Friday, May 09, 2008

Canadian Ismaili Games - Diversity is Strength...

Zee's notes: The CIG's were not only a celebration of sport but I think moreso it brought the community together in ways we can not imagine. If you consider first the diversity of the regions and then move it up a notch as to the diversity of the countries we all came from it boggles the mind as to the oneness of the Ismaili Community. MHI keeps reminding us that Diversity is Strength and these games brought home this point. I met Ismailis not only from the different provinces but from many different countries and the punch line is that at the end of the day it is good to be an Ismaili.

On Sunday standing at the famous line up for the BBQ (I have a story on that too in a few days) I stood next to 3 youngsters from Quebec and they were all speaking French - fluently. One of the boys I found out was from Kabul, Afghanistan. He told me his family had moved to Germany many years ago and he spoke fluent German as well. Then I asked him what he did in Montreal - well he is in Law School.
Another youngster I met, also from Afghanistan, has a different story but no less interesting. This young man since an early age - 20 I believe - had to be the breadwinner of a family of 6 - including his parents - and he worked 2 jobs for 5 years teaching himself to sleep 3-4 hours a day so he could pay the rent and put food on the table. Anyway he managed to save enough money to buy a small body shop where he continued to work his tail off and as he said to me 'With MHI's blessings' managed to snare a painting contract with one of the larger Taxi outfits in town though he still sleeps 3 hours a day.

The punch line here is this: If you give a man the opportunity - the world is his oyster provided he is ready to work for it. Just as 35 years ago when a group of refugees were given an opportunity for a new life in a new country and they took the bull by the horn and made it work for them - so history now gives us a new set of immigrants this time from the other corner of the world taking on the same challenge - my father keeps reminding me that the vision is not of a decade or a generation but of centuries - that is the legacy he says we must remember in this year of the Golden Jubilee - I can only be in awe...

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