History Society

Strange Bed Fellows

” You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius.

The Israel-United Arab Emirates peace agreement spells the story of strange bed fellows because the people suffering the yoke of oppression still face the brunt of an Apartheid state in Occupied Palestine. This accord appears to be is like a mouse caught in body of a tarantula shaking off any interference. Would you navigate with such a mouse? I doubt it in the way that an elephant cannot pass through the eye of a needle. The events are out of our control but, what gives me strength is the ability to share views in favour of the oppressed. When you lose that voice of reason, you have lost everything because even Hitler’s holocaust ended with the indelible shame on his name. When COVID-19 ushered in a new normal we followed with annoyed obedience in face of the reality but, the normalisation with states not at war is a normal that is gruesomely abnormal.

Is this Normal?

The normal way to answer a question is with an answer that fits the question but, the answer to the above is best described by Voltaire as:

The world 2020 and beyond. A travesty.

The travesty of our situation today is that the leaders of poor countries are standing up for the oppressed whilst the leaders of rich countries support the oppressor. We need to separate the Muslim from the Ummah or the citizen from the country to get an understanding of who are leaders are. The leaders have their followers in keeping with the support they garner but, in the main leaders are only elected on the number of people that voted them in. The number of actual voters in the general sense is actually less than the number of potential voters out there all because of apathy or total lack of interest. Therefore, the leaders look powerful because their voters turned out and made an impression.

Why we need to be conscious as an ummah. Our vote can never be for sale.

The impression of the Abraham Accord makes you think that the entire nation of each president is behind them but in reality it is not so. Consider the whole Ummah of Islam on the matter and you will find that the vast majority is against the accord in all respects. The fact that the means of power, influence and military might rests with strange bed fellows, unholy alliances, sinister plots, one-sided mandates the like of the Balfour Declaration, the renegading on promises and the prejudiced use of the power of veto to hold on to the riches of the world; indicates that power corrupts and ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Therefore, we need to fathom how this actually happens or where the roots of it start.

In life we are judged by what we finish and not by what we start. However, what we start and get others to finish is a keystone to our legacy. In my experience of schooling as a pupil and today as a Principal I found that people by nature always make friends and alliances. From the playground bully to the top performer there is a circle of friends and enemies that surround them. Strange but true, the very type of unholy alliances as a case in point that children make, gains strength as a they grow older and many have less calcium in their skull than in their backbone. Therefore, from a young age they learnt how to sell their soul to the devil. Really the forces of good and evil have their roots in the early years of socialisation because, ‘children learn with their eyes’ and therefore, mimic the duplicity of those in authority. Indulge yourself in a reflection on this and you will see how children make alliances and how it bends to those children whose parents are wealthy, or have authority or have power. The character traits grow and in their later lives, their networking breeds in the same blood line of shady dealers or good leaders. They learn very well how to cut deals, use alliances and make things happen for selfish interests which gives them immense satisfaction because power is addictive.

The addiction of power grow like roots supporting a huge tree. You don’t see the roots but you see the tree. The tree amazes us and many a times the fruit is forbidden whilst available. Like those in power today and making unholy alliances, keeping strange bedfellows and striking deals for selfish interests their roots spread deep and wide and their appearances are that of the UN, WHO, Triple Alliance, Triple Entente, NATO and many more with the latest been the Abraham Accord. In my mind I imagine how these leaders were as children from Hitler to Sharon were actually displaying some narcissist characteristics fuelled by environments that kindled the craving for power, unbridled ambition, control and dominance. I see how children in schools behave to get their way and consequently become dominant. In characteristic ways they begin having strange bed fellows. Extend this to the Abraham Accord and the extrapolation is just weird.

It’s weird that these three Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump look the type who would be alliances on the school playground but not personal friends because friends don’t hurt each other with cunning duplicity. In the mind of Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan is acutely aware of what is happening in the Middle East and the fear he has is the reality of the shattered countries of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya to name a few. The intensity of that horror plagues the mind. It is my clear understanding that none of the leaders in the Middle East are unaware of the massacre of Sabra and Shitla therefore, it is further perplexes my mind as to why they would become strange bed fellows with those that have links to that massacre. I am also sure that the leaders of Europe would be weary of making deals with holocaust deniers. Therefore, how is the massacre of Sabra and Shatila ignored or not considered when the deal was struck?

Here is a history of what happened at Sabra and Shatila villages.

“On September 15, 1982, the Israeli military surrounded the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila, setting up checkpoints and roadblocks to prevent anyone from leaving. Then, from approximately 6:00pm on September 16 until 8:00am on September 18, 1982, while the Israeli army surrounded and illuminated the camps, the Phalangists entered and began slaughtering men, women, children and fetuses. 

An American journalist, Janet Lee Stevens, later wrote to her husband, Dr. Franklin Lamb, “I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread apart; dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an alley wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles.”

The Israeli Defense Minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, was found by an Israeli investigatory commission to bear personal responsibility for the massacre and was dismissed as defense minister.  However, the following year, he was appointed Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor and continued to occupy other ministerial positions in Israel until 2001, when he was elected prime minister of Israel. 

The exact number of civilians killed in the Sabra & Shatila massacres is unknown, but ranges from over 400 to several thousand. What is known is that no one was held accountable. In 2020, on the eve of Sabra & Shatila remembrance, the survivors of those massacres and Palestinians around the world were forced to endure the charade of our so-called brethren signing normalization agreements with the entity that not only denies victims justice, but that continues to steal from, maim, oppress and kill our people. While devastating, we recognize those deals for what they are–autocrats, racists and war criminals agreeing to bolster economic and military cooperation at the expense of civilians who yearn to live free.

Every September 16-18, we mark the Sabra & Shatila massacres; every day we remember the victims slaughtered in these camps and the thousands of Palestinians who have been killed since; and every minute we pledge to never give up the fight for justice, accountability and a free Palestine.”

Palestine maybe erased from the map but, it will never be erased from the hearts and minds of millions of people because its legacy is legendary and of biblical proportion too. 20 years ago the Al-Aqsa Intifada marked the failures of the Camp David Summit because it proved that alliances cannot hold if fairness and justice do not underpin it. Therefore, when you consider the Roadmap for Peace you have to admit it was chiseled out, crafted and polemical to the people of Palestine and, the continuous wording of the people of Palestine as Palestinians and not as majority Muslim as in fact distracted the ummah from being more consciousness of their duty to stand up for justice. This is what strange bed fellows do. They make you comfortable with a kind of security that massages your raw self ambitions, makes you fear your loss of power and in the process you marginalise those who are really your people.

Your people, your roots, your land and your history is what defines you and the alliances made without them indicates a lack of leadership. Leadership in essence is to care. To care for others so that justice is established and peace prevails. The prevalence of injustice by these accords, alliances, treaties and the likes without care for justice, is clearly a hopeless case for peace. Marcus Aurelius said, ” You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.” I believe not to make a statement about himself but, for the ordinary people to know how much of power they have to call their leaders to account. The fact that strange bed fellows like the above leaders making deals cover for each other indicates that we have lost power over our own minds because we still give out vote to them. For a moment consider the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and join the dots of the people implicated. You will find a very unholy alliance with Mr Donald Trump, the President of USA and Mohammad bin Salmaan which lends great weight to why the case is turning cold despite the insistence of justice by Turkey. These alliances we see unfolding before our eyes speaks volumes of our growing weakness as people of the world because we don’t have power over our mind.

Our mind is what leaders want to control and the sooner we give up on being discretionary and reflective, the sooner we become drones in the hands of dubious controllers whose only wish is the fulfilment of raw ambition. The events are so far out of control therefore, the attempt to zone it more personally gives me strength. If we can from now begin to measure ourselves in who we befriend and join we will begin to see that we actually have power over our mind and we will not make strange bed fellows. Therefore, what intrigues me is how are these people in power nurtured and educated to be shrewd statesmen because such craftiness does not fall on your head like an apple for you to discover gravity. Nay! its taught through what great people have written on power.

My reading of Robert Greene’s THE 48 LAWS OF POWER, made me realise how well young people are trained to become leaders and when they do, they are masters at the craft of using power effectively. It is worthy to note before an explanation that the Harrow and Eton schools have produced thousands of statesmen who became and are within the most influential echelons of politics to carve out alliances, accords, resolutions, treaties and the likes to ensure longevity of King and country. Robert Greene’s second law of power is: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies, is so Machiavellian but, shows how clearly this law plays out in the area of global politics. Look closely at the Middle East and you will find more alliances between enemies than with friends. Envy as Robert Greene says is more easily aroused with friends. The fact that we have little or no power over our minds, we would, for the sake of unbridled power, put more trust in enemies than with friends and; would not know how to read the duplicity of enemies cajoling as friends.

Know how to use enemies for your own profit. You must learn to grab a sword not by its blade, which would cut you, but by the handle, which allows you to defend yourself. The wise man profits more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

Baltasar Gracias (1601 – 1658)

Enemies, friends and fools all become strange bed fellows within the enticing, alluring arena of power therefore, we must be the wiser and begin with ourselves in analysing who we are in liaison with to achieve the means of all that we have and more. If you find yourself in a situation of an unholy alliance, its time to get out because if you don’t the rot high above becomes the normal and; you will never have the common sense to see the evil clandestine iniquitousness that is masqueraded as deals and accords. Until we don’t teach ourselves and be models of good leadership for our children and those under our influence, the wickedness of strange bed fellows will forever plague our world and it will be the horror we don’t want. What we want is with within reach because it was established and became the hallmark of excellence yet to be matched.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s) and the Four Rightly guided Caliphs is the hallmark of what the world needs today but, its study is important too. In a nutshell, you will find that the hallmark of their excellence is that they underpinned everything on the accountability with Allah, the Supreme whilst the strange bed fellows today have no inkling of accountability to anyone therefore, if we establish the golden hallmark, the next generation of leaders will make alliances and deals where justice is the key to open the doors of peace.

Abdullah Sujee


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