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Test of our Moral Character

‘You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and your personal selves; and shall certainly hear much that will grieve you……..but if you persevere patiently and guard against evil – then that will be the determining factor in all affairs’ (Quran 3: 186)

Morality, integrity and upright conduct and behaviour are held in high esteem by all people in their customs, traditions and behaviour in all religions. But regrettably in this day and age many of us seem to be ‘pushing’ them away and placing them to the ‘rear’.

Despite the fact that these are a fundamental part of the Message of all the Prophets of The Almighty (peace be upon them all), so much so that the last of the Prophets – Muhammad (pbuh) – said: “I was sent (specifically) to perfect good moral character.”

Morality and moral character and behaviour is something that we all ‘agree’ with but regrettably in today’s world many of us seem to be putting this aside. You find that even those who campaign against moral character and act immorally and unscrupulously would admittedly speak highly of moral character and admit to its virtue.

No need to make a show

A person might adopt good manners under certain circumstances, simply because they are fundamental or he might do so little by little. Even this is something good. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh): “Knowledge is attained only through learning and gentleness is attained only through being gentle. Whoever is intent on attaining goodness will be given it and whoever keeps away from evil will be spared it.”

However, it is not at all praiseworthy for a person to make a ‘public’ show of good character in order to take advantage of others or win them over for some personal benefit or ulterior motive. The true test of a person’s moral fibre is constancy. This is why the old Arabic saying goes: “You see the true character of people when you travel with them.”

First test of moral character

A person’s true character shows forth when he is at home in how he deals with his wife through the long years, during hardship and ease, when things are going well and when things go wrong. This is where he has to hold himself together and where his patience is tested. His ability to keep clear of pride and arrogance, to remain gentle and tolerant, and to exhibit good conduct are all tested during his married life and his family life.

The same can be said regarding friendships when a person is constant and sincere regardless of the ever changing circumstances. How often does a person see his friend as the one whom he can rely on in need, only to find that “friend” adds to his hardships when that time of need arrives? Long term acquaintance and association reveal how shallow and superficial a person’s moral character really is.

The test of power

There is another important test of moral character that shows how true or false a person’s morals are, and that is the test of power. A person who is weak might exhibit good moral conduct and present a passive, gentle personality and character. He does not do so because it is part of his nature, but simply because he does not have the power to behave in any other way.

An Arab poet once said: ‘Oppression is human nature, so if you find someone abstaining from it, there is some reason why’. These words also echo what was said by Aristotle who said: “Oppression is part of human nature. Only one of two reasons withholds people from it: religiousness or fear of reprisal.”

When a person is in a position of strength, then his true moral character shows forth. If a person who attains power, wealth, or prestige continues to uphold his moral values, maintains his affection for others, remains humble, and shows mercy and kindness to those who ‘ill’ treat him, this is a sign of the true decency of his character and the true goodness of his person. Alas, how often do we find people who are not corrupted by power, fame, and sudden wealth?

How to behave in disagreement?

A third test of moral character is disagreement. Most people exhibit good conduct with those who agree with them and share their way of thinking, on account of their common interests. However, when differences arise, whether ideological or material, people tend to expose their true selves.

A person of dignity and good character will remain composed and sensible. He will express and express his disagreements in a clear and precise manner. Moreover, he will be respectful when doing so and avoid accusatory, insulting, and offensive language.

His moral character will prevent him from conducting himself in a mean and lowly fashion, so he will be able to retain his composure while talking to others, in spite of his disagreement with them. He will not react emotionally in a way that detracts from his character and merely demonstrates his inability to prevail on the strength of his opinion.

However some of us in the same situation, will start cursing and hurling accusations at our opponents, acting as if only we are right and everyone else is wrong. Our misplaced anger will destroy the ‘face’ of our good character. We may go so far to invent and create lies and make false claims. We might even resort to deceptive arguments to make our opponents stumble and deliberately take the words of others out of context.

People like to say that disagreements do not spoil their interpersonal relationships and it is good that they say so, but what really counts is how they conduct themselves in actual practice, not just in theory. “And do not let the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just. That is nearer to piety.” (Quran 5: 8)

We must learn how to translate our moral values and principles from ‘theory’ into a practical way of life, into something that endures in our hearts, minds and actions throughout our lives and our relationships, no matter how long they last.

They must be values that stay with us even if we become powerful ‘big shots’ or attain to high administrative office, or a prominent media spot, or social prestige, or success in business. We must learn to tolerate even when we disagree with one another, so we do not have to be always faced with the choice of either destroying our relationships or remaining silent whenever we disagree or see someone making a mistake.

Morality is the foundation of our life.

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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
Samson

… 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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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