Thursday, 12 May 2011

It Made Me Think.

I don't normally 'do' political or topical in this blog. Too many others to compete with who do it better. Plus I don't normally concern myself with matters I can't really change. (My paltry readership figures suggest perhaps I ought to change. Is my blog in need of a shake up I wonder.

There have been millions of words written concerning the Osama Bin Laden affair, but not by me. Then at the weekend something happened that made me think.

We, my wife and I happened to be in Castleton at the weekend. Situated in a wild unspoilt area in the Peak District, I am so in love with the place I have a large picture of it on the back of my motorhome. (Even though the powers to be in their infinite wisdom have innundated parts with parking meters. Yet there was NOT ONE single vehicle now parked in the areas in question where previously there would have been dozens.) Exactly the place to 'chill out' and many do so, particularly at weekends, including our new found friends parked alongside.

Five youngsters, ages twenty to twenty five, three male, two female. In the course of the next half hour I learnt four were Pakistani, one Moroccan. I also learnt all were well educated, being either at university or in jobs of some standing, banking, teaching, computing. They were also exceedingly well turned out, very modern, very western, but not sporting the hiking paraphernalia normally associated with the Peak District. They were noisy, verbose, outgoing, seemingly unaware of the attention they were getting from less than impressed, often elderly visitors to this area. But they were also courteous, polite, respectful to my wife and I, intelligent and humorous. Their offer of strawberries and cream was unneccessary, but generous and accepted.

It was obvious the group had little comprehension, understanding or experience of the area. (They are city dwellers, Birmingham and Sheffield.) The visit was to be short, for the pull of city life was strong. The talk was of visiting Leeds, presumably to experience the night life or Sheffield, to buy shoes. (On a Saturday evening, surely not viable, my friends!) Eventually they left and quiet returned to Castleton. But why should our chance meeting have any political implications?

Our new friends are young. They are respectful of their parents, in spite of behaviour at odds with their upbringing; (They were in Castleton to get away from 'their own'.) At least one talked of arranged marriage without rancour or particular apprehension. We are old, not of the Muslim faith, pursuing a British way of life; trips to the great outdoors included. We had little in common, but then again the parents of our friends are old. Herein lies the crux of the matter.

The likes of Muslims like Bin Laden has caused the world much misery and fear and the terror is ongoing. Fundamentists amongst the old are probably entrenched beyond redemption. That you can convince some young that virgins are on offer in return for suicide bombing appeals evidently to the brainwashed, particularly the uneducated. But my new friends have the advantage of education. Plus they are at odds with the older generation of whatever political political or religious persuation. Perhaps, only perhaps, the peaceful future of the world depends on the young, my new friends included. Concerning Pakistan,

David Aaronovitch posed the question in The Times last week, 'Whether over time Pakistan will become more like us, or we'll become more like them'. Not a thousand miles removed from our trip to Castleton. You were great, my friends, I hope we meet again. Next time hiking boots and rucksacks at the ready?

9 comments:

Nota Bene said...

Fundamentalists of any persuasion are a problem...education should bring enlightenment and let's hope it does. It's a shame that many tar all Muslims with the same brush as Bin Laden...obvious nonsense...

Victoria said...

I don't have anything particular to say, only that this was a very peaceful way to discuss something that normally causes problems. More political blogs like this, could be interesting!!

slommler said...

Well done Ken!! A gentle way to discuss this for sure.
Hugs
SueAnn

Galen Pearl said...

The weekend after bin Laden was killed, I was invited to dinner at the home of a young Muslim couple from Saudi Arabia (the husband is my graduate student). They were gracious hosts and I had a lovely evening. We did not talk about bin Laden, but we did talk about our faiths, comparing and finding common ground, speaking with curiousity and respect. I'm glad you had such a wonderful encounter with these young folks.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Back again after two days 'off air'. Beyond my control or comprehension, a 'blogger' glitch I believe. Just shows how vunerable we bloggers are. Trust it was nothing personsl. To the three or four 'friends' who commented but have now vanished, sorry. Off we go again, hopefully!

MattJW said...

An excellent post and I agree with your sentiments. Sadly it is just a few that give the world a totally distorted view of Pakistan. The majority I have found to be friendly respectful and highly studious, achieving professional status most people can only dream of. I once met someone from Karachi who I became very close to. I will always cherish my memories of her beauty, her friendship and kindness.

Sergent said...

I live in a small town along the Kenyan Coast which is predominantly Muslim. A few miles up is the volatile Somalia who are apparently recruiting from the Mosques all over the Kenyan Coast. This is a small proportion but the Kenyan media has not stopped with the judgements but from a personal experience, education is not the only factor as majority of these Muslims are uneducated and still think terrorism is against the will of Allah.

Jeneane said...

I enjoyed your English countryside shared with a new wave of English men and women. It's been going on for a long time after all.

I still read your posts as they appear, just too busy to comment most of the time. Keep it up including the politico/religious commnetary.

quilterliz said...

G'day Ken. Loved the photo, the scenery looks great as does the back of your motorhome. Your story was interesting as sadly we do judge the people from other countries by what we read or see on the television, we need to open our eyes more and realise that there are many such young people (and older) like the five that you met. You were in the right place at the right time to meet them and by your writing, they impressed you with their manners and intelligence. May they continue to impress others that they meet. Take care. Liz...