Jack White, a Medicine for Egypt
This is a journey to begin the New Year.
Our journey begins with Schiller’s Ode to Joy, which became the lyric of Beethoven’s sublime Ninth Symphony.
It opens with the famous lines:
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium!
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, Dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo Dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
(Joy, beautiful sparkle of the gods
Daughter of Elysium
We enter, fire-drunk,
Heavenly one, your shrine,
Your magic binds again
What custom has clearly parted.
All men become brothers
Where your tender wing hovers.)
Later it goes on:
‘Joy is the name of the strong spring
In eternal nature.
Joy, joy drives the wheels
In the great clock of worlds
She lures flowers from the buds,
Suns out of the firmament,
She rolls spheres in the spaces
That the seer’s telescope does not know.’
‘Freude heißt die starke Feder
In der ewigen Natur,
Freude, Freude treibt die Räder
In der großen Weltenuhr.
Blumen lockt sie aus den Keimen,
Sonnen aus dem Firmament,
Sphären rollt sie in den Räumen,
Die des Sehers Rohr nicht kennt.’
Writing in the classical mode of Ancient Greece, known to all educated Europeans, he called forth the heavenly spirit of Joy, which he saw had disappeared from the world. Champion of freedom and at war with tyranny, Schiller, the life-long friend of the great Muslim poet Goethe, called for joy – knowing that without it the energy of independence could not emerge. This song completed the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s ultimate Hymn to Freedom
The next stop on our journey is the creation of the European Union, designed to lash the nations of Europe into one banking entity, governed by a single usury-paper currency. At its creation, its founder declared – without consulting the masses – that the Anthem of the European Union would be the melody of the last Schiller movement of the Ninth.
They added that Schiller’s Ode to Joy would not be appropriate. But that words might be commissioned later. This, of course, never happened.
Our next stop takes us to the fall of the Berlin Wall when East Germany was re-united to West-Germany, and without plebiscite, into the European Union and the euro currency. In celebration, Bernstein, the American conductor, performed Beethoven’s Ninth.
Without shame Bernstein ordered the word ‘Freude’ to be replaced with the word ‘Freiheit’ – freedom (capitalist style) was to replace Joy. Now Beethoven and Schiller both knew that Joy was the dynamic source of life itself – from which all activity comes – freedom being its result.
Our Shaykh Al-Akbar, Ibn Al-Arabi, identified that dynamic impulse in the stars and the foetus, that life-energy, as being the primal creational manifestation by Allah of the cosmos itself. The Kun of fayakun.
The next stop of this journey takes us to London and Switzerland in mid-twentieth century. At the ghastly ‘Islamic’ Festival in London held by the Jama’at-Islamiyya–Wahhabi–Ikhwan triumvirate I had the good fortune to begin a friendship with Dr Said Ramadan, married to Hassan al-Banna’s daughter. He told me then that his split with the Ikhwan began when he told Maududi that when Qur’an was recited, tears did not come to their eyes. The rift widened when the Ikhwan accepted Saudi funding for a magazine on condition it was named ‘Arabia’. In Switzerland he confided in me, ‘The Russian proletariat never took power, the Party did. The Muslims will not gain power if the Ikhwan Party does.’
In Abu Dhabi the leader of the Ikhwan came to me and requested that our Qadiri people should not perform the ‘Imara (or Hadra) as we had been taught.
He explained – “Let them stand in the circle. You in the centre. But they must not hold hands in the circle but stand each man alone. They must not move. Only you – in the centre – can perform the dance!”
At the time it seemed just an anti-Sufi reform. Only today I realise he was describing the Ikhwan al-Muslimun. It was the Ninth – without Joy.
The next step – only yesterday – came when Al-Mursi declared on TV: ‘There is no such thing as Islamic Democracy – there is only Democracy!’ The little man had crossed over. Now they were the Democratic Brotherhood Party.
It was at this stop that I had to reflect. Reason had been abandoned. Now Fiqh, part of reason, became inaccessible.
The oligarchic Army and Ikhwan had subdued the masses into either an anarchy to be crushed by the Army or a slave population of that same Oligarchy.
What was to be done? Already the masses had proved too weak and divided to act. Freedom – Freiheit – was cut off.
It was then that I reflected on what medically was needed was the pulse of life to re-awaken the spirit.
In America, the helpless slave population of that early capitalism – all freedom denied – knew their first act was to stay alive. To do that – in that mixture of despair and desperation – they sang the blues.
My remedy for the Egyptian masses is to inject them with the wild life-impulse of the blues.
What I am proposing is that revitalising shock that is used for cardiac resuscitation when the patient’s heart has stopped.
In the land of Guantanamo, legal torture, rendition, drones on unseen enemies, murdering schoolchildren and bankers’ totalitarian mastery – standing uniquely against it – is the old pulse of slave blues.
My remedy is – for the Egyptian young to sweep away the misery and stasis of the Ikhwan – the band of Jack White. One night in Tahrir Square and the Ikhwan will collapse.
Check it out on YouTube: “Jack White and the Voodoo Experience – full concert.”
It is also a perfect remedy to abolish both the Iranian Mullahs and the Burkha.
Once open again to their spiritual energy we can invite them to contemplate what still remains a hopeless impossibility – to recognise that pieces of paper with numbers on them are not wealth – and therefore the ones issuing the paper are magicians and hypocrites. At that point Islam emerges – one half worship of the Divine and the other half exchange contracts of real value commodities and currencies.
Joy to the one who has taken the way of the dhikr of Allah.
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