The Great Leader, Muammar Gaddafi, peace be upon him, once gave a few definitions on the meaning of the word mathaba. On a fellow Mathaba site we can read his following words:
"Linguistically, it is the chastest place. And revolutionarily, it is the headquarters where the revolutionary forces meet to devise their daily, weekly, monthly and annual programme. (Meeting And Talking Helping All Become Aware). Still, politically, it is the shelter, the resort and the "melting pot"; it is the area of liberated land that receives meetings of activists, free rebels, peace and freedom lovers and the oppressed and disinherited people of our contemporary world." (Muammar Gaddafi, the Green Charter)
In the context of this current article I would like to play with the line that says 'Meeting and talking helping all become aware', for there are many ways to become aware, and there are many ways to help others become 'aware'. On sites like World Mathaba and Mathaba, and many other critical websites for that, you can find articles that aim to provide an alternative to the perspective that you can find in what is termed the 'main stream media'.
It is quite tempting to consider yourself to be amongst the ones that are 'aware'. But what does it mean to be 'aware'? Does that imply that you have developed a deep knowledge about the geo-political games that are being played out? That you realize the way the Western countries try to neo-imperialistically control the world? Does being aware mean that you know about the way big corporations and banks have far greater power than the governments?
If you would take that as being aware, how would someone who is 'aware' behave in the normal world? Would it be an angry young man who would scream and shout at the powers that be, defying them endlessly? (1), or would it be someone who radiates a sense of peace and joy, which allows him to touch upon other people in a way that may make them reconsider certain assumptions about life? To be more like a silent revolutionary?
THE URBAN REVOLUTIONARY
In his book, Escape to Hell, Muammar Gaddafi writes about his views on city life. Today, most of us live in a city and in order to find ways to become a peaceful or 'silent' urban revolutionary, it might be useful to pay some attention to the challenges associated with urban life. The goal of this exercise is to find ways to 'mathabafy' your life in your local town or community. Let's hear what the King of Africa had to say about urban society:
"The more the city progresses and develops, the more complicated it becomes. Common friendliness and social ties become increasingly remote, to the degree that people living in the same building do not know one another, especially when the building grows so large that it becomes a mere number....Inhabitants of the same street do not know one another, since, after all, they have not chosen to live with one another. They have merely found themselves by chance living in the same street or lane, or apartment building, with no kinship or other connection between them." (pp 4-5)
After having written the article on Shi'as and Sunni's meeting each other in a love embrace (2), I was in a 'revolutionary' or perhaps even a 'mathaba-state of mind' when I went to work on my bicycle. At a certain crossing I had to stop and a bus filled with about 15 people passed by. When I looked at the people in the bus, it struck me that everyone was evading everybody else. It seemed as if they all tried to act as if the others in the bus did not exist. When I saw that bus filled with 15 completely disconnected islands of human beings, a feeling of sadness swept through me.
What has become of us? What's the use of writing, tweeting, facebooking, reading and mailing about all kinds of geopolitical matters (3) and forms of (social) injustice, when as soon as you close the door behind you and take to the streets, you turn into some kind of social zombie, not caring much about the people around you?
What if we try to mathabafy our own lives by opening up to possibilities to actually connect with people around you? Wouldn't you have a far greater chance to spread your ideas when you are able to get into contact with other people in a kind and open way? And even if you don't spread your ideas, the joy of learning about each other's life can make life become more like a meeting ground for freedom and peace lovers, as Gaddafi would have said (see A Train Conversation on Syria for example(4)).
Imagine how you are able to do something revolutionary by intending to find ways to kindly connect to people throughout the day. A few days ago I was at a school yard to pick up my daughter. I decided to sit on a 15-meter long wooden bench next to some other parent whom I had never spoken to before. While feeling mathabacilly revolutionary I said - with a smile on my face - to the mother next to me, the plain words, 'Hi, shall we start a conversation?'. She suddenly started to laugh and said that it seemed like a good idea to her, and so we started to talk about our children, and it turned out that her son was having his 7th birthday on that particular day. Although the talk was short, it felt good for both of us.
It is easy to be some kind of internet-activist, reading, writing and commenting about all kinds of revolutionary material, often with some kind of angry or upset charge, but is far from easy to be a revolutionary, or a mathaba-acitivist in your own local universe where you encounter people 'in real life'. Imagine what would be more effective? A group of people feeding each other with anti-imperialist or anti-1%-information, or a group of people who are actively trying to connect to others in a way that may change people from living mechanical, zombie-like lives into people who live with a heart that is open to the world? Perhaps it is time to get away from our mechanical devices more often and interact joyfully with real human beings instead.
Tags: kindness mathabafy