Friday, 24 August 2007

Scotland, Beltane and May Day Marches

This was my very first 'thought' which was rather long since we have quite a strict time and word limit. I am forever grateful to Anna Magnusson for her help and patience in guiding me on the art of radio broadcasting. The thought developed after I was greatly moved by the may day marches and wanted to make sense of what they were all about. Enjoy!

BBC Radio Scotland Thought for the Day - May 2006 - Amanullah De Sondy
"The month of May must be a special one. In our rich Gaelic tradition it heralds in Beltane which traditionally signifies the drive of farm animals to summer pastures. And so it is interesting to experience the first of May a national holiday, a day when people in nearly all parts of the world are making or calling for change. In Panama, Iraq, Russia, London, they marched for worker rights, the anarchists were out in Bulgaria, in Tehran they marched for more jobs, in Nepal for democracy and in Ramallah for economic ease.

I also took part in a May Day march, well, more of a sponsored walk. It was organised by an educational institute based in the Southside of Glasgow which promotes learning of the Qur’an for Muslim women and children. Over 400 women, girls and young boys walked for around 10KM at Bellahouston park to raise money for their new building. I felt a great sense of pride walking with my Sunday school class of boys. Here I was a lone Muslim male walking amongst this mass exodus of devoted and articulate women. I could not feel but intimidated.

I glanced at the faces of passers by and wondered what was going through their minds. It suddenly dawned on me that a powerful message was being conveyed not through words but through action. The oft repeated rants about the liberated role of women in Islam has most often fallen flat on its face in reality but here I was taking part in a small step to intellectual progress in the world of some Muslim women in Glasgow.

Marches and protests don’t bring about immediate change but they do play a role in highlighting specific issues. The ethical message of the believer can be conveyed through words and actions. But we all know that actions often speak louder than words. As the Prophet Muhammad said, ‘Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart’. In short I think Shakespeare concludes it splendidly, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May’."

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