after a couple of years of thinking about it, i've finally set up my own blog, and here is my first post.
it's a bit of a scary step to have my thoughts put down in writing, and out there for the world to see, and in a pretty permanent way. i know millions of people are doing it, but will still take a little while for me to get used to.
anyway, first of all, why i chose the name stargazer. it's mostly because my name (anjum) is persian and means stars. (i used to say that i was just a heavenly body, but unfortunately that is no longer true. childbearing will do that to you!) it's also because i think it's important to spend time in your life just thinking, daydreaming if you will. it's that kind of activity that leads to brilliant or quirky ideas, that helps people to develop a vision, or to solve problems. one of the benefits of gazing at the stars is that it reminds us of how spectularly small this planet is, and how spectacularly small each one of us is in relation to it. a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, as douglas adams wrote (ok, not a great philosopher, but the phrase stays in my mind). for egotistical beings (as most humans are), it's a great way to keep things in perspective. and finally, looking at the stars is a way of focusing on the beauty of our universe, our planet and our own lives. at times when so much is ugly, it's a good way to remember that not everything is bad.
this is not to say that my posts will be full of enlightenment, although i wish it were so. i am of course limited by my own capabilities and by the life i lead, which tends to be pretty busy. nonetheless, i hope you'll find something of value.
on to more practical things. just read an article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22767392/ (sorry, i can't do those link thingies properly). it's about mr obama going all out to convince voters that he is not a muslim terrorist in disguise, planning to destroy america. he feels the need to do this because of emails and stuff on the internet making all sorts of claims about him. so, to counter this, he has chosen to aggressively display his christian credentials - you can see the details in the article.
what he doesn't do, as far as i can see, is ever say "even if i were a muslim, that doesn't make me a terrorist, or a person who is bad for america if elected". he never takes the trouble to affirm that muslims are mostly good citizens, who have plenty to contribute. by countering the claims that he, for example, was sworn in on the quran by stating firmly that he was sworn in on the bible, he embeds the notion that being sworn in on the quran is bad or somehow wrong. what i would like to hear him say is "actually, i was sworn in on the bible, but if i was sworn in on the quran, so what? it wouldn't make me less american than anyone else."
ok, maybe i'm being naive. the guy wants to be elected, and needs to say what the voters want to hear. and they currently want to hear that he's a committed christian, muslims being personae non grata in america. but then he also says that he won't just say anything to get elected. being from a minority that has been discriminated against for centuries in america, one would hope that he would stand up for other minorities. i'd like to hear him talk about the positive values that he gained from his father & step-father, and how they helped shape who he is. instead, you get the sense that he is a little ashamed of his past and would rather de-emphasise it.
i must say that i haven't followed his campaign closely, i haven't read what he says widely, so there may be occasions where he does take the trouble to do this. who knows. but at this stage, he fails to inspire me.