February 1, 2016
This blog is the first of a series dedicated to The Siddiqui Brothers in Cairo. Get a glimpse into the musings and inner workings of the Siddiqui mind.
It’s been centuries since I passed into the Great Beyond. In this plane, I have witnessed wondrous advancements in the sciences. You have machines that are magical. What would have been miracles in my time are everyday occurrences that you all take for granted in yours. You watch and observe the heavens in ways even the most enlightened minds of our age could not even have conceived of. Your progression in technology reflects the innate divinity that is present in all human beings. I almost want to step into your plane and experience the euphoria of discovery once more. Almost. Even in such an edified era, the way human beings treat each other and act continues to reflect separation from the divine and each other. Disappointing.
You callously kill each other with no remorse. When your leaders try to stop you from destroying each other, you turn on them, especially if they look different from you. You continue to persecute each other over religion. Your laws really only favor those who have in your society. Your have-nots struggle for scraps from the overflowing table of the haves.
Wait. Am I talking about my time? No, I’m talking about 2016. You’ve surpassed us in some ways but are willfully stagnant in others. In some ways, you focus on what’s important. Yet, some of the things you focus on, I can’t really fathom.
One concept I truly cannot grasp is “cultural appropriation.” Your experts say it occurs when the majority group takes cultural aspects of a minority group they have traditionally oppressed. At worst, it’s hypocrisy. At best, couldn’t this “taking” of culture be redirected as a bridge of understanding between cultures? In my time, we interspersed facets of different cultures when we came across them. We learned, and we grew. Of course, some among us didn’t exchange. They plundered. They killed and destroyed. That is what you put energy into stopping. Oppression and hypocrisy are what you express outrage over. I don’t understand your indignation over what you call “pop” culture.
You have extended contentious dialogue about celebrities and their hairstyles and their fashion. These moving pictures to music you call videos incite you to engage in worldwide debate over “cultural appropriation” in one of these 4 and a half-minute videos. That is just ridiculous. Worldwide controversy has erupted over a group of musicians who call themselves Coldplay and this stunning woman called Beyonce whose video was set in India.
“Hymn for the Weekend” has images of Shiva, various holy men, people participating in Holi, and the band members wandering around India. I somewhat see why religious imagery is used considering the song has the word “hymn” in it. It is a loose connection at best. Yet, many videos are totally unrelated to what is discussed in the song. Getting back to this particular song, I find the whole thing silly, the song and the video. Some lyrics go, “Got me feeling drunk and high…” I’ve felt drunk and high many times in my life. What does that have to do with holy men and Shiva? They should have focused more on Beyonce. She would make anyone feel drunk and high. She deserves a hymn herself. People are also upset about her wearing Indian clothing and being depicted as a Bollywood actress. Who cares? She looks more Hindustani than some of these young ladies in these films. My wife was Hindustani. Did I culturally appropriate her? Actually, this miniscule issue doesn’t deserve any more pontification. Simply, it’s a mediocre song that’s getting more attention and popularity than it deserves from this unnecessary controversy.
Friends, don’t divert your focus to nonsense that has no real importance. Truly connect with each other and embrace your divinity together.
Until next time…look behind and beyond the veil…
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer