Monday, 22 April 2013

Moments of Glory.

We all have our moments of glory I suppose - the one point in our lives when we feel really proud of something we have done.  In can be something as ordinary and matter of fact as having a child and rearing it successfully - no mean feat these days.

It can be something like Matthew Parris wrote about in the Times on Saturday, when he said his proudest moment was when he finally ran the London Marathon in the fastest time for any M.P. after trying to break the record for several years.

Some are in a situation, or make a situation, where their moment of glory is of so much more significance; where their achievements make a difference to a huge chunk of society.

Such a one is Azzam Alwash - there was also an article in the Times about him on Saturday.  Some people become so driven by an idea, by a cause, by the feeling that they must do something, that they abandon their present life and forge ahead in a new direction.   He was such a one.

His boyhood was spent in the region between the Rivers Tigris and Euphrates - an area some think was the original Garden of Eden.  It was a place cut off from the rest of the world and he had an idyllic boyhood.   I remember in my teens reading a book about the marsh arabs and indeed seeing a film about them on television - their way of life was unique, the wildlife of the area was unique too.  Azzam's father was responsible for irrigation in the area.  With the advent of Saddam Hussein the family had to flee and went to America where Azzam married, raised a family, but longed to see those marshes again.

Saddam - driven by power and the urge to destroy an area where rebels to his regime could hide and where no tanks could go to get at them - systematically spent three years and huge amounts of money turning that Garden of Eden into a Waste Land.  And when Azzam went back after Saddam's fall he found total devastation.

Now (sacrificing his job and his marriage in the process) he has spent the last ten years mending the broken area.   When asked about it he says that the marsh arabs were already at work mending the sluices and getting things going.  But there is no doubt he was their driving force and although many experts said it could never be restored, he has proved them wrong and already the area is healing itself

Now that is some massive moment of glory.  

As Shakespeare said in Twelfth Night 'some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.'  I think we all saw examples of the latter in the folk who rushed to the aid of the victims of the Boston bombing last week.

I suppose we never know when our moment of glory is going to be - or if it will ever arrive at all.   If we can look back and think of something we have done of which we are proud - then I think we can put that as top of our list.  We can't all be great - and most of us wouldn't wish to be anyway - but we can do our bit one way or another.   


Heather said...

I think I have left greatness a little late, and certainly don't have the energy to pursue it now!
What a splendid achievement to restore the land of the marsh arabs. A heartwarming story when we hear mostly about destruction and greed.

steven said...

i think greatness can be seen in all people. as soon as you let go of the notion of scale and accept that simple beautiful acts are as powerful as the most mighty, then the door opens to allow for this understanding. this is a great story weaver. i read thesiger's account of the marsh arabs some thirty years ago and was saddened when i read of the destruction of the marshland. but reading of its possible return is happy-making!! steven

Arija said...

If we cannot achieve the great things, at least each one can restore a little corner of this world.

Gwil W said...

I'm still working towards my moment of glory! I figure if I can just keep running long enough I can eventually become, a great (if rather elderly) runner. Perhaps greatness is simply a matter of dogged perseverance and of gritting one's teeth, and of keeping going at what you do when the others swap their running shoes for carpet slippers and settle for relative comfort.

Em Parkinson said...

Azzam Alwash is an inspiration. What a fantastic man. I need to read more about him!

Reader Wil said...

Azzam certainly shows a formidable greatness. What a brave man! Thanks for sharing this story!

angryparsnip said...

Lovely post today Weaver.
No matter what, where, when, small or big each of us has greatness. We just need to believe we can no matter what it is.

cheers, parsnip

Dave King said...

In can be something as ordinary and matter of fact as having a child and rearing it successfully - no mean feat these days.... I'm glad you rescued this with that final phrase. Done well, it must be the finest achievement of all. Seems so extraordinary to think that in other times and other places people have farmed the "job" out to others. Splendid post!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for visiting.