January 17, 2012
Division is anathema to peace
Continuing on my last blog post on the circle of life, let me say that we would hope for each such successive cycle (each generation) to bring with it enhanced social and economic and spiritual wellbeing. But such development cannot happen without that necessary factor called peace. And a divided society is never going to have peace; this is a universal truth, given that separation always brings about conflict. Democracy as a means of governance was meant to bring varying viewpoints to the table for consultation -- not to have heels dug in to maintain positions and interests. If we look deeply enough at any issue we can always separate our interests from it - if we so desire. But this is often hard to accept, even if understood, in a situation where the social climate is inflamed by anger, jealousy and greed. Where success in addressing an issue is the motive, whether it be social economic or political, it has to be achieved through mediation, negotiation and acceptance, either through consensus or through the crafting of good win-win solutions. But such solutions cannot come about through confrontation. It can only come through consultation as what our Islam encourages. It is easy to inflame anger, jealousy and hatred and the desire to win on an issue. The one who is louder, stronger, or who can shame the other, may win for the day. But the win will no doubt be only momentary and while the loser relents, either through fear or shame, would surely be marking time to battle again once the wounds are licked and healed, and the time is right again. Who can be that vigilant for anticipating when the next strike will happen? How can peace prevail in times of such anxiety? Alas, winning is only a dream from which we will quickly be uncomfortably awoken. To lay the issue to rest would require that anger and resentment to be reversed through discussion, through suspending our assumptions, pride or conceit, and seek to understand the view-point of the other through intense listening and attempting to truly understand the other. Only through such dialogue will peace prevail. Let not our oneness as Maldivians be divided by the seeds of discontentment sown by alien thoughts that dazzle us for a moment but will leave us regretful when the dust settles. We need to listen to our hearts to piece together a home-grown approach that will serve us best to bring about social harmony and peace in our homeland.