Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Cinta di Langit Gaza

I have one requirement when it comes to memoirs: they must be riveting. Memoirs are about things that happen, described as best as the author can recall. The best are the ones that make us want to read on.

Cinta di Langit Gaza by Riduan Mohamad Nor fortunately fulfils that requirement. An Islamic NGO activist, Riduan has set foot in many countries, in particular places where Muslims are in need.

Although we Malaysians pride ourselves as a caring and concerned society, activism and volunteer work have never been our strongest traits. We tend to expect the Government to take responsibility for helping people, whether it's the hardcore poor or the people in unfortunate circumstances. Well, I'm pointing the fingers at myself as well, because God knows how much (how little, actually) I've contribute to the well-being of my fellow citizens. In developed countries, the public often rally their resources together to help persons in need without waiting for government handouts. In this respect we Muslims have a lot to learn from Westerners about helping others because they are doing a better job of following the examples of Rasulullah S.A.W. and the Sahabah R.A.

Reading about the situation in Palestine, Indonesia, Pakistan and a few other countries really made me think about how much work needs to be done in order to help Muslims live a reasonably comfortable life. People in Gaza for instance are living in a condition that seem hopeless to some, while being ignored by the neighbouring Muslim countries. The Israeli regime is systematically making life difficult for them by controlling the borders and restricting the access to necessities such as food, medicine and fuel. Riduan paints a vivid picture of what he saw over there, including his visit to the As Shifa Hospital where patients occupy their free time by reading the Quran and zikr.

As a memoir, Cinta di Langit Gaza, opens up a window into the lives of the activists who risk their lives to help others. It's not glamourous life for sure, just ask Dr Bubbles, another activist that I ran into at a gathering (he didn't introduce himself to me as Dr Bubbles, another person told me he was him). May Allah reward them for their sacrifice and selflessness.

In terms of presentation, the book is very nicely put together, despite being published independently. The cover is certainly eye-catching.

The only issue I wish to raise is the editing. And I raise this issue because I believe this book can inspire many people, especially the younger generation. The content could've been better organised, in my opinion, putting together experiences in a particular location under one specific section. And of course, an index would be big help to readers.

I wonder if it's proper to say that I enjoyed this book, a book about Muslims living in adverse conditions, conditions that are too different from that one I'm living in. While I'm sitting at my desk typing this post, somebody in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Cambodia could be lying down on a dusty ground, fighting off hunger and thirst, with no idea whether he or she will live long enough to see tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more specific than somewhere else, thanks.

- Norman

r.o.l. said...

Hope you enjoyed the discussion, Norman :-)

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