Monday, July 11, 2016

A Tear for Ali

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

When Mohammad Ali passed away on June 3, 2016 (at age 74) everyone who ever heard of him would certainly remember a moment when he made you feel good some action from a part of his life.  I particularly liked the mischievous look he always had with a smile on his face.  Ali was universally loved, admired and followed.  No illness could take away his love for life and his proud gait.

While growing-up in India we got our news in snail mail; news papers and magazines.  We did have radio but limited international programming.  Even in the days before the TV and internet, Ali was not so foreign to the kids.  Ali and his accomplishments and his life were admired by everyone.  As a kid, I never thought of anything but his voice bites and his accomplishments, and certainly his determination on his faith and life.  No one thought of him as a black man or a Muslim man, but as a great man.  He was a champion in the ring and off the ring.  Nothing mattered except what he stood for, and what he practiced.  In a life so faraway from where Ali was from, he was universally admired.  You can’t be like him but you really liked him.

There are volumes of coverage not just after his death, but throughout his life.  Long after he quit boxing he continued to inspire and encourage everyone he touched.  Ali reached out to everyone.  He was a man who genuinely loved everyone, and his life is a complete testament to a human being who was true to everyone.

When Ali passed away I am sure everyone who had heard of him, paused and gave him a thought and a prayer.  There are many men and women who positively influence the world, and Mohammad Ali was certainly one of them.  The man was always with a smile, always positive, always kind, and always gentle, and certainly always a way with words.

Outside of his greatness in the ring, and accomplished and great life after as a statesman and a man who served many human causes, he never ceased to stop from his contributions for a better society.  While the world admired him for what he was, no one ever thought of him as a born black man who converted to Islam.  I never heard the word about his race or religion when it referred to Ali.  Just in Ali’s life time both the American Civil Rights and the religion of Islam both have undergone a complete transformation.  At Ali’s death Barak Obama is the American President and the entire Middle East (for a matter of fact the world) is embroiled in religious strife forcing terror on innocent civilians across the world.  The past moth terror go close to Disney Land in Orlando.  Nothing seems to be off bounds to terror, just as the WWW.

Ali, if he is looking down on us from up there, must be certainly pondering on what needs to be done to help humanity to live together?

By any measure the state of the world today will make civilization to ponder on why and what we are doing to each other?

Our ability to communicate, the propensity to learn quickly, the ease of travel and opportunity to work anywhere we want to, along with all the other advantages of modern living; all of these could be put to good use in making a world full of advancement and advantages for generations to come, but for some reason or the other we keep finding ways to propagate dislike and difficulties.  Lately we have made destruction and killings in the name of religion and race.

I have to have an additional tear for Ali.  While we mourn the loss of a great man, who was Black and Muslim, no one seems to be looking at legacy and life of peace and love.  We are using exactly the same things we continue to love and associate with Ali to do the exact opposite of what he lived in his entire life.  RIP Ali.

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