Archive for December, 2006

Faithless and stateless in Egypt

The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court of Egypt to disallow members of the Baha’i Faith to be certified as Baha’is on official documentation will be seen as a giant leap backwards in Egypt’s civil liberties history. Human rights groups as well as members of the Baha’i Faith see it as a gross human rights violation which bears major implications for daily life in Egypt.

The law discriminates against Baha’is, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists alike. You can’t get a drivers license, a job, a university placing or even be anywhere without your ID Card. If you are spotted without one, you can face 5 years in jail. You must specify a religion on your card - but only one of the three recognised: Muslim, Christian or Jew. No other religious affiliation is officially admissible. Without state ID stating one of these religions as one’s affiliation, organising something as fundamental as a family member’s funeral becomes a monumental task.

The conservative approach has disappointed the hopeful expectations of both secularists and religious minorities. In the months leading up to last Saturday’s ruling, the law was increasingly interpreted by the courts to suit the more conservative elements.

Rendered faithless and stateless

The Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling intensifies the fight for Baha’i Egyptian citizenship rights, writes Gamal Nkrumah of the Egyptian publication, Al-Ahram.

Egyptian court upholds discriminative policy

It’s hard to digest this deplorable news in the face of all international human rights law to which Egypt is supposedly a party:

Egyptian court rules against Baha’is, upholding government policy of discrimination
16 December (BWNS)– In a closely watched case that has become the focus of a national debate on religious freedom, Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court today ruled against the right of Baha’is to be properly identified on government documents.

The decision upholds current government policy, a policy which forces the Baha’is either to lie about their religious beliefs or give up their state identification cards. The policy effectively deprives Egyptian Baha’is of access to most rights of citizenship, including education, financial services, and even medical care. [...]

And this from Reuters and Spero News.

Inclination to keep quiet

Friends, I am reticent.

Some events over the last fortnight have engaged my reserve and drained the muse out of me. But this blog will reappear out of the woodwork soon. Several postings stand patiently in cue within the cerebral cortex, awaiting the moment when they are finally tapped into the keyboard and brought to life. Be patient, postings. Your time will come.

She’ll be right mate

This thought provoking opinion piece from a SMH reader confronts Aussie identity and the corrosive complacency that tags along with an un-fair dinkum attitude:

Time for serious reflection - but she’ll be right, mate
Dec 5 2006

The season of frivolity and celebration is here. It brings with it a time for reflection. But on what specifically should I reflect? The need to remain patriotic, proud and positive? Or the unabated complacency and apathy that continue to engulf the collective consciousness of Australia? [...]

Dissipation of dust

Moving Form is soon moving to the West Coast of the Great Southern Land. I regret to inform you that his belongings, for the most part, will not accompany him. It had always been their full intention to accompany him. They had always been so faithful. His sofa had born the brunt of his tired body at the end of a hard day’s work, and laid there night after night, awaiting his return. His mattress had been his support, chiropractic, mental and emotional; the surface upon which he would shut-eye when the hour was late. His bookshelves had held with stoic fortitude, the accumulation of stories, facts and words that nourished his soul. His clothing had clothed him. Day in, day out, sheltering his thin and vulnerable frame from the harsh summer sun or the cold winter sting and preserving his slither of dignity. All these things had been wrapped, taped, packed with zealous care, and been life’s preoccupation for weeks.

They are gone now, victim to a fire sparked by the removalist’s faulty truck exhaust. Did it have to point back into the container vent? And of their tales, none remains but one, this humble servant. This passing shadow, for just a twinkle of an eye longer.

So it leads me to ponder: What is material possession? And after all is said and done, what is this earthly life? I am certainly no less without those things. I miss nothing. I lack nothing. I too will return to ashes very soon and hope desperately that before then I will leave something to reverberate through the ages; silently, unassumingly, probably unbeknown to me and to you. Something small that was real or sincere. Perhaps that itself, will be all that I am as I cast this mortal coil to gaze upon my Maker.

This life is short. This earth a handful of dust. This galaxy no more. This universe possibly one of an infinite. This dimension possibly the lesser, more veiled form of many others. This reality but a possibility. And all that is here, that we know, is you and I. And you are I and I am you.

Dost thou reckon thyself only a puny form
When within thee the universe is folded?


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