Ubuntu - African Philosophy
The word 'Ubuntu' originates from one of the Bantu dialects of Africa, and is pronounced as uu-Boon-too.
It is a traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation with the world. According to Ubuntu, there exists a common bond between us all and it is through this bond, through our interaction with our fellow human beings, that we discover our own human qualities. Or as the Zulus would say, "Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu", which means that a person is a person through other persons. We affirm our humanity when we acknowledge that of others.
The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as:
"It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of Ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them."
....For many Africans, while they may belong to different societies and have different traditions and rituals, Ubuntu usually has a strong religious meaning. In general, the African belief is that your ancestors continue to exist amongst the living in the form of spirits and they are your link to the Divine Spirit. If you are in distress or need, you approach your ancestors' spirits and it is they who will intercede on your behalf with God. Therefore it is important to not only venerate your ancestors, but to, eventually, yourself become an ancestor worthy of veneration. For this, you agree to respect your community's rules, you undergo initiation to establish formal ties with both the current community members and those that have passed on, and you ensure harmony by adhering to the Ubuntu principles in the course of your life.
...Political Aspect of Ubuntu:
Since the downfall of Apartheid in South Africa, Ubuntu is often mentioned in the political context to bring about a stronger sense of unity.
...."The principle of caring for each other’s well-being will be promoted, and a spirit of mutual support fostered. Each individual’s humanity is ideally expressed through his or her relationship with others and theirs in turn through a recognition of the individual’s humanity. Ubuntu means that people are people through other people. It also acknowledges both the rights and the responsibilities of every citizen in promoting individual and societal well-being."
....Social Aspect of Ubuntu:
Still, as they say, the good points outweigh the shortcomings.
Given the vast racial, cultural, religious, educational, and socio-economic differences apparent not just in South-African society but the world over currently, the concept of Ubuntu is really rather relevant. It is far too easy to go into the 'us and them' mode. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of judging a different people by our standards or by sticking to certain established stereotypical notions. If you instead regard someone as a fellow human being, all individual quirks and differences taken into account, there is perhaps a greater chance of achieving understanding.
And, achieving understanding is important and necessary, because, like it or not, we are all interconnected. What hurts you could one day come around and hurt me. What benefits me, if I'm not too selfish about it, could make a crucial difference in your life. And knowing you could bring a world of meaning and interest in mine.
It is not perfect, however. Ubuntu – which stresses on allowing every individual to have their equal say in any discussion and on ultimately reaching an agreement acceptable to all – could lead to conformist behavior in order to achieve solidarity....
Ubuntu: An African Assessment of the Religious Other
The decolonization of Africa, of which the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa is the most recent example, has led to a greater recognition of the wide variety of religions practising on its soil. When confronted with this plurality, and the corresponding plurality of claims to truth or credibility, believers often resort to absolutism. The absolutist evaluates the religious other in view of criteria which violate the self-understanding of the latter. ....Ubuntu (a Zulu word) serves as the spiritual foundation of African societies. It is a unifying vision or world view enshrined in the Zulu maxim umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, i.e. "a person is a person through other persons" (Shutte, 1993:46). At bottom, this traditional African aphorism articulates a basic respect and compassion for others. It can be interpreted as both a factual description and a rule of conduct or social ethic.
....amily. Dying is an ultimate homecoming. Not only the living must therefore share with and care for each other, but the living and the dead depend on each other ....Ubuntu underscores the importance of agreement or consensus. African traditional culture, it seems, has an almost infinite capacity for the pursuit of consensus and reconciliation ....However, the desire to agree, which—within the context of Ubuntu—is supposed to safeguard the rights and opinions of individuals and minorities, is often exploited to enforce group solidarity. Because of its extreme emphasis on community, Ubuntu democracy might be abused to legitimize what Sono calls the "constrictive nature" or "tyrannical custom" of a derailed African culture, especially its "totalitarian communalism" which "...frowns upon elevating one beyond the community"
Muslims team up with Marxists for D.C. protest
A radical anti-war coalition is joining forces with a U.S. Islamic lobby organization to stage a demonstration in front of the White House to protest "the current predicament of Muslims abroad and at home."
A.N.S.W.E.R., a coalition led by socialist and communist activists, and Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation are co-sponsoring the "National Emergency March" Aug. 12 at Lafayette Park at 12 noon.