January 3rd 2014
BBC Radio Scotland
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
University of Miami, FL.
A new year, a new beginning, a clean slate. These are just some of the sentiments that I’ve heard or read over the last few days. Leaving the past year or years behind seems to offer hope to some of us. I have heard more than once from people that they want this year to be, a sort of, brand new beginning. But can this actually happen. I can see that there are some memories that we would all rather forget but should they be completely forgotten? If the past linger on in our lives does it strengthen our understanding of self, our living? My thoughts also turn to some of the most horrific events in history that we might all wish had never happened or attempt to forget but the reminder and memory of these do infact play a role in how we shape ourselves and the society that surrounds us.
As a Muslim, I have found it helpful in lingering in the past where often I have found that our current hot potato issues have a history. Take for example some of the most contentious issues facing Muslims today, such as gender and sexuality. If the slate is wiped clean they become ‘new issues’ but I’ve found that the murkiness of the old slate (and possibly upsetting past) actually helps to understand where we are today. I believe that there is much danger in ‘living in the past’ or even ‘life in the now’, the two should always meet, in some way.
Maybe our very own, Robert Burns, was pushing us all to connect the past as we move forward when he wrote, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne”. Happy new year.