my friend Iqbal

Iqbal, my friend, R.I.P.  



Iqbal, my friend, R.I.P.


Yesterday, I attended a beautiful memorial ceremony for a good friend of mine who recently passed away.

His name was Iqbal, and he was 66 years old and from Pakistan. He is survived by his wife, Shar, who is a Buddhist from Texas, and 7 kids who live in Denmark, Norway, and Pakistan. Iqbal was a big guy, and quite a wrestler, and had fought battles against India as a soldier in the Pakistani army in the 1960s. He later lived in New York, Vancouver, Canada, and Chicago before coming to Texas.

Iqbal was a compassionate, honest, and funny man. We became friends quickly upon first meeting, both being outsiders, although he looked the part more than I in a predominately white neighborhood. He owned and operated a convenience store next to a coffee house where I worked and across the street from a cafe where I worked later. We shared many great conversations, laughs, quiet watching of the world going by, and smokes on his hookah. We helped each other through many rough work days and trying personal issues.

My friendship with Iqbal, despite our being born of different generations, races, faiths, and sides of the Earth, serves as an outstanding example to me and people I know of how open minded, compassionate people can co-exist peacefully despite their differences.

Iqbal’s mother passed away recently, so he traveled home to Pakistan to pay his respects. While there, he was riding a friend’s horse (something he had not done in many years), but fell off and was injured. While laid up with his injury, he fell ill, and a few days later, passed away during the night. Iqbal was a very progressive and open-minded Muslim, but was buried on the day he died in Pakistan, in accordance with the traditions of Islam.

Iqbal’s memorial was performed in a Buddhist style, although there were Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Atheists in attendance. It was a wonderful gathering of multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-national love, peace, and happiness, not so much to mourn a death but to celebrate a life, which is what life is supposed to be about.

I would guess that Iqbal is watching the world with concern, curiosity, and insight from wherever he is now, and is having a good laugh with friends.

I am a logical, open-minded, liberal, progressive, radical, green, independent individual living in the heart of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, amongst apparently brainwashed conservative southern Baptist Republican zombies. I'm tired of the lies of the government and their media mouthpieces and their corporate masters. I'm tired of the cheating and the stealing and the killing. I'm ready for the future. But the only way we are going to fix things is to all band together and say NO MORE! We have to start punishing the rich white collar criminals as harshly as the poor black blue-collar criminals, if not more so. And I'm tired of cults (AKA religions). They are dangerous, divisive, and delusional. We should evolve past religions towards a global humanitarian ethics. We should move away from a new world order and get back to city states with local democracy, power, food, and water.

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Posted in ceremony, death, global, islam, liberal, lifestyle, philosophy, religion, tradition, truth
5 comments on “my friend Iqbal
  1. Jorg says:

    Thanks Mark
    You did It For All Of Us .


  2. David says:

    Thanks for Mark that does speak to the Hope that I still have in Humanity. I wish more people could be as open minded and open hearted as the He was and you are.

    Blessed Be

  3. Monique Ross says:

    Wow, I wished I could have attended, but I had a wedding shower at 3pm. But, just like Mark said this gentleman was quite an interesting fellow. God Bless him where he is now.

  4. Anthony says:

    I was fortunate to have a few laughs and some enlightening conversations with Iqbal. I think Mark is correct that “Iqbal is watching the world with concern, curiosity, and insight from wherever he is now, and is having a good laugh with friends”.

  5. markbaland says:

    I found this poem online, that a friend of Iqbal’s shared at his memorial, and thought I’d post it for those who were there to enjoy it and for those who weren’t.

    The poem is titled “Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep”, and although it is unclear exactly who authored it, it has been around since at least 1932, in some version or another.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I am not there; I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sun on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning’s hush
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    I am the soft starlight at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.

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January 2009
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Mark Baland

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