Happy Birthday, Dear Rumi by Tarık Günersel

Happy Birthday, Dear Rumi by Tarık Günersel

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You were a star in your lifetime, now you are a galaxy.

You are a part of the air we breathe.

You are an expanding universe in our world, our worlds.

You were and are a treasure.

A treasure in a hidden cave. Caves.

When we say, “Open, sesame, open,” we see you.

When we say, “Open, o words of Rumi, open.” 

When we see you, we see us, ourselves

-not only lively constructiveness

but also destructiveness. We feel and think.

We feel-think the misery of the oppressed,

aware that we might also become oppressors.

Belief is not a friend of truth. Doubt is.

Belief and truth are different.

It is easy to be a believer. We feel sure, 

comfortable, protected.

Some of us believe they are with God

and God is with them. So they order

the barbers: “You will not shave beards!”

They destroy paintings. They forbid music

in the name of Islam. Against gender equality,

they claim: 

“Women must cover their faces;

 girls and boys cannot study together.”

They assume these are good rules.

When did such a man choose to be a Muslim? 

Not a democratic Muslim, but an oppressive one.

A baby is born into a group, learning their thoughts, 

assumptions called beliefs, and ways of doing things.

There are different ‘normals’ in our world.

So we need to get together, learn from each other.

That is why philosophy and science are fruitful, 

literature is life, music and all the other arts are vital. 

That is why meetings are important -such as this webinar 

organized by the Forum of Secular Bangladesh,

led by our dear friend Shahriar Kabir- 

creating energy, synergy

for the present, the future, our lives,

the lives of the babies on the way.

That is why Rumi is a galaxy in our universe.

That is why we say,

Happy Birthday, dear Rumi.

Your birthday is our re-birth day.

May it become the re-birth day of all the believers 

who use violence.

May religions become free from hate and oppression.

Each religion is a goalpath, there is a goal and a path.

Dear Earthmates, we know that

not every goalpath is a religion.

The goalpath I have chosen is solidarity for a better life.

My ethical code is plain and simple:

“I, too, am on this planet; 

  I, too, am responsible.”

So I call myself an Earth Civilization volunteer.

May all people be free from dogmatism.

Let’s be light in dark times.

Let’s unite with our differences, open to changing.

Let’s construct an Earth Civilization,

equipped with Rumi, Hypatia, Lao Tzu,

and other sources of wisdom.

What gravity is for planets, love is for living beings.

Dear Earthmates,

may life become a joyful adventure for all,

without fear from each other, 

with concern, without exploitation.

May this gathering lead to re-births, 

      not as repetition but as development.

And may tomorrow’s happy children sing:

It was such a dark period that 

not even lightning was allowed. Then good powers united:

Lightning did flash, thunder did roll, and rain

brought fertility to the oppressed, healed the cruel.

30 September 2021

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