Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"The Return of Saladin"?

They say even a drowning man will clutch at a straw. Will the honour and bravery of Saladin bring back our honour? Bring back a hero of the old world, so we can embrace the new one?

Seems a contradiction. History teaches us many things about who and what we are. But it cannot plot our course for the future. Is mass-market reserruction of an age-old hero going to solve our problems? The solutions to our problems today must come from within, not from without. Saladin's perspective and insight came from within. As must a contemporary leader's, should a child borne by one of our Great Family ever bear such qualities.

Farish Noor from the Daily Times in Pakistan calls for a Return of Saladin through the new Iraqi president, Jalal Talabaani. A misleading title to a good argument.

One thing that we must have learned in our time here, it is that there is no return. Be it a gap of a moment or a thousand years, one moment lost is one lost to eternity. Where we were a second ago, we will never be again. There is no such thing as habit. That is the beauty of mortality and time: there is never a return.

But what any wise leader can do (and has done), is internalize the lessons of history and apply them in their modern contexts. As eras and ages and seconds and flashes differ from moment to moment, so does political intrigue. And therein lies the hallmark of a true leader and a scholar of decisions: the insight to look at actions and their ramifications through "the lens of eternity." That is the heirloom of the Righteous Caliphs.

Of course, nothing is ever so simple. The problems facing Iraq are many. We live in interesting times, and we pay for them with the lives of our brothers.

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I write essays in my spare time on things that are important to me. The ones that I feel are any good, or make any sense, I put them up here. :)