Introducing Mirze Alekber Sabir to Britain

Mirze Alekber Sabir

(Shamakhi 30.05.1862 – Shamakhi 15.07.1911)

During his life, Mirze Alekber Sabir made and sold soap to earn a living. However, he was the founder of humourous poetry and revolutionary satire in Azerbaijan, as well as in Near Eastern Literature. His radically democratic poetry, with its social realism, nationalistic character, and modernist outlook, played a big part in the progress of Azeri culture and political thought. Indeed, Alekber Tahirzade from the region of Shirvan came to hold positions of honour after his death. Sabir was his nickname meaning “patience” or “patiently”. This is telling, when we remember that his father was a devote muslim, who had a little grocer shop in Shamakhi city, and wanted his son to be a confessor. That’s why, he sent the young Sabir to an ecclesiastical Moslem school, when he was eight. Now, the first duty of pupils at this school was to learn reading the Koran. Yet, he hadn’t finished reading the Koran, before he learned writing. Due to this, he was badly beaten by his mullah.

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Pagans, Socialists and Humanism

king_arthur

A few evenings ago, I watched the revisionist film version of the King Arthur story; starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. Interestingly, even in this remake of the life of Briton’s national hero, the theme of Freedom was paramount. Indeed, in poetry, as well as legend, the tales told about this 6th Century patriot are revealing. He seems to have been a man who wore his kingship very well. He also seems to have been a warrior who fought to defend his people, his Country and his friends against violent invaders: qualities which are too often lacking in 21st Century politics; social attributes sadly still unknown in some countries and nation states.

However, I do not wish to discuss the retelling of this ancient legend, but talk about one of the topics raised by this film; the subject of nature warship commonly called “Paganism.” Continue reading

What Makes Us Truly Human?

aleister-crowley1According to the free-thinker and magician Aleister Crowley, the powers of light would never ask any human being to bow before them. Indeed, according to this radical thinker, slavery is as far away from these spirits as the stars are from this Earth. All of which raises the question of what it means to be both religious and human. But there is the problem. Perhaps it is not possible to have a religion and fully human freedom. After all, religion tends to cause more harm than good. What is more, organised religions have been the greatest instruments for intolerance, warfare and ignorance. Also, they stop human progress, and limit the freedom of thought in every nation throughout the centuries. Perhaps that is why the powerful as well as the rich use religion to control and frighten their own people.

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