Faithful readers will acknowledge that I abandoned all plans to visit Dubai – even Expo 2020 held no allure as I was frightened – if I went to Dubai how would I get out. They might well keep me there. Although there is massive air conditioning – it is still hotter than hell there. Well, I guess it is – not been to hell (and not going there). I did visit Dubai in the past but it was January, one of the coldest months. It was hot but not sizzling. Only Alexis was sizzling hot (pre Muslim days) hahaha.
But I have found a compelling reason to visit the U.A.E. What is it? The presence of Afghanistan’s former President Ashraf Ghani. He fled this country last Sunday amid the Taliban’s advance. How do I know this and of this man’s character? There was a New Yorker article – The New Yorker fact checks so there is no question of its wisdom. As Patrick Moynahan famously said: “People are entitled to their own opinions, not to their own facts.” That has been quoted in prior blogs and also in my life of late. Someone said I trashed her family – I had not. I never talk behind people’s backs and I had never trashed her family. Me: I would have never said anything against your family. It is your opinion that I did – everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts.
She had no response, as I was gently reminded the other day.He: Alexis. She is a teenager!Me: Thank you for reminding me. She seems so adult that I forget that.
But let us explore the concept of talking behind someone’s back. Badmouth is an informal phrase meaning to say bad things about (someone or something) : to criticize (someone or something) What do you call someone who talks behind your back? Badmouth. “If you badmouth someone, you say unkind or critical things about them. A good friend won’t ever badmouth you behind your back? When you find fault with a friend, you can either be diplomatic or badmouth her, taking out your frustration by putting her down.” Why do people talk behind your back. They’re angry with you about something but don’t want to tell you to your face. They’re jealous and want to take you down a peg but in a passive-aggressive way. They’re insecure and feel the need to punish you for making them feel inferior. How does one stop the habit? If you talk about your pals behind their back, think about how it is likely to make them feel. Before you pass along one more morsel of information, stop and think about what you’re doing. Then make a pact with yourself to stop talking about friends behind their back for good. But Google also provides ten tips on the matter.
1. Go silent and notice how clean you already feel knowing you’re not getting sucked into a whirlpool of negativity. Give yourself big points for restraining yourself from being judge-y and critical. Decide on a little treat to give yourself as a reward for resisting negativity.2. Since your lips are closed and not moving, take the opportunity to put some lip balm on them.3. Close your eyes and take 5 deep cleansing breaths. With each one, imagine you’re erasing all your gossipy small-minded nit-picky thoughts from a giant chalk board. Enjoy the clean slate of your soul.4. Revel in the positivity and peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t have anything to feel guilty about later on when you replay the conversation in your head.5. Think of at least 3 positive things about the annoying person being talked about.6. If you’re 2 positive-things short, come up with 3 compassionate reasons to explain why the annoying person being discussed is so annoying. 7. If you’re 3 positive-things short, engage in ‘radical compassion’ to accept their difficult behavior by thinking about this quotation: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (Plato). Remember that we can never completely know the private pain of the people we come in contact with on a daily basis and that it’s this lack of knowledge that should be the lens through which we see the world and everyone in it.8. Remember that nobody’s perfect. Yourself included. Think of all the ways people could — and likely do! — talk about you behind your back.9. Be mindful of what it feels like to resist a negative urge (gossiping) and how relatively easy it is to replace it with a positive one (kindness). 10. Remember how good kindness feels — how it opens your heart instead of shriveling it. Pledge to make it your rule instead of your exception.
But back to President Ghani. One must read the article in order to fully appreciate the man. It can be found at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/04/ashraf-ghani-afghanistans-theorist-in-chief?utm_source=onsite-share&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=the-new-yorker. The article was written by George Packer on June 27,2016. My math is horrible but it seems it was written five years ago. It is highly relevant because it was and is the truth. The subtitle of the piece is: President Ashraf Ghani is an expert on failed states. Can he save his country from collapse? Well – we know now that he cannot and did not. As you may (or may not) read former President Ghani is an incredible man – no other word can and should be used. But of course, I shall try in my usual fashion. (Hahahah) Its synonyms are extraordinary, magnificent, wonderful, marvelous, spectacular, remarkable, phenomenal, prodigious, miraculous, sublime; amazing, , astounding, astonishing, awe-inspiring, staggering, extraordinary, unbelievable; formidable, imposing, impressive, supreme, great, awesome, superhuman; Scottish unco; fantastic, terrific, tremendous, stupendous, amazeballs, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, out of this world. Antonym: unspectacular. As usual I do have my favorites. Former President Ghani is awe-inspiring, amazeballs and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. As I am Scottish he is also unco.
I would be honored to meet this astounding, amazing man. To do so I would have to travel – to the U.A.E. – where he now resides. This is most paradoxical as you shall read.
First, one needs to know about the U.A.E. It is in the Middle East, its population population is equivalent to 0.13% of the total world population. But the Emiratis constitute only abouty 20% of the total population, making UAE home to one of the world’s highest percentage of expatriates. Indians and Pakistanis form the largest expatriate groups in the country. The richest Emirati in the country is Abu Dhabi.The heredity ruler worth about 830 billion bucks. The UAE is the third-richest country in the world (Qatar at number one), with a GDP per capita of $57,744. Incidentally, Abu Dhabi is only an hour and a half from Dubai. Just guessing, but probably Fomer President Ghanti now lives in Abu Dhabi . The city is also the home of the UAE’s president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Who is the Vice President of the U.A.E. Well, it is the Ruler of Dubai. The most beautiful mosque in the U.A.E. is located in Abu Dhabi. Faithful readers will know that I have never visited a mosque, although I have been a Muslim for approximately ten months. So I might just pack my Black Abaya and off I shall go.
Now back to badmouthing. I do admit that I have badmouthed someone – badmouthed on my blog. Whom? Type Ruler of Dubai into the search engine of the blog and seventy (70) blogs emerge. The recent ones are favorable but not the earlier ones when I first learned of the findings of the British High Court. OOPS sorry. Either the Ruler of Dubai has changed or I was mistaken. I have the ability to change horses in mid-stream, admit that I have made a mistake and learn from it.
Recent events have revealed that I am not as safe here as I once thought I was. The impact of that has yet to be realized. Yikes!! But the faith surrounds me like a cloak – Allah will protect me, that his his job after all. I have Instagram newsreels of Mecca with men chanting “Allah Protect Me”. If I were Allah I would be insulted – that is his job, to protect the faithful, he does not have to be reminded. He is All-Knowing, after all.
By the way, I am NOT painting my face like the flag of the U.A.E. Picture it and you shall see why.
This blog is also accompanied by an amusing cartoon from The New Yorker. It shall have particular meaning to Wise Man. He shall laugh I know.