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Daru September 6, 2014: Jesus is a Black Man

Papua is the center of the world, the God’s sacred and chosen nation. The day will come, when the black people no longer be the slaves, and the whites in turn will be the slaves of the blacks. That’s how Dogen Molang sees the future of the earth, based on the ancient story he believes. He is now conducting a secret yet important research. That is, to prove that Jesus was a black Papuan man. Mr. Molang is an enthusiastic man in his forties, a respected English teacher in the Daru High School—the only high school on the tiny island of Daru, the former capital of the isolated Western Province of Papua New Guinea. The first time I met him, he came with thick photocopy thesis of an Australian researcher about the border area of Papua New Guinea. In one chapter of his thesis, Kevin Murphy the researcher described the folktales of different tribes in the area on how the universe was created. The stories captivated Molang very much, and made him jump to the conclusion: that Jesus were born here, in the land of the Papuans. “We believe that the creation story is our story,” he said, “But our [...]

September 18, 2015 // 2 Comments

My Healing with Vipassana (3): The Art of Simple Life

The Vipassana experience was magical for me as I could now sense the sensation of the surface of my whole body, from top of the head to toe. I could sense the interior of my body. My left brain, my right brain, my stomach and my intestines, my bones… all were producing never-ending subtle vibrations. I could even sense the parts of the body when I was sleeping. When I was dreaming, it was more like watching a movie rather than being involved in the actions of the fantasy. At this point, the meditation was not merely about sitting anymore. When we take breath, we meditate. When we walk, we meditate. When we eat and drink, we meditate. Even when we sleep, as long as the awareness is there, we also meditate. By Day 6, I started to notice small details I used to neglect. I started to see the movement of grass and leaves of the trees, appreciate the freshness of the air and the beauty of the occasional noise from the neighborhood, and be thankful to all my weaknesses and flaws, all achievements and failures, all happy and sad moments in my life. All the findings and the [...]

May 12, 2015 // 14 Comments

A Junior Devotee

A kid shows his scars in his first-ever self-flagellation of Ashura. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom of Hussain to fight [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Stop Him

Crowds try to stop an over-enthusiastic devotee in doing self-flagellation. The bloody ritual can be dangerous as a devotee may run out of blood. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Permanent Scars

A man bears permanent scars on his back from self-flagellation in Ashura of previous years. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom of [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Always Remember

Mass gatherings is held in a Shiite mosque in Lahore to remember the martyrdom of Hussain, one night before the Ashura. The majlis or sermon recounts the suffering of Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. The story, despite of being repeated every year, still raises tides of emotions among the devotees. They listen, cry, shout, and beat their chests with hands as symbol of mourning. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Blades

A man is distributing blades for the mass during majlis (sermon) as they are going to start the self-flagellation ritual to remember the martyrdom of Hussain in the Battle of Karbala. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Women with Tears

Women in black veil are in high emotion during the majlis (sermon) session of Ashura remembrance in a mosque in Lahore, while the speaker recounts the suffering of Hussain in the battle of Karbala. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Shiite Kids

Some Shiite kids are preparing for the remembrance of Ashura in a mosque in Lahore. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 8 February 2006 (Ashura)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. The honesty of Ali and the martyrdom [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mass Mourning

Muzaffarabad was hit by 7.6-magnitue of earthquake half a year before, but the mass mourning of self-beating (maatam) and self-flagellation (zanjirzani) parade along the main street is still huge and powerful. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Not Hindered by Disaster

Muzaffarabad was hit by 7.6-magnitue of earthquake half a year before, but the mass mourning of self-beating (maatam) and self-flagellation (zanjirzani) parade along the main street is still huge and powerful. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

For the Beloved Hussain

The devotees in Muzaffarabad parade along the main streets during the remembrance of Chehlum, or the fortieth day after Ashura, as the end of the whole mourning period for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali in the Battle of Karbala. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Harmonious

The devotees in Muzaffarabad parade along the main streets, beating their chests harmoniously, during the remembrance of Chehlum, or the fortieth day after Ashura, as the end of the whole mourning period for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali in the Battle of Karbala. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Mourning Festival

Ashura is commemorated as national holiday in Pakistan, as well as in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, India, Turkey, and Lebanon. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being recounted to the mass. [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Blood of Love

In Pakistan, self-flagellation is typically an essential part of Ashura mourning. But in neighboring Iran, where Shia is the official religion, the government forbade blood to be shed during the festival, and suggested the devotees to replace self-flagellation with blood donation. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Parade of Blood

 The devotees in Muzaffarabad parade along the main streets during the remembrance of Chehlum, or the fortieth day after Ashura, as the end of the whole mourning period for the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali in the Battle of Karbala. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ya Hussain

In Pakistan, self-flagellation is typically an essential part of Ashura mourning. But in neighboring Iran, where Shia is the official religion, the government forbade blood to be shed during the festival, and suggested the devotees to replace self-flagellation with blood donation. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)     Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Determined

Self-flagellation requires a total determination and dedication, as the devotees use no pain-reduction medication. It’s only their love and faith which enable them to feel of no pain in doing the self-flagellation. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Flag of Islam

The spirit of Ashura is to remember the battle of Karbala, the symbols of the bravery of Hussain ibn Ali to fight against injustice. Black flags with prayers and verses are they symbols of the God’s warriors fighting against injustice. Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 21 March 2006 (Chehlum)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

Children Blades

Children also participate in the self-flagellation rituals in Ashura remembrance. The zanjir (blades) they use are typically smaller, but not less sharper, from those used by adults. Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, 9 February 2006 (Ashura)   Ashura, literally the “tenth”, refers to the 10th date of the Islamic month of Muharram, is the holiest days in Shia Islam. In this occasion, the Shiites all over the world remember the martyrdom of Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The martyrdom took place in the 10 Muharram 61 Hijri calendar (680 CE), when Imam Hussain with only 72 men faced 4000 soldiers of Ummayyad army led by Yazid. Hussein, his family, and all of his soldiers were massacred in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq). Pakistan has about 20 percent of Shia population, but the day of Ashura and Chehlum (40th day after the Ashura as the end of the mourning period) are observed as national holidays. Both of the remembrance festivals are not exclusively for Shiites, as Pakistani Sunnis also flock to the mosques to listen to majlis (sermons), in which the tragedy and the spirit of Hussain is being [...]

January 5, 2015 // 0 Comments

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