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Iqbal Ebrahim

In any culture or society, the quality of forgiveness, is welcome and is considered a sign of generosity. It brings about peaceful human interaction, love and reduces resentment, hatred and misunderstandings in our personal relationships with others.
Forgiveness is an admired trait among people be it our family, friends or acquaintances especially those whom we consider to be ‘above’ us, be it in age, position or any other station in life.

According to the Islamic teachings, we have to aspire to internalize the sublime qualities of compassion, love, mercy, forgiveness and so on. For peace in our lives we must try to be compassionate, loving, merciful, and forgiving, among those traits.

Such individuals, who are by nature forgiving, get more respect from those around them and therefore prove to be more respected and liked. The Quran has stressed this quality many times as a necessary ingredient in the smooth functioning of society.

‘Praised are they who restrain their anger and pardon the faults of others; and God loves those who do good to others’ (Quran 3:134). And: ‘But forgive them and overlook their misdeeds, for Allah loves those who are kind’ (Quran 5:13)

Take a moment to reflect on life in general.  Ever wonder what life would be like if our family and friends never forgave us for the mistakes we made? Each one of us, at one point or another in our lives has made mistakes or have had an experience that made us frustrated, upset, resentful, or angry. The source of that might have been wittingly or unwittingly the words or actions of a family member or friend, or the words or actions of a stranger.

Not only that, the world is full of enmity and hatred simply because very few people are willing to admit that they have wronged others through their words, actions or inactions. It is time that we ‘own up’ as it were to bring back that human trait of forgiveness.  

What type of person are you? Do you see yourself usually more on the apologizing side or are you the one waiting for an apology from others? Let us try to forget about all of those times when we felt someone else should have been asking you for forgiveness but did not get around to it. Forget about all of those times when you felt you deserved an apology but was not forthcoming. This is not about others, it is about you. It is about you making an intentional and a deliberate decision and choice to embrace forgiveness as a way of life.

Sometimes we may even feel that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, on the contrary, it is a sign of strength of character and mind. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has taught us that exercising self-restraint, especially in situations where we would be justified to exact retribution, is an ideal to which every believer should aspire. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.’  

Islam urges forgiveness, but also recommends that we go a step further, by doing good to the people who have wronged us. This is the rationale offered by the Quran in this matter: ‘The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is good, then lo! He, between whom and thee there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a bosom friend.’ (Quran 41:34). According to the above quotation from the Holy Quran, The emphasis is on forgiveness rather than compensation for a wrongdoing.

From the above the virtue of forgiveness is seen to be beneficial. Islam avoids extremes like tooth for tooth, but rather urges turning the other cheek as a more balanced and practical approach. The objective is to provide the maximum good for the largest group of people.

The Bible also urges the same: ‘You have heard it said that an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you……whomsoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’. (Mat 5: 38 – 39)

Islam permits retaliation commensurate with the extent of wrong done to an individual, but it encourages forgiveness as the more appropriate choice. A forgiving attitude strengthens social ties. ‘The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto in degree; but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah; for Allah does not love those who do wrong.’ 

(Quran 42: 40). ‘If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, that is indeed the best for those who are patient. And you be patient, for your patience is from Allah; nor grieve over them; and do not distress yourself because of their plots, for Allah is with those who restrain themselves and those who do good.’ (Quran 16: 126 – 128).

One obstacle to being forgiving is our tendency to hold a grudge against people because our internal pride does not allow us to be the first to say ‘I am sorry’, ‘I forgive you’, or, ‘let bygones be bygones’. But sometimes holding his grudge ends up being years spent apart from a family member or a friend. The question to ask then is: What do we gain by holding a grudge and not wanting to forgive? What could be so painful to us that we are unwilling to give the person who hurt us a second chance. 

Can we not find it in our hearts to forgive our family and friends and to strive to strengthen and bring peace into family and friendship? Learning to be forgiving is not something one can achieve overnight. It takes a lifetime of practice and reflects the height of self-restraint.

Are you ready to incorporate forgiveness as a way of life?  Are you up to the challenge? Who will be the first person you e-mail, text or call to tell them that he or she is forgiven? Who will you walk up to and say, ‘Listen, I'm sorry for holding a grudge against you for so long.’ Imagine how relieved you will feel knowing that you are no longer carrying around with you the burden of anger and frustration. Knowing that you have released all of that negative energy from your body will be refreshing and make it easier for you to be forgiving of others and to be forgiven by others.  

‘But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs’. (Quran 42: 43)
Do not feel ashamed to forgive and forget. Do not get angry and lose your temper quickly over the mistakes and failures of others. On the contrary, be patient and sympathetic with them. Anger and desire for vengeance are a never ending cycle.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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