Searching for Hope

As a child raised by parents who had escaped the bloody India/Pakistan Partition in 1947 without any material belongings but their families and souls intact. I had grown up to celebrate independence from the “colonialists” who had oppressed the Global South. As a teenager, my father was posted in Europe and Middle East representing our new country in various Western treaty organizations. As more countries got their independence in Africa and Asia, there was an air of hope in the developing world. Each new country, no matter how crudely its borders were drawn with no regard to history, languages, cultures, set out to achieve economic and social progress. It was a heady time: the model of American materialism was at its zenith and the promise of democracy and equity was seductive. And when the USSR disintegrated in 1989, it was the final zenith of that sense of freedom and liberation. China was going through its own metamorphosis and did not begin to focus on helping the developing world until much later; so, we just were happy not to have to deal with them. All eyes were to the West, leading the charge for a free and democratic world!

I do not remember if that bubble of hope burst suddenly, or slowly leaked air, but somewhere along the line, wars and violence was increasing, and instead of countries, corporations were raiding poor countries for resources, even basic ones like water rights. That is when I began to lose hope. And 9/11 and its aftermath was the beginning of the darkest period as revenge wars were raging all over the Middle East, and collective punishment meted out to innocent, helpless and poor civilians. Ancient religions were framed and blamed, while economic superpower games were being played. Racism and hate increased all around the globe and is on the rise still.

In the corporate world, where I worked for 40 years, including Wall Street, my nickname was Mino-Anna (as in Pollyanna). And as I continued my peace work in parallel with my corporate work, I continued to infuse hope in the various non-profit groups I was involved with and was doing it even until the Ukraine War. Thankfully, my spiritual practice of Islam and Sufism continues to be my internal oasis of peace for if I only believed in the material existence, I would cry all day and night.

The turning point came for me, again slowly- as in a fog slowly rising- when I attended the Upshift Festival organized by Ervin Laszlo and his Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. I had already read Ervin’s book 20 years ago- Macroshift- which had warned that we are at a turning point in history. Imagine, I found his book in Barnes and Noble on 9/10/01, the night before 9/11, an incredible synchronicity in my life! What rekindled the dwindling hope was the realization that quantum sciences and spiritual traditions were confirming each other’s belief systems- they were agreeing and finding common truths! The most hopeful for me is that we as a planet are amid an enormous transformation, and like all transformation it is destruction that comes first followed by rebirth. I have held on to that vision, and all the luminaries on that Upshift Festival and their wisdom for dear life. I do not follow news; I do not ever listen to pundits. I just keep blowing on that dwindling candle of hope, peace, and justice in my innermost being to keep the faith that humanity can rehumanize itself again and transcend the ugliness of the past. Just as a caterpillar must destroy itself for the butterfly to form, I truly believe and hope that we are near the end of the destructive period. May it be so!


Wall Street escapee, retired, grandmother, coach, speaker, writer, blogger on peace, transformation and reclaiming our insaniyet (humanism)

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Mino Akhtar

Wall Street escapee, retired, grandmother, coach, speaker, writer, blogger on peace, transformation and reclaiming our insaniyet (humanism)