I opened the Book of Genesis this morning. I trawled the social media network. Do not ask me why, but it reminded me of two dreams I had in the last few days.
The Book of Genesis tells us that the land of Canaan was occupied long before Abram and his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot had advanced towards its green pastures. Well, it was not green when they got there. The land of Canaan was in the midst of a severe famine, so by that we understand that these lands were particularly dry and that flocks of sheep and cattle and goats were not able to graze, nor were the lands’ inhabitants able to plant crops.
So, Abram and his entourage are forced to trek to the fertile lands of Egypt, the lands of the Pharaohs. In some circles of humanity it is believed that superior beings once visited these territories and planted the roots of an ancient civilization long since obliterated. Today, the citizens of Egypt are finding it very difficult to decide whether they want to entrust their elected officials with leading them in a constitutional democracy which may ensure their human freedom and offer them the prospect of material comforts which many still take for granted, or allow the familiar military leadership structures to mine a way through to a peaceful and prosperous co-existence.
Much like the dictatorships of the ancient times it seems that there is no sincere or pragmatic reasoning beyond the existing dictatorships, military in appearance.
The land of Canaan today is better known as a region which includes strife-torn countries. Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel. Or the land of Palestine. Each country is ruled, for now, by some form of dictatorship or another. Syria is ruled by the family and secular cabal of Assad. Jordan is ruled by a king. Israel is ruled by a sect. “Bantustan”-styled territories are ruled by a consortium of intellectuals, businessmen and militant bands all claiming to rule in the name of their God.
Dreams are quite strange and often we do not understand why we had them in the first place. I will not attempt to theorise my dreams by using spiritual means, or interpreting them through theories formulated by Freud or Jung. As my memories serve me, the nature of it felt quite positive, and there was an element of peace about it.
The first dream centred around an old friend, allegedly a few years older than myself at the time she died tragically a couple of years ago. When I first met her, I was quite young and extremely shy, introverted and awkward, but she was a radiating presence in the room. It was a special man’s birthday that day. He forms part of a minority of people with so-called special needs. In spite of his circumstances, he was always smiling and would indirectly force a cynic to pause for internal reflection.
A slight diversion. A lame song with vacuous lyrics, something about exchanging glances as strangers often do in the night. I switched to the Orinoco Flow, Instant gratification. This beautiful, pristine piece of Edenic land is located somewhere within the regions of the Amazon on the continent of South America, land of the Aztecs and Incas. I wonder if it still exists today.
The young lady had a vocation, she taught little children how to read and write, and even how to behave, gently respecting their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and boyfriends and girlfriends. Not long after I first spoke intensely with her, she was inspired to teach at a convent somewhere near the Namib, a region which is still pristine as it is bereft of humanity. Little did we know at that time, nor did she perhaps know that she would, she trekked towards a region where she ended up, probably, teaching young San children.
At some stage during our humane conversations I learnt that at a still younger age she had lived in the land of Canaan on a compound better known as a kibbutz. As I understand, on the kibbutz, everyone is free, and yet they still maintain their freedom by serving their fellow brothers and sisters, through teaching no less. And through tending the crops and animals on the compounds, and ensuring that all, particularly those who are weaker, have enough. It is a peaceful co-existence which I have spent my life dreaming about.
In the second dream, I was approached by a gentleman who is indigenous to this land from which I was conceived and in which I was born. He is today a learned man and a thought leader. He forms part of a fraternity, a body, if you will, known today as Africa’s top university. I learned this from some or another survey that a colleague had posted to me a few months ago.
It reminded me of a childhood dream of wanting to go to this particular university to learn to read and write, to think and to teach, and to walk before running. This was during an era in which we were all divided obstinately and cruelly on the basis of a notional ideology which separates us because we look, feel and see things differently. While a different ideology, but no less repressive, engulfs us here today, that childhood dream is still alive. Who would have thought?
This learning centre is located in a fertile region renowned for its grapes as the land of Canaan is for its olives. Sadly, the beautiful mountain that watches over this region is still named derogatorily after the indigenous people who are enslaved to labour, enslaved to the fermented grapes that they have harvested, and more marginalised and threatened than ever before.
In spite of science, in spite of guides, and in spite of divinity, dreams are still misunderstood and the search for its meanings left to wither. From time to time we are able to remember our dreams, and sometimes it leads us to remember who we are and what we strive to achieve in this life and what we are still searching for.