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Opinions of Friday, 17 August 2007

Columnist: Asigri, D. Z.

From 'tears in my eyes' to 'reflection'

Let us come to a turning point from ‘tears in my eyes’ as lately shown and move on to the notion of ‘reflection’ which consequently leads to a resolution or in other words, building bridges of some sort - period! This is a way of life which suggests that we form and reform ourselves as one lives within the extended family system especially in a multi/tribal community. Some of my learned colleagues and I, often discuss very openly about the value and use of one’s life experience in his daily encounter with people of all works of life as well in addition to his/her intellectual work: of which one must continually analyse or examine and interpret it. We came to an agreed consensus that craftsmanship as a sense maker, has been shown to be the centre of oneself and you are personally involved in your daily relationships with relatives and people as well as with your intellectual or political pursuits. Further, for one to boast by saying that you have experience, means one thing, that your past plays into and affects your present, and that it defines your capacity for future experience and personal growth. Pathetically, to deny the fact that our life experiences influence our inter-personal relationships with people notably certain members of your extended family, is to reject the notion of education itself. A 1930 educational thinker A. N. Whitehead would applaud me for this assertion.

To the head of any extended family, one can understand the situation in which he/she is placed - from disgust to despair in search of a cultural therapeutic milieu. Any adopted method is usually welcome unquestionably by virtue of the ascribed role in which he/she occupies within the system. But one ought not forget the slippery nature of the extended family system of today which obviously calls for some form of ‘cultural renewal’ which unfortunately, can’t be planted overnight particularly within a family crowned perhaps, with well informed members. By this I mean members who purport to be educated! The belief that a political ‘status’ is transient is not a new phenomenon in our national political landscape, and must not be overlooked in one’s perception of others but taken care of, rather than nurturing and grooming meddlers in the name of ‘cultural renewal’ which creates chaos within the extended family by some uninformed members.

You see, what I have observed over these painful years is about doubt in the cause of attaining certainty and progress in the form of education within extended family ‘X’. Perhaps, it is about whether, even when it has brought benefits we should continue to do more and more of what some of us have always done which I think, has in reverse created a culture of hate and a culture medium for the growth of greed and jealousy of some kind because of its indelible nature.

While there may be no simple answers to the dilemma that that I have referred to, we clearly have a good deal to learn from me as a researcher who have taken a more retrospective, questioning look at extended family ’X’. I believe that our concerns will be influenced by both our ethical position and also our judgement of the validity of the ideas that I have painfully sheared. Yet, I think to a very large degree the concerns may be resolved in open and respectful dialogue within extended family ’X’.

To conclude, if we accept ourselves as active members of extended family ’X’ that one is proud of, then one is no longer going to see oneself in any way ’infecting’ it. Many thanks and may Allah/God bless all concerned readers.

Asigri, D.Z.
Senior Lecturer
Practitioner Researcher
Middlesex University

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