we are the fairest, the smartest, the happiest, the most contented. The stepmother was told that she was not the fairest in relation to Snow White. She was plenty gorgeous already though, the number two beauty in the land.

When we ask the wrong questions, we become as delusional as Snow White’s stepmother. Unfortunately, many of us do not stop looking for a mirror that will tell us that we are the fairest.

Mirrors only show us who we are, not who we would rather be. We think that a new car would be a good mirror, but it is not. We think that a new, attractive mate would be a good mirror, but it is not. Neither is a high paying job or a lovely home. Such things have nothing to do with finding a mirror that works because this inner reflection, this mirror that we carry, never fails to work. Unfortunately, we simply fail to look, all the while asking the wrong questions to the wrong objects.

To be fair, it is difficult to look straight into our honest reflections. Not only must we contend with our previous illusions of trying to be the fairest, we must now contend with very real failings of character and personality. Guess what? I realized this weekend that I am not such a nice guy. Something like that can be down right depressing, but not if we realize that it is all part and parcel of seeing ourselves.

When we can SEE ourselves, we begin to see others; that is, we see ourselves in others and others in ourselves. We also begin to question ourselves, not to doubt ourselves but to pose questions that require answers from us. That is, we make ourselves accountable. When we are accountable to ourselves, we are essentially free. We no longer look outside for the pre-digested answers so much as inward for both the questions and the answers.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Kilakarai aka Kilakkarai, is a lovely coastal town situated in Tamilnadu, India. This gentle town reminiscent of Spanish Moorish architecture is close to the Temple town of Rameswaram.

Most of its present Muslim population hails from the Pandyan King Raja Varma Kulasekhara's lineage. The broad-minded people of Kilakarai were instrumental in sending Swami Vivekananda on his quest to the West. Kilakkarai residents include Sunni Muslims, Hindus of Devar, Nadar, etc and other communities such as Christians and Harijans living in harmony. Kilakarai is distinct in that the mother tongue of the Muslims here is Tamil. This distinguishes them from the pre-dominant Urdu speakers of the sub-continent.

Pearl fisheries dominated the early revenues of this town. It was closely followed by Chank/Conch trade.1 Maritime trade took the inhabitants to all corners of the world.
The religious tone of this Islamic town is set in the Qadiriyya Order. Orthodox, matriarchal and educated, the typical Kilakkarai family observes the strict Islamic ruling on non mixing of the genders, and prohibition on drinking. Arranged marriages is still the norm for the well heeled youngsters.sadam hussan is very famous man in kilakarai.he is well known person.he lived in big amballam street.with the help of him.Most children played cricket.

Kilakarai Today
Today, many Kilakkarai residents have made Chennai, India their home. Industrious and honest, Kilakkarai natives have contributed to the distinct landscape of Madras city, now known as Chennai. Dynamic Kilakkarai educational institutions were the forerunners of the innumerous colleges and universities found today. The Crescent group of institutions are managed by the Seethakathi (Siddakadi) Group in Southern India.

A Kilakarai Lighthouse-View

As recently as spring '06, Kilakkarai-ians launched the theme shopping mall called Citicenter in the heart of the city, close to the Marina beach. Imagine Singara Chennai without the 'Gemini Bridge', the Light House, Valluvar Kottam, the Crescent Institutions, etc, to name a few landmarks. Khader Nawaz Khan Rd and its environs, the 'golden-mile of Chennai' is home to the Kilakkarai community. Movenpick anyone?

The Kilakaraians living in Dubai are financially well-off. The majority are currently enjoying success with the conglomerate, Emirates Trading Agency(ETA). This company was formed in 1965, as a partnership between the affluent Al-Ghurair family and a small group of Kilakaraians. Today the ETA group, boasts a handful of successful Kilakaraians. One of such kilakaraians isB.S. Abdur-Rahman, who paved way for the sucess of the community.

The 'Mohamed Sathak Trust' (MST) is also another very important part of Kilakarai's business history. One of the most recent developments of the MST group of companies is the discovery of numerous underground steel mines in an MST-owned property in Bangalore. The mine is worth more than a whopping (Ind)Rs 12,000 crores. Some sources claim that this mining site is worth much more. The MST group of companies continue to be competitive rivals to ETA. Both companies have constructed numerous educational institutions in Chennai. In Kilakarai, both MST and ETA have contributed to the overall development of the city. In fact, the oldest post-office in Kilakarai was built by the MST group of companies, and has the record for being one of the oldest standing buildings in Kilakarai today.

Despite making their homes and businesses far and wide, Kilakkarai natives return during the summer and year-end for family celebrations. This idyllic town comes to life during marriage functions. The unique rendezvous ensures that centuries of customs and lineage is understood by the next generation. The Kilakkarai diaspora families compulsorily attend at least once a year.
Note: This is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


No part of this article can be reproduced without the permission of the author .Copyright Karema Akifah Saleh

Imagine asking a respected colleague to recommend a family doctor for your children after relocating to a new city. The colleague goes on to tell you about Dr. X who claims that he is unable to help his patients 80% of the time, has committed malpractice 1/3 of the time and has Molested and abused 30% of this patients- yet continues to treat children, continues to get massive funding, which most are used on his facility and for salaries, continues to practice medicine with ease. Most parents would be outraged, and never consider having any type of dealings with Dr. X. Although Dr. X is not a real person, this scenarios plays out over and over again in the Foster Care system -and parents have little control of their children’s outcome.

We only hear stories of Foster Care abuse when a child is murdered,

Time Magazine has done a serious of stores on the Foster Care system. “the Crisis of Foster Care” was published November 5, of 2005 . The article opened with a grisly description of a little who was pictured in a hospital with a tube protruding from his broken nose. He had deep cuts above his right ear and scars around his forehead. There were burn marks on his tiny feet. This innocent child had been battered and tortured. He was tied with panty hose and belts to a banister by the women who had become his foster parent. The state of Georgia had taken him away from his mother, placed him in the Foster Mother’s care. This 6 year old little boy had so many injuries that the medical examiner gave up counting them. He weighed only 29lbs and was another victim in the Foster Care system in the United States. At the time the article was written, the number of children in the Foster Care system had doubled from a quarter of a million to over 550,000.Innocent children are caught up in a web of abuse and neglect to bureaucratic foul-ups and carelessness. The incidence of neglect, physical and sexual abuse of children in foster care is feared to be significantly higher than incidents in the general populations.The government is quick to snatch a child from parents they deem irresponsible, yet does a poor job protecting the very same innocent child

Mars the fourth planet from the Sun

This picture was created by NASA and the European Space Agency

Mars the fourth planet from the Sun, is sometimes known as the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance as seen from Earth. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. A terrestrial planet, Mars has a thin atmosphere and surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. It is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain in the solar system, and of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon. In addition to its geographical features, Mars's rotational period and seasonal cycles are likewise similar to those of the Earth.

Until the first flyby of Mars by Mariner 4 in 1965, it was speculated that there might be liquid water on the planet. This was based on observations of periodic variations in light and dark patches, particularly in the polar latitudes, which looked like seas and continents, while long, dark striations were interpreted by some observers as irrigation channels for liquid water. These straight line features were later proven not to exist and were instead explained as optical illusions. Still, of all the planets in our solar system, Mars is the most likely, other than Earth, to harbor liquid water, and perhaps life.

Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This is more than any planet except Earth. The surface is also home to the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity). Geological evidence gathered by these and preceding missions suggests that Mars previously had large-scale water coverage, while observations also indicate that small geyser-like water flows have occurred in recent years. Observations by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor show evidence that parts of the southern polar ice cap have been receding.

Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids, similar to 5261 Eureka, a Martian Trojan asteroid. Mars can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. Its apparent magnitude reaches −2.9, a brightness surpassed only by Venus, the Moon, and the Sun, though for much of the year Jupiter may appear brighter to the naked eye than Mars.

(Wikipedia). For more detailed Information on this article Click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars

This is Good!

Author Unknown (Author) Source Unknown(Source)

An old story is told of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!" To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way. As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend. "You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. "And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

"No," his friend replied, "This is good!"

"What do you mean,'This is good'? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

"If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you."

Situations may not always seem pleasant while we are in them, but the promise of God is clear. If we love Him and live our lives according to His precepts, even that which seems to be bleak and hopeless will be turned by God for His glory and our benefit.


A story with a lesson!
Please read till the end!
Author unknown.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails

and told him that every time he lost his temper,

he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks,

as he learned to control his anger,

the number of nails hammered daily

gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper

than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested

that the boy now pull out one nail

for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed

and the young boy was finally able to tell his father

that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand

and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son,

but look at the holes in the fence.

The fence will never be the same.

When you say things in anger,

they leave a scar just like this one.

You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.

It won't matter how many times you say "I'm

sorry," the wound is still there."

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hajj, a Life Changing Journey, how Hajj changed El Hajj Malik El Shabazz’s Life

Many can look back in time and find an event, person, place or thing which was influential or life changing. For some, it was a special teacher, or a mentor, for others, it could have been moving to another country or city. The one event that totally changed El Hajj Malik El Shabazz’s (aka: Malcolm X) life, was his pilgrimage to Mekkah. Hajj, is a religious obligation that is at the heart of every Muslim believer. If able, he or she is expected to make Hajj at least once in their lifetime. This Hajj experience in 1965 truly changed his perspective on race and Islam. He witnessed the beauty of Islam in front of his eyes, seeing a multitude of Muslims from every corner of the earth, and every hue imaginable. It was more than just a religious experience; it was a journey into truth, an epiphany. In order to fully comprehend this awakening metamorphosis, transformation, and its impact, one must know the man before the pilgrimage.

El Hajj Malik Shabazz was born in Omaha, Nebraska May 19th, 1925. His father was a pastor who openly spoke out against racism and injustice. His voiced was silenced when he was brutally murdered by the Klan (racist White separatist group). Malik Shabazz was a boy at the time. In the absence of his father’s strict up bring, he fell into trouble with the law in his early 20’s. Ironically, he began studying Islam while incarcerated, later joining The Nation of Islam lead by Elijah Mohammad.

He once viewed people of European decent as devils, and evil. Perhaps the highly volatile racial climate during his life time played a role in some of his views. Lynches were the norm in the South, and contrary to what some believe, also occurred in the North. America was extremely divided, from the battle fields of the civil war, to the segregated water fountains of the civil rights era. African Americans’ home were burned by the Klan in the South, and also in the North. Young Emmit Tills was savagely murdered in Mississippi, to the point of un recognition. Martin Luther King was assassinated, as well as President Kennedy and his brother Senator Robert Kennedy adding more kindle to the flame.

In 1963 he ignored a direct order from Elijah Mohammad to remain silent after President Kennedy’s assassination and publicly went on record stating that Kennedy’s assignation was a matter of “the chickens coming home to roost.” He and was eventually excommunicated from the group. The nation of Islam was a highly militaristically structured Black Nationalist group. Many of their beliefs did not fall in line with orthodox Islam.

At some point, he began to question his own positions, the teachings and leadership of the Nation of Islam. El Hajj Malik Shabazz’s departure from the Nation of Islam just might have been the catalyst of change in his life. He went to Hajj, and soon rediscovered Islam. It had a remarkable impact on his life. His racial perspective changed as well as some past ideology. He said, (in a famous letter he wrote about his pilgrimage) “During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and slept in the same bed (or on the same rug)-while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of the blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the actions and in the deeds of the ‘white' Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.”

In his timeless epithany, Malcolm said "America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered White - but the White attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color." The Koran says (49:10), The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive Mercy. “ He also said in a letter to members of the newly formed Masjid in Harlem “… on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth…”

It is sad that 40 years have passed, and so many have not embraced the great lessons of unity that Malcolm learned from his hajj journey. Hajj is a manifestation of a core Islamic principal of Muslim unity in the Ummah. The Koran also states (3:103): And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided by Islam.

Ossie Davis delivered Malcolm’s eulogy on February 27, 1965. He warned the people about those who would come and try to tarnish his legacy, telling them to “revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will say turn away, away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter … And we will smile. They will say that he is of hate, a fanatic, a racist who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle!...” They did not know him.

No part of this article can be reproduced without the permission of the author .
Copyright Karema Akifah Saleh