I have recently stumbled upon a quote by Saul Alinsky, and read it way too many times until I finally decided I should probably share it. I find this quote incredibly succinct for the profoundly complex issues it addresses–
“Not at any time. I’ve never joined any organization—not even the ones I’ve organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it’s Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is what Judge Learned Hand described as ‘that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you’re right.’ If you don’t have that, if you think you’ve got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.”
This quote describes a major aspect of my political, social, and philosophical beliefs. I fully support each individual who embarks on an infinite quest to seek whatever knowledge he/she has the capacity to seek, however, I would stop just shy of seeking an ‘absolute truth’ because such a thing is not accessible to non-deity. I believe those who seek out the ‘absolute truth’ are a) wasting their time and everyone else’s b) pursuing an ultimate truth for reasons and motives that cannot possibly be altruistic. As Alinsky states, if you fully believe you are undoubtedly right, you are therefore a subscriber of dogma or ideology and most definitely susceptible to the crimes of the fundamentalist mind.
In matters of faith, I refuse to label my beliefs beyond saying I am a Muslim. Labeling your ‘faith’ or ‘spirituality’ is in and of itself contradictory. Similarly, I reject any political affiliation or aligning my thoughts fully with an organized political agenda. As a Sudanese, I can feel first-hand the effects of political dogma, tribalism and religious sectarianism tearing apart my country, and I want no part of it.
I truly believe the way for Sudanese youth to move forward is for each of us to insist on being independent intellectuals who have aligned goals and visions for our countries, instead of political agendas that define how you should think, yet lack focus on goals and visions. This is especially relevant with our ever expanding diaspora–our educational backgrounds and upbringings are becoming increasingly varied. Our sub-cultures are even further more different. There are felt cultural differences between Sudanese who have been brought up in Sudan, US, England, GCC, or other regions. Instead of succumbing to more divisiveness, I hope that we would agree to rid ourselves of labels, whether tribal or political, and instead divert our attention to our country as a whole, or whatever is left of it, to ensure it remains whole.