Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Corruption and the Family

Omnes diligunt munera

I've known first-hand what corruption and greed can do to a family.

I've looked up Mullah's Principles of Mahomedan Law, and it assures me that I cannot disinherit myself. That is, no doubt, as it should be.

The trouble with corruption is that you have to keep your money with your wife, brothers-in-law and nephews or nieces. So, everybody has a stake and an interest in the family. The family loses its intimacy, and becomes a money-laundering machine. Of course, all goes well if everybody in the family is corrupt and greedy. The problem with me was that I never wanted much in life, just enough to get by.

So, when my father passed away, and one piece of property in an obscure part of town turned up, and I wanted to move in there, the rest of this mafia Corporation ganged up against me. My mother and brother tried to have me declared mentally incompetent; the other 'clients' watched, amused, and no one objected because they were all in on it. Then last night one of my cousins threatened me with a beating, harassment by law-enforcing agencies and - golly! - a defamation suit! Between these two extremes hovered the 'moderate' threat of a police GD. And all this with the connivance of my flesh and blood.

The problem remains: I cannot disinherit myself.

All I can offer are my words as a gentleman that I will not - repeat, not - resort to my rights. I renounce my right to my patrimony.

Will this convince my mother and brother? Even though I put it here before the world, in plain black and white, I don't think so. You see, corruption drives the family members paranoid. They think that just because the state is after their property, everybody is. After all, it wasn't earned, it wasn't something you could call 'mine'.

Now, all my life, I've been obsessed with what's truly mine. That is why I studied Farsi, as I mentioned in an article: to discover 'my' civilisation. This search for authenticity has served me ill materially, and well spiritually.

Into this difference between what's legally mine and what's morally mine - let's say de facto and de jure mine, respectively - enters a million devils. The 'respectable' people in my family are actually money launderers and corrupt businessmen. Therefore in my family I have no honour, for I have no wealth, that solitary standard by which we judge things. But that's no problem: I don't covet the honour of the dishonourable. But I don't desire their persecution either.

So, how do I convince my family that I don't want a square inch of their property? Of course, I could emigrate, but this is no age to leave one's own country, except perhaps for sightseeing, for which I lack the resources. Of course, I could allow the family hoodlum to bump me off, but that would be suicide.

How does one extricate oneself from such a situation, this side of heaven and hell, so that those in the wrong and those in the right can go their separate ways? That is the eternal conundrum.

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