Today was a very interesting early morning. Awoke to the chimes of my iPhone, prayed in a considered manner, forming intentions for my prayer prior to sunrise. Then off to Instagram to receive a series of inspiring messages.
Read first from a young Nigerian man met just yesterday in the Premier Inn lobby. S.A.S.S. introduced me to him and another from Nigeria, both employees of Ethiad Airlines. Both were here to push an old lady in a wheelchair to her flight. I Spoke to them, gave them my blog card, now I have two new followers on Instagram. I looked at the prior posts of one young man and found Mercy and Grace cleverly written in a Store. Immediately texted:
Me: Those are the two most important words in any faith. Thank you for reminding me.
Gentle Readers, please recall that the The Opening (al-Fatihah) begins.
- In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
- Praise be to God. Lord of the Worlds.
- The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Next Instagram test was a message to a Vancouver woman whom I soon shall meet. Interesting story – I met her daughter in my 2017-2018 Vancouver days, but not her. Story will be revealed in our text exchange. We spoke about the joy of being able to meet in person..
Me: Fabulous we shall have SO much fun!!! It will be marvelous. We will laugh constantly.
Me: Thinking most seriously of a week or two in Vancouver. I am no longer fasting so getting my strength up. I shall be in a good place.
She: Excellent. My daughter’s birthdays the day before your arrival – my youngest, the daughter that discovered you on Instagram before I did. Keep getting stronger for your big trip back here.
Me: I will. I am girding my loins, whatever that many mean.
Read some of her prior blogs which inspired me – two will be spoken of today.
This quote credited to Joff Leon. “What if this is just one big, great giant experiment to see how well and just how much love we can muster for ourselves and each other while we’re still here.” First reading it, I texted.
Me: This is an excellent philosophy of life.
Thought about it more this morning. Sent this text. :
Me: BTW think life is a big giant experiment. Going to use it on my blog today.
Thought more about it during the day. It is what Allah says about life on earth. It is temporal, temporary, something one must go through to get to our Day of Judgment. If we do a jog bob, mustering love for ourselves for each other and for Allah we get to go to Jannah. If you (or me) does a lousy job of of mustering the love you (or me) gets to go the ‘warm place’. Hell has a special name in the Islamic Faith – Jahannam.which is the place of punishment for unbelievers and other evildoers in the afterlife. It is an “integral part of Islamic theology”, occupying an important place in the Muslim religious imagination, The Qur’an describes Jahannam as a place of scorching fire pits and boiling water, where people experience physical and spiritual suffering. It uses vivid descriptions as a way to stop Muslims from participating in sin.” I shall tell you this, the description motivates me to stop participating in sin. II hate hot places. Heat makes me extremely grouchy.
Me: If I lived near the Equator I would become a mass murderer.
He: Alexis, you are living in the Middle East, temperature often hover near 105 degrees Fahrenheit for months and months.
Me: True, there is air conditioning.
I arrived here in November – the very few cold months were blessedly here. Not now, still air conditioning but perhaps I should get outta here for the good of mankind. Today a high of 105 I shall remain inside. Abu Dhabi Airport Premier Inn has become my monastery. P.I.M. I call it – Premier Inn Monastery.
Safe, cool and protected, why do out? Retreating from the world is energizing. Then emerging , like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. Great image but wait! There is a digital print this quote by Dean Jackson: “When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been.” Exactly what the former people in my life said – wanted the “old Alexis back.”
Me: Sorry you are not getting the old Alexis back. No way!
They: You are so weird!
Me: Just to you. Please leave me alone and I will leave you alone. That way there will be less pain for all. Will be around people who appreciate the new me and you can stay comfortable in the same place you have always been.
That is worked out. Here is, now another inspiring quote also from my ‘new’ Vancouver friend. She had sent it months ago, I responded at the time.
“The real damage is done by most millions who want to ‘survive’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who do not want to make waves – or enemies. The author of this profound thought is Sophie Schott. Non-violent activist Munich (1921-1943).
I had responded:
Me: That is so true and profound when you think of it. Never exposed to her and her thinking. Thank you! It is not the people that think big but the ones who think small, or not at all.
This morning decided to find out about Sophie Schott. Took so much time and effort but finally found something. But when I read it realized I got the spelling wrong, she was Sophie Scholl. Wikipedia has a huge article on her – read it!!
This story found on Timeline before finding the right spelling.
“Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go,” 21-year-old Sophie Scholl lamented, before she was guillotined by the Nazis. “But what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?” Scholl was a member of the White Rose, a small, anonymous group of mostly university students who hoped that by distributing leaflets and graffitiing public spaces, they could awaken complacent German intellectuals.
The story continues: Seven months earlier in June of 1942, Sophie was sitting in a lecture hall at the University of Munich when she noticed a slip of paper under her desk. She picked it up and began to read, “Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible crimes — crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure — reach light of day?”
The story in riveting details continues.
“The mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps was now fully underway. As a child, Sophie had been a member of the girl’s branch of the Hitler Youth, but had been troubled when her Jewish friend was prohibited from joining. As Jud Newborn and Annette Dumbach explained in their book, Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, Sophie and her siblings — still under the sway of the Hitler Youth — often clashed with their father, an avowed anti-Nazi. One evening, walking along the Danube, he had turned to his children suddenly and hissed, “All I want is for you to walk straight and free through life, even when it’s hard.” Slowly, skepticism wormed its way in. Her alienation reached fever pitch in high school as nearly everything she learned was steeped in Nazi propaganda. Then her father was arrested when his employer overheard him calling Hitler “the scourge of humanity.” But reading the pamphlet, Sophie was conflicted. She had two brothers at the front, her father was in jail awaiting sentencing, and her mother was ill. Waiting to report anti-Nazi literature was a crime. She walked out of the lecture hall with the pamphlet in hand.”
It too horrible to comtemplate but goes on. and her brother and other people of the White Rose movement had so much to contribute to the world – to make it a better place. Wait until you read the end of it. It will make you sad and wonder about the fate of this cruel world.
Sophie went in search of her older brother Hans, who was a medical student also at the University of Munich. He wasn’t in his apartment, so she waited for him there. She found a book by the German poet, Friedrich Schiller on his desk and began reading. One page in particular was covered in marks. The exact words she had read in the pamphlet were underlined. Sophie was terrified. Her brother must have had something to do with the pamphlet. When he returned, Sophie confronted him. He demurred. Two of his friends arrived, and eventually they told her the truth. Her brother and four others were a part of an anonymous resistance campaign. Sophie decided to join them.
For the next month, the group worked on their campaign. They bought stamps and paper from different post offices to avoid arousing suspicion. They collected quotes and copied them with a mimeograph. The second pamphlet read, “Since the conquest of Poland 300,000 Jews have been murdered, a crime against human dignity.” The third called for the sabotage of armament plants, newspapers, and public ceremonies, and the awakening of the “lower classes.” Rumors buzzed about the pamphlets. As the language of the pamphlets became increasingly explicit, the gestapo ramped up their efforts to find the perpetrators, arresting anyone at the slightest suspicion of collaboration.
In July, four members of the White Rose including Hans were ordered to spend their summer break working as medics at the Russian front. On their way, they passed the Warsaw ghetto and were horrified. Once in Russia, they understood that Germany was losing to the Soviets despite the fact that the Nazis claimed otherwise. When they returned home in November, they were emboldened, and the White Rose increased the number of pamphlets they were publishing. The group traveled by train to distribute the leaflets all over Germany. They wanted to create the impression that the White Rose was a vast network, that the public was behind them. When the Germans admitted their loss to the Soviets in February of 1943, some White Rose members went out at night and graffitied the words “Freedom,” “Down with Hitler” and “Hitler mass murder” on the city hall and other public places. They believed Nazi Germany might be crumbling, they just needed the people to realize it.
On February 18, Sophie and Hans brought suitcases full of the sixth pamphlet to the University of Munich and left them in classrooms and hallways, and on windowsills. They — some accounts say just Sophie — went to a balcony that overlooked one of the university’s main courtyards. As hoards of students streamed out of class, the pamphlets fluttered down from the sky above them.
The sixth pamphlet was the last. A janitor had seen Sophie and her brother, reported them, and shortly thereafter they were arrested. Sophie was interrogated for seventeen hours. Four days later, when she finally emerged at the “People’s Court” in the Munich Palace of Justice, she had a broken leg. As Kathryn Atwood described in Women Heroes of World War II, the courtroom was a bevvy of Hitler supporters. The judge launched into a tirade about how the members of the White Rose were weakening Germany. The defendants were not given an opportunity to speak. And then, suddenly, a voice called out. It was Sophie. “Somebody had to make a start!” she yelled. “What we said and wrote are what many people are thinking. They just don’t dare say it out loud!”
After she interrupted the judge several more times, Sophie, her brother, and another member of the White Rose were sentenced to death. On the back of her indictment, Sophie scrawled the word “Freedom.” Within hours, the trio were lead to the guillotine. From the executioner’s block, her brother shouted, “Long live freedom!” (In total, roughly 5,000 dissenters would be similarly executed.)
After the execution, a pro-Nazi rally was held at their university, and the janitor who had reported them was given a standing ovation.
Just think of what Sophie, her brother and the 5,000 dissenters could have contributed to the world. I guess the janitor cleaned up. I do not know about this world sometimes.