Tag Archives: death

Peace At Last For Whitney (1963 – 2012)

As a fan, I am stunned by the news of the passing of legendary singer, Whitney Houston, at the age of 48. Amid her personal struggles, I was hoping she’d have at least one more sell-out world tour and one more ground-shattering album in her.  Sadly, it was not to be  — death always has its own cruel plans.

In the days to come, many will again try to beam the spotlight on the Whitney’s squeaky clean image before  her marriage to Bobby Brown and her subsequent self-professed drug habit during her marriage. I’m not sure how beneficial a backward-looking critique of Whitney’s life will be at this juncture, as it is beyond us mere mortals whether her life would have panned out differently if she had married someone else.

No matter how short a life, it is indeed a life spent. We should  thank our creator for Whitney’s life and her inarguable gift of music. It is equally important that we also remember her daughter, Bobbie Kristina, in our prayers and hope that she lives a more fulfilling, long and happy life.

Rest blissfully Whitney and thank you for the awesome music.

The “D” Agenda

Elizabeth Taylor 1932 - 2011

If we ever bothered to stop and reflect upon life for a moment, we probably would agree that there are far more important things in the world than having: an artifact of a house; fame; a swanky car (or a fleet of them); an in-season wardrobe; absolute power; and a bottom-less pit of money. Elizabeth Taylor, Muammar Gaddafi, Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse, John Paul Getty III and Peter Falk, who all  passed away during 2011, had some of these trappings of success. But death knows no status.

Some of us think that the mark of success is material wealth. How many cars do you have? How many homes do you have? What kind of social circles do you move in? What private schools do your children attend? Do children of other high net worth individuals attend this school?  It really is an endless list.

Oftentimes, we fall helplessly in love – sometimes to the point of obsession – with the public persona of celebrities we know very little about. For instance, despite his laudable musical accomplishments and his global public fascination, Michael Jackson, like the rest of us, had his own personal problems.  As he couldn’t sleep naturally,  he was happy to pay a doctor $150,000 a month to help him achieve something that really should be natural and free.

Muammar Gaddafi 1942 - 2011

Some of us relish power. For whatever reason, we think we are the best person to eradicate the ills of the society we live in. But history has proved that in some instances, no sooner than ordinary power is attained, the pursuit of tyrannical power sometimes becomes an obsession.

Times change and so do sentiments. Even our own individual experiences would have taught us that nothing in life is permanent. It’s no state secret that the late Muammar Gaddafi wasn’t always the enemy of the West or disliked by his people. However, when he eventually lost his 42-year tight grip on Libya, even his material trappings couldn’t avert his sad and gruesome end.

Most of us have an inherent  dislike of death. But while this post isn’t meant to be an ode to death, or a dream-killer, it is a reminder that money, fame and other trappings of success aren’t everything.  There are more important things in life and thankfully they are free: good health, happiness, family, cuddles, trust, friends, children, relationships, God, air, water, sleep, fond memories and unconditional love, to name but a few.

May the souls of those mentioned in this post rest blissfully. Long life and good health to the rest of us.

Please, Let’s Keep It Real

Watching the huge display of celebrations outside the courthouse in Los Angeles, after the announcement of the guilty verdict in the Michael Jackson manslaughter trial, I couldn’t help but wonder why we always have to find someone to blame when things go wrong. It was almost as if the fans outside the courthouse were ready to exert mob justice on Dr. Conrad Murray, who had just been officially held responsible for Michael Jackson’s death.

Arguably,  Michael Jackson was, if not the greatest entertainer ever, then one of the greatest. As a Michael fan myself, I think musically, it doesn’t get  any better than Billie Jean, off the wall, rock with you and human nature. But having said that, I think it takes a certain type of fan to camp outside the Los Angeles courthouse everyday for six weeks, all in the name of justice for Michael. I found it quite bizarre that some fans became quite emotional when the guilty verdict came down and others broke out into a frenzy of  Michael’s trademark moonwalk and electric slide dance routines. To me, these celebrations were a touch over the top considering the fact that most of these fans only knew Michael from afar.

I agree that the Jackson clan, and some of Michael’s fans, may find the verdict  somewhat therapeutic.  Nevertheless, it is important that we all keep things real for a number of reasons.

1) While the guilty verdict may help the Jackson clan and fans deal with their grief, it doesn’t bring Michael back from the dead.

2) Dr. Murray is held responsible for Michael Jackson’s death within the realm of law. Although Dr. Murray was evidently professionally negligent, there was clearly no intention on his part to kill Michael. The manner of Michael’s death, though tragic, was purely accidental.

There are times in life when things happen that we cannot unscramble. When faced with these situations, we should learn from them, accept them as fate and then move on. As I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t reincarnate Michael, but it helps put sad situations like this in perspective.  On a spiritual level, maybe we ought to also accept that no matter how short a life, it is indeed a life spent.

3) Michael Jackson was clearly addicted to controlled drugs and he engaged Dr. Murray to help him obtain them. If it hadn’t been Dr. Murray, it would have been someone else willing to oblige for money. When we view things from this angle, it’s hard not to conclude that Michael Jackson’s tragic death was, maybe, an accident waiting to happen.

Consequently, it is ironic that Dr. Murray’s “once in a lifetime opportunity” turned out to be his nemesis. However, his woe was self-inflicted by greed. Surely he must have known that in using controlled drugs in the way that he did, he was over-skirting the borders of medical ethics.

Dr. Murray deserves to lose his medical license and be held accountable, albeit as a scapegoat, for his greed-fuelled medical negligence. However, finally, I hope that the Jackson clan takes solace from the verdict and then find it in their hearts to withdraw their multiple civil lawsuits against him.  The man is financially ruined and professionally damaged as it is.  Isn’t this enough?

Somebody’s Got to Say It: Where Is the Sanctity of Gaddafi’s Body?

I never met him during his lifetime and although I consider myself neither friend nor foe of the man, I find the manner of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s death quite crude and the subsequent handling of his corpse inexplicably inhumane. While I truly believe that those who live by the gun will ultimately die by gun, I also think it is morally wrong to take delight from the demise of a fellow human being.

Understandably, to an extent, all is fair in love and war. But the one million dollar question is this: did Colonel Gaddafi have to die such a brutal death? Given that the odds were heavily stacked against him in the last couple of months, why didn’t he broker a face-saving retreat deal with the necessary stakeholders and then relinquish power?  Many African and Arab counties would have given him and his family political asylum. The fact that he was also a wealthy man would have facilitated things in this regard. But of course, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Dictators, by their very nature tend to work on a flawed sense of perpetual invincibility, forgetting that nothing lasts forever.  We understand from history that more often than not, tyrants lose focus and then gradually become far removed from reality.  Eventually they meet a violent end. Such was the fate of Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Sanni Abacha of Nigeria and Idi Amin of Uganda.

Following the pretty gruesome video clips of Colonel Gaddafi’s last moments aired on the various global news networks, there have been calls for an inquiry into the events leading up to Colonel Gaddafi’s death. While these scenes were quite disturbing,  in the grand scheme of recent events in Libya, it is doubtful whether any meaningful benefit would emerge from such an inquiry.

As a mere mortal myself, my main gripe is with the way Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse has been handled by the Libyan authorities. The  main world religions accept that the physical body of a deceased should be handled with dignity and utmost care. Placing Colonel Gaddafi’s corpse in a commercial freezer, with very little to shield his dignity, and allowing Libyan men to view his body and take pictures on their mobile phones is highly inappropriate and in bad taste.  Evidently, there is  no preservation of the sanctity of Colonel Gaddafi’s body. Surely, this runs afoul of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

The Libyan authorities should realise that whatever his crimes during his lifetime, Colonel Gaddafi is no more. His account on earth is now closed and he will answer to his creator for his deeds on earth. That the Libyan authorities chose rather to violate the sanctity of the dead, as an act of revenge, is most sad and inexplicably inhumane.  Even if all the reports of Colonel Gaddafi’s alleged crimes against humanity are true, that still doesn’t justify the Libyan authorities inhumane handling of his body.

In the words of Lady Macbeth, what’s done cannot be undone. Colonel Gaddafi’s life has come full circle.  The fine detail of his deeds on earth will now be relegated to the annals of history.  It is ironic that the young army officer, who led a bloodless Libyan revolution 42 years ago, has now died a brutal death in a bloody revolution.  The circumstances surrounding Colonel Gaddafi’s death are somewhat tragic and many will argue that he brought it upon himself.  But that is a discussions for another day. My bone of contention today is the sanctity of  Colonel Gaddafi’s lifeless body.

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. – ( Martin Luther King Jnr)