By Emmanuel Iduma
WINNER, CATEOGORY 1 (AGE 18-24)
Excitement is the wrong word to use in describing how I feel about these projects. I am seeking for the right word. Yet, there are two tasks before me – first, to argue briefly on what interests me about the projects; second, to make a case for why these projects must remain important in the global scheme of things.
I am interested in diversity, in a multi-cultural existence, in life as seen from the lens of globalization. I believe, also, that diversity is a necessary part of human life. What these projects represent is diversity, as perfect as that can be – a merging of cultures, a fusion of civilizations, and nothing less. Thus, understanding that these projects were instituted to, in The Aga Khan’s words, “express a profound commitment to inter-cultural engagement, and international cooperation” establishes my claim that in the first place there is something uniquely global about these projects that make them worth reckoning.
Yet, the first conception becomes incisive when I consider it in the light of the contribution the projects would make to Canada, and hopefully, to the world. Each of the projects deserves a concise elucidation.
First, the Aga Khan Museum calls attention to the human need to share and to sustain. These qualities are often lacking in human interaction at all levels. On the individual level, we can learn to allow others partake in our life. Interestingly, the kind of sharing evinced by the Museum does more than allowing individuals to partake; it calls for civilizations to share their blessings with others. In this regard, it appears to me that sharing connotes sustainability. There is worldwide clamour for sustainability, and the Museum will become a beacon of lengthening what is notable about the Ismaili Imamat institution.
And what about the Ismaili Centre? Is there something irresistible about the fact that the Centre would feature a deep religious conviction? In a world plagued by scepticism and God-hating, I find it nourishing that the Centre would be significant for the significant reason that it is “dedicated to spiritual reflection.” I am in doubt that such reflection is not a basic human need – and should be added to Maslow’s list.
Wonderfully, what ties these three projects together is the architectural grandeur each exudes. The Park, for instance, draws upon a rich Islamic architectural heritage. A well-known fact is that Islam has provided the world with lovable masterpieces. I make bold to say that the Park would be another. Taken altogether, it exhilarates me to imagine the site of the projects being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eliot believes that in-between dreams and reality lurks shadows. Yet, I find that these projects require us to keep dreaming, despite the fact that they are being realized, or the lurking shadows. And this is necessary because Canada and the rest of the world is in need of the spiritual, natural and artistic splendour the Projects offer.
Date essay posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2011
About the writer: Emmanuel Iduma, 22, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Currently, he is studying to be called to the Nigerian Bar in the Nigerian Law School, Enugu. His writing has been published online and in print, including in Saraba, which he co-publishes (www.sarabamag.com). In September 2011, he is expected to start a Creative Writing Program at the University of Manchester.
Please also read winning essay in category 2: “Why I am Excited About the Aga Khan Museum, The Ismaili Centre and Their Park” by Zohra Nizamdin
A note from the publisher/editor: We offer our congratulations to Emmanuel Iduma on the winning essay in Category 1 (Ages 18-24), in which a total of fourteen essays were received. The winner will be receiving the prizes as outlined in the essay competition announcement within the next 4-6 weeks; please see 2011 Simerg Essay Writing Contest – $1000.00 in Cash Prizes. Essay(s) from both the categories that ranked close to the two winning essays may be published on this Website in future at the editor’s discretion, with the writer(s) receiving complimentary prizes as noted in the announcement. General remarks from the editor and judges, if received, will be published after the winners of the short essay “Why I Like this Photos” have been announced later this month. We thank everyone who participated in this competition as well as the judges for dedicating their valuable time towards this important initiative.
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