We continue with the series where we remember those of our heroes and heroines who, though unwanted by government, made immense contributions to the legacy we will be celebrating this year. This week we discuss Baledzi Gaolathe who passed away on 25th May 2010 in Johannesburg, aged 68 years old after three major surgeries. It would later be known that he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.
In remembering Gaolathe’s contributions to this country we shall not pretend that he was without blemish. Blemishes he may have had and such will be exposed in as much as his virtues will be exposed. Yet, emphasis will be made that his blemishes notwithstanding he deserves a place in our country’s history. He at least deserves a mention when we celebrate fifty years of independence.
To some, the suggestion that Gaolathe was unwanted by government is absurd considering that he worked for government, served as government minister, including in the key Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, and also was appointed Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force which delivered the Vision 2016 blue print.
Yet, it is true that, at least towards the end of his life, he was not on President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s good books. He was removed from the ministry he served for almost the rest of his life, Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, and appointed Minister of Trade & Industry, a junior ministry.
Not only that. The way he was removed from cabinet was discourteous to say the least. According to an article in the Sunday Standard edition of 31st January 2010 “ …
Gaolathe was slapped with a letter from President Khama by Permanent Secretary to the President, Eric Molale,…, at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg right on his sick bed.
The letter informed Gaolathe that he had been dropped from cabinet and that Khama was in the process of filling the vacancy.”
The article further states that “… according to sources, Molale delivered the letter to Gaolathe on Thursday just a day after Gaolathe was released from Intensive Care Unit.
Gaolathe is now in the general wards from where he is still recuperating. Molale arrived the day after Gaolathe was released from ICU… Why couldn’t they send someone more senior like the VP, said a close family friend who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
As if that was not enough desecration of this great man’s name, it was also reported that during Gaolathe’s funeral the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) held some event in Maun and instead of attending his funeral many attended the event. If this is true, the BDP did what in Setswana is referred to as “go mmina phuphu”, meaning that the BDP danced on Gaolathe’s grave.
If this version of events is true there is no doubt that indeed Gaolathe was unwanted by government or President Khama, at least towards the end of his life. But, why would a man who served government with such distinction for the rest of his life not have been wanted by the very government or by President Khama?
Before we answer this question we need to make a brief exposition of Gaolathe’s life. According to Remembered.co.za, “Baledzi Gaolathe was born on 4th March 1942 to Gaolathe Dadanaye and Gasemotho Phati Ndaba in Nkange. During his younger years, Gaolathe accompanied his father with his carpentry duties. His father passed away when he was still very young.”
Gaolathe valued education. According to Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) news on 7th June 2010 “… he started his primary school education in 1952 at Changate and moved to Maitengwe in 1955 for a short spell to Maun in 1957 and finally to Francistown where he completed his Standard Six School leaving certificate in 1958.”
The report further states that “… he then proceeded to Moeng College in 1959 for his secondary school education where he completed Junior Certificate in 1961 and Cambridge Overseas School Leaving Certificate in 1963 before going to the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland (UBLS) in 1964 where he obtained a Bachelor of Science (Bsc) Degree with a concurrent Certificate in Education in 1967”.
BOPA also reports that “… Gaolathe later obtained a Bsc in Economics as an external student of the University of London in 1973 and a Master of Arts in Economics (in National Development and Project Planning) at Bradford University in England.
Thereafter, Gaolathe had a forty-two year illustrious and almost blemishless career as a public servant. He joined the public service in 1968 as an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Water Affairs at the age of 26 and was promoted to Under Secretary in the same ministry in 1970.
In 1973 when the new Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs was established, he was appointed its first Permanent Secretary, a position he held for four years. In 1976 he became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, a position he held for sixteen years.
Gaolathe also had an illustrious private sector career as gleaned from Debswana’s tribute to Gaolathe published in Sunday Standard’s edition of 6th June 2010. In 1973 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of DeBeers Botswana Mining Company. In 1974 he was appointed Director of the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company and Diamond Trading Company.
In 1989 former president, Sir Ketumile Masire, awarded Gaolathe a Presidential Order of Honour in recognition of his efficient and devoted service to Botswana. The award citation stated that Gaolathe was also awarded the Order of Honor for his economic planning and financial management of the country.
From 1989 to 1992 Gaolathe served as the Director of De Beers Consolidated Mines. He was also Managing Director for Debswana, Governor of the Bank of Botswana (1997 to 1999) and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC)’s Board member for twenty four years, the longest serving member ever.
As Chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Vision 2016, Gaolathe played a pioneering role during the development and drafting of the Vision 2016 document. Perhaps the highlight of his public service calling was as Minister of Finance & Development Planning during which period Botswana enjoyed unprecedented economic stability and growth.
At the end of his public service career and when his strength had reached his journey’s end he served as Minister of Trade and Industry. But, true to his humility and country commitment and honor he did not decline the appointment despite the fact that he would have been more comfortable as Minister of Finance & Development Planning.
While Minister of Finance & Development Planning, Gaolathe focused on the Development Planning component of the Ministry. Under his leadership, the role of such bodies as the Rural Development Council (RDC), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) was promoted.
Reportedly, Gaolathe did not allow the Office of the President to, merely for political expediency, and in an uncoordinated and unnecessarily expensive manner, implement such strategies that should ordinarily reside in his ministry as the National Poverty Reduction Strategy as well as issues of population development. The United Nations (UN)’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Botswana’s Vision 2016 were a priority under his leadership.
No wonder at his funeral, former President, Festus Mogae, said “… It is a pity that he (Baledzi Gaolathe) did not succeed me as President.” His son, Ndaba Gaolathe, could not have been more right when, in a eulogy to his father, he described him as “a good man, a man of impeccable integrity… a humble and morally upright professional…”
I experienced Gaolathe’s integrity, humility, moral uprightness and professionalism in 2008/9 when I was a member of the RDC to which he was Chairperson. From the NGO side was myself; the late Kgosi Seepapitso IV of BaNgwaketse, Kentse Rammidi, Maria Machailo-Elis, Mr. David Modiega and Mr. Manqa representing the youth, Bogosi, Local Councils, the private sector, NGOs and Land Boards respectively.
Gaolathe would unhesitatingly come to our rescue when we faced the wrath of government officials who often accused some of us of politising issues. I remember a time when there was a project monitoring visit to Masunga, Zwenshambe and Tshesebe villages. He did not take kindly to the fact that after a government bus was engaged to transport the members, many government officials selfishly chose to travel individually, at huge expense, in their official government vehicles.
In Masunga, at Masunga Senior Secondary School where students had reportedly burnt down a hostel, he listened to everybody. He spoke to grounds man, cooks, cleaners, students and teachers alike. He used his mother tongue, Ikalanga, with ease to reach those who were not comfortable with Setswana or English.
During project monitoring visits, which was a priority under his Chairpersonship, Gaolathe would, instead of being driven around at site, walk like all of us. Most of us would easily get tired and complain of the heat, but he never did. He always wanted to do more for everybody. To know that during that time he had just been diagnosed with cancer is touching because it shows that he put the country first, not himself.
His son, Honourable Ndaba Gaolathe, in a tribute to his father said “…he possessed an insatiable appetite to serve, to work for his people and his family. His endurance inspired him, upon return from a trip abroad, to drive directly from the airport to work or meetings until night…”
Ndaba also used the following words to describe his father: humble; pleasant humor; diplomat; stamina and endurance; love for the countryside; a beautiful mind; exquisite negotiator; great achiever; awareness; physically fit; proud of his origins; able leader; a story teller; gracious; and a transformative figure.
No doubt, many Batswana did not experience all these attributes from Gaolathe, not because he did not possess them, but because they only met or interacted with him in ways that made it impossible for them to experience the other attributes. But, Gaolathe had one fault. His fault is that he was too trusting and some government officials took advantage of that to the country’s detriment.
Why then would government or President Khama not have wanted Baledzi Gaolathe, especially towards the end of his life? We may never know the answer because, given his loyalty to the BDP, the government and President Khama, he never spoke of that. Even when he was so unceremoniously removed from cabinet while in hospital in South Africa he never spoke bad about government or President Khama.
Some have suggested that Gaolathe fell out with President Khama because of this opposition to President Khama’s populist pet projects which he advised were unsustainable and would derail our economic growth. He is also said to have crossed roads with his cabinet colleagues when he talked against wasteful spending in ministries and corruption.
Gaolatlhe is indeed a hero who deserves a place in this country’s history. During his funeral, Acting President, Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe said “Mr. Gaolathe was a principled diplomat who commanded a high degree of tolerance and humility. The history of this nation will be incomplete without taking into account the contribution of Baledzi.”
We have come a long way from the 19th century, when mental un-healthiness was not recognised as treatable. In those days mental health problems were viewed as a sign of madness, warranting imprisonment in often merciless and unhygienic conditions; and with that backdrop you would think twice before calling in sick because of stress or admit feelings of hopelessness or depression but that’s changing. That may sound like good news but it’s not.
Reasons why employees don’t show up for work can vary, but one thing is for certain; an organisation relies on its staff to get things done and when employees don’t show up for work it disrupts organisational plans, takes up the valuable time from management and lowers the company’s productivity. It’s always been that people miss work for several reasons, some understandable and legitimate and others less so but it’s important that we know the reasons so that such situations can be better managed.
Today stress is one of the most common causes of long-term absence and is especially prevalent amongst office-based staff. This is also related to absence due to depression or anxiety. Is this indicative of where we are as a society, a sign of the times which is that people are constantly pressurised and have less work-life balance?
The British Museum houses a tablet which provides a peek into work-life balance in ancient Egypt. It documents how many sick days and why 40 workers took time off from their workplace in 1250 BC. All sorts of fascinating reasons have been given for why people were away from their work, including a note about someone named Buqentuf, who needed time off for embalming and wrapping the corpse of his dead mother.
There were other reasons like some workers, such as a man named Pennub, missed work because their mothers were ill. Others had causes that we wouldn’t expect to hear as often today, such as men who stayed home to help around the house due to a “wife or daughter bleeding” – a reference to menstruation. But no mention of mental health, not because it didn’t exist, but it wasn’t labelled thus not reported.
What was reported was a person such as Aapehti who was said to have been ill on a regular basis and also took time off when he was “making offerings to god”. Workers also took days off when they had to perform tasks for their superiors – which was apparently permitted in moderate amounts. For example, Amenmose was allowed time away from work when he was “fetching stones for the scribe: And what about other employees who had to excuse themselves from work to brew beer, an activity which was associated with some of their gods and rituals.
All fascinating stuff which provides insight into life at that time. But what insights can we gather from today’s sick leave records? One study recently undertaken gives us insight into the UK police force’s absenteeism. Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from police forces in the UK showed that the number of days absent due to mental health problems increased by 9% in one year, from 457,154 in 2020 to 497,154 in 2021.
And here is the shocker. Police have taken a record 500,000 days off due to mental health issues. Zoe Billingham, a former police inspector, suggested there was a greater prevalence of mental health issues among emergency services, due to what they faced during the pandemic of coronavirus. “Police and other frontline services have protected us during the pandemic,” she said. “The pandemic was a great unknown. People were really scared of dying and coming into contact with the virus, and a lot of people did.”
It is a ‘mental health epidemic’ among police. Alistair Carmichael, Home Affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Frontline police officers do an incredible job serving their communities. But we know that the stress of policing can take a heavy toll on the mental health of officers, in some cases leading to burnout.
Let’s look at another group. A poll by Gallup reported that in the last three years, 75% of young adults aged 18–22 have left their jobs because of stated mental health reasons. This study showed that employees (millennials and Gen Z) want employers who care about their wellbeing. Contributing factors to mental health stress centre around increases in uncertainty and include: Hybrid work environments and the side-effects: no socialization, no end time, no feedback, caring for others; changing rules around work often with poor communications & clarity; inconsistency & incompleteness of rule implementation: Uncertainty from these and other factors leads to anxiety and depression.
The real story here is not that burnout, stress, depression and anxiety are becoming the number one reasons for absenteeism but that for a large part they are preventable. We have the data telling us it’s the problem but still organisations are doing very little to proactively manage it. Sure, we have counselling services for staff who are struggling and wellness days to reinforce feelings of wellbeing, but this is not enough.
If we start caring and developing work cultures that do not create unintentional stress through how work gets done, that will go a long way to change the status quo. Simple things like ensuring your culture doesn’t thrive on fire drills and heroics to get things done and that emails do not come with expected responses after hours or over the weekend. If we can stop managers bullying, yelling or losing their cool when there is a performance or customer issue and begin giving people more control over their work – all of these are the kinds of stuff that contribute to weakened mental health and absenteeism.
To sum up, your staff’s stress levels are directly proportional to your business’s absentee levels. Ergo, lowering the former, will also reduce the latter. Stress down, productivity up and everybody wins out.
Contributing factors to mental health stress centre around increases in uncertainty and include: Hybrid work environments and the side-effects: no socialization, no end time, no feedback, caring for others; changing rules around work often with poor communications & clarity; inconsistency & incompleteness of rule implementation: Uncertainty from these and other factors leads to anxiety and depression.
In September 1978, General Atiku, Princess Diana had enrolled for a cookery course. That same month whilst she was staying at her parents’ home in Norfolk, her friends innocently asked about the health of her father John Spencer, the 8th Earl. Hitherto, the Earl’s health had never been a matter of concern but Diana somewhat inscrutably voiced a somewhat portendous outlook. “He’s going to drop down in some way,” she said. “If he dies, he will die immediately; otherwise he’ll survive.”
It came to pass, General. The following day, the telephone bell rang to the news that her father had collapsed in the courtyard of his Althorp Estate residence and that he had been rushed to a nearby hospital after suffering a massive cerebral haemorrhage. The medical prognosis was bleak: Earl Spencer was not expected to survive the night. Writes Andrew Morton in Diana Her True Story: “For two days the children camped out in the hospital waiting-room as their father clung on to life. When doctors announced that there was a glimmer of hope, Raine [second wife] organised a private ambulance to take him to the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queen Square, Central London, where for several months he lay in a coma.”
Raine was so fiercely protective of her beloved husband that she had the nurses see to it that his own children did not come near him in this critical condition in his elitist private room. ‘I’m a survivor and people forget that at their peril,” she would later tell a journalist. “There’s pure steel up my backbone. Nobody destroys me, and nobody was going to destroy Johnnie so long as I could sit by his bed – some of his family tried to stop me – and will my life force into him.” But if Raine had steel in her, General, so did the implacable Spencer children, more so the eldest of them all. “During this critical time,” Morton goes on, “the ill feeling between Raine and the children boiled over into a series of vicious exchanges. There was iron too in the Spencer soul and numerous hospital corridors rang to the sound of the redoubtable Countess and the fiery Lady Sarah Spencer [the Earl’s firstborn child] hissing at each other like a pair of angry geese.”
As Diana had correctly predicted, her father was not destined to die at that juncture but healthwise he was never the same henceforth. First, he suffered a relapse in November that same year and was moved to another hospital. Once again, he teetered on the brink. He was drifting in and out of consciousness and as such he was not able to properly process people who were visiting him, including his own daughters when nurses relented and allowed them in. Even when he was awake a feeding tube in his throat meant that he was unable to speak. Understandably, Diana found it hard to concentrate on the cookery course she had enrolled in a few days before her father suffered his stroke.
But Raine, General, was determined that her husband survive come rain or shine. Morton: “When his doctors were at their most pessimistic, Raine’s will-power won through. She had heard of a German drug called Aslocillin which she thought could help and so she pulled every string to find a supply. It was unlicensed in Britain but that didn’t stop her. The wonder drug was duly acquired and miraculously did the trick. One afternoon she was maintaining her usual bedside vigil when, with the strains of Madam Butterfly playing in the background, he opened his eyes ‘and was back’. In January 1979, when he was finally released from hospital, he and Raine booked into the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane for an expensive month-long convalescence. Throughout this episode the strain on the family was intense.”
Altogether, Earl Spencer had been in hospital for 8 straight months. The lingering effects of the stroke left him somewhat unsteady on his feet when he escorted his daughter down the aisle at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981 for her marriage to the Prince of Wales.
R.I.P. EARL SPENCER
It was not until March 29, 1992, General, that Earl Spencer finally gave up the ghost. He was admitted in hospital for pneumonia but what killed him days later was a heart attack. Rumours of his death actually began to make the rounds the day before he passed on. At the time, Diana was on a skiing holiday in the Austrian Alps along with her estranged hubby Prince Charles and their two kids William and Harry.
When Diana was told of her dad’s death, she insisted that under no circumstances would she return to England on the same flight as Charles, with whom she was barely on talking terms. “I mean it, Ken,” she told her body minder Ken Wharfe. “I don’t want him with me. He doesn’t love me – he loves that woman [Camilla]. Why should I help save his face? Why the bloody hell should I? It’s my father who has gone. It’s a bit bloody late for Charles to start playing the caring husband, don’t you think so?”
Naturally, General, Charles was alarmed, particularly that his efforts to use one of his right-hand-men to reason with the Princess had been rebuffed. He therefore prevailed over Wharfe to try and ram sense into his wife. “Lord Spencer’s death was a major news story,” writes Ken Wharfe, “and if the Prince and Princess did not return to Britain together then nothing, not even compassion for the grief-stricken Diana, would stop the journalists from going for the jugular. The truth about the Waleses would be immediately and blindingly obvious to the most naive journalist … Returning to the Princess’s room, I told her bluntly that this was not a matter for debate. ‘Ma’am, you have to go back with the Prince. This one is not open for discussion. You just have to go with it’.’’
At long last persuaded, General, Diana said, “Okay Ken, I’ll do it. Tell him I’ll do it, but it is for my father, not for him – it is out of loyalty to my father.” But what in truth got Diana to change tack was the intervention of the Queen, who personally called her at Charles’ own request. That, however, General, was only as far as Diana was prepared to play ball: as far as engaging with Charles in conversation was concerned, that was simply inconceivable. “There was an icy silence for the rest of the two-hour journey,” writes Wharfe. “Nothing was said during the entire flight. The Princess did not want to speak to her husband and he, fearing a furious or even hysterical outburst, did not dare even to try to start a conversation. Whatever the discomforts of the journey, however, it was soon clear that the PR spin had worked. The next day it was reported that Prince Charles was at Diana’s side in her hour of need. Yet as soon as the Prince and Princess arrived at Kensington Palace they went their separate ways – he to Highgrove, and she to pay her last respects to her father.”
Lord Spencer was 68 when he died. He was a remote descendant of King Henry VIII.
PRINCE CHARLES FINALLY OWNS UP TO ADULTERY WITH CAMILLA
In June 1994, when Diana and Charles had been separated for exactly one-and-half years, Prince Charles was interviewed in a BBC documentary by Jonathan Dimbleby. The interview was billed as intended to mark Charles’ 25 anniversary as Prince of Wales but it was in truth a not-to-cleverly-disguised riposte to Diana Her True Story, the highly controversial 1992 collaboration between Diana and Andrew Morton.
In the interview, which was watched by 13 million people, Charles, General, openly admitted for the first time that he had committed adultery with Camilla Parker-Bowles, who he hailed as, “a great friend of mine who has been a friend for a very long time and will continue to be a friend for a very long time”. Diana had been requested to feature in the interview alongside her husband but she parried the overture on the advice of her aides, which was spot-on as she would have been greatly embarrassed by her hubby’s unsavoury confession in her own face and on national television.
The Prince’s candid confessional was followed weeks later by a book titled The Prince of Wales: A Biography, which was written by the same Jonathan Dimbleby. The book was even frankier than the interview. In it, Charles put it bluntly that she had never once loved Diana and that he married her only because he was coerced into doing so by his notoriously overbearing father. Charles also made it known that as a child, he had been bullied by his abusive father, virtually ignored by his mother, and persecuted by a wife he portrayed as both spoiled and mentally unstable. Both Diana and his parents were revolted by the bare-knuckle contents of the book though Dana need not have been irked considering that it was she herself who had fired the first salvo in the Morton book.
BASHIR INTERVIEW BODES ILL FOR DIANA
If Diana’s collaboration with Morton was a miscalculation, General, Prince Charles’ Dimbleby interview was equally so. For in November 1995, the wayward Princess hit back with her own tell-all interview on BBC’s current affairs programme called Panorama. “She wanted to get even with Prince Charles over his adulterous confession with the Dimbleby documentary,” writes Paul Burrell, her final butler, in A Royal Duty.
The interview was conducted by journalist Martin Bashir who was attached to BBC, and was watched by 23 million people, conferring it the distinction of having attracted the largest audience for any television documentary in broadcasting history. In the interview, Diana voiced concern about there having been “three of us in this marriage and so it was a bit crowded”, the intruder obviously being Camilla. Diana also gave Charles a dose of his own medicine by confessing to her own adulterous relationship with James Hewitt, of whom she said, “Yes, I adored him, yes, I was in love with him”. Hewitt had at the time documented his affair with Diana in lurid detail in a best-selling book and Diana thought he had ill-conceivedly stabbed her in the back.
And as if to rub salt into the wound, General, Diana cast serious doubts on her husband’s fitness to rule as future King and therefore his eventual accession to the British throne. Unfortunately for her, the interview sealed her fate in so far as her marriage was concerned. “In her headstrong decision to co-operate with Bashir,” says Burrell, “she had never considered, perhaps naively, the implications that Panorama had for her marriage.” Indeed, just four weeks after the interview, the Queen, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote personally to both the Prince and Princess of Wales requesting that they divorce sooner rather than later.
It was a dream-come-true for at least two parties to the triangle, namely Charles and Camilla. But did it also constitute music to the ears of Princess Diana too, General?
SOWING THE WIND ONLY TO REAP THE WHIRLWIND: Martin Bashir interviews Princess Diana in a BBC documentary which aired on Monday 29 November 1995. The interview incensed the Windsors: the following month, Queen Elizabeth ordered Charles and Diana to sever matrimonial ties. In her vengeful resolve to hit back at her husband following his own interview the previous year, Diana had foolishly sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind.
Islam is a way of life completed and perfected by the last and final Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Holy Quran along with the practical teachings of the Prophet (pbuh) forms the basis of Islamic law, social, economic and political systems of Islam – in short the basis of a complete code of conduct for the entire life of a Muslim
Regrettably in this day and age there are certain views in non-Muslims that have a very negative ‘view’ of Islam. The bottom line is that if a Muslim says that two plus two is four, others can ‘argue’ to say three plus one is four, or two times two is four or the square root of 16 is four. The bottom line is no matter what we may think we all are ‘correct’. The fact is that we are all on this earth for a ‘limited’ time. Regardless of beliefs, tribe, race, colour or our social standing in life, we will all die one day or the other and we will “all” be called up thereafter to answer for our behaviour, beliefs, and our life on this earth.
To a Muslim the Holy Quran is the Divine Revelation which is all encompassing and lays down in clear terms, how we should live our daily lives including the need for humans to allow fellow humans certain basic rights at all times. Due to the limited space available I can only reflect on some of the major fundamental rights laid down by Islam:
Right to life
The first and foremost of fundamental basic human-rights is the right to life. “Whosoever kills any human being (without any valid reason) like manslaughter or any disruption and chaos on earth, it is though he had killed all the mankind. And whoever saves a life it is though as he had saved the lives of all mankind” (Quran Ch5: v 32). It further declares: “Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due process of law” (Quran Ch6: v 151). Islam further explains that this sacrosanct right to life is not granted only to its adherents (believers), but it has been granted to all human beings without consideration of their religion, race, colour or sex
Right to Equality
The Holy Quran recognises equality between humans irrespective of any distinction of nationality, race, colour or gender. “O Mankind We have created you from a male and female, and We made you as nations and tribes so that you may be able to recognise each other (not that you may despise each other). Indeed the most honourable among you before God is the most God-conscious”. (Quran Ch49: v 13). The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) further explained this: “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab…… You are all the children of Adam and Adam was created from soil”. If there is any superiority for a man it is based on his piety, righteousness, sense of responsibility and character. Even such a person with these noble qualities would not have any privileged rights over others.
Right to justice
Allah Almighty has bestowed on all human beings, believer or non-believer, friend or foe the right to justice. The Holy Quran states: “We sent our messengers with clear teachings and sent down along with them the Book and the Balance so that society may be established on the basis of justice” (Quran Ch 57 : v 25). It further says “O Believers stand for the cause of God and as witness to justice and remember that enmity of some people should not lead you to injustice. Be just as it is nearest to God consciousness” (Quran Ch 5:v 8 ). This makes it obligatory that a believer must uphold justice in all circumstances, including to his enemies.
Right to freedom of conscience and religion
The Holy Quran clearly mentions that there is no compulsion in accepting or rejecting a religion. “There is no compulsion in (submitting to) the religion” (Quran Ch 2 : v 256). Every individual has been granted basic freedom to accept a religion of his or her choice. Therefore no religion should be imposed on a person.
Right to personal freedom
No person can be deprived of his or her personal freedom except in pursuance of justice. Therefore there cannot be any arbitrary or preventive arrest without the permission of duly appointed judge and in the light of a solid proof.
Right to Protection of Honour
Every person has been ensured basic human dignity which should not be violated. If someone falsely attacks the honour of a person the culprit will be punished according to the Islamic Law. The Holy Quran says: “Do not let one group of people make fun of another group”. It further states: “Do not defame one another”, the Quran goes on to say: And do not backbite or speak ill of one another” (Quran Ch 49 : v 11-12).