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Man vs. Man vs. God

Anonymous is a technology consultant with a deep interest in spirituality. Below he shares his views on modern society and how it interprets God. Read on our interview #3 below -

Keshav: How would you introduce yourself? Who are you?

Anonymous: I’m forty-four years old. I am a consultant in a software company. I have been living in Paris for 20 years now. I’m originally from Tunisia.

Keshav: Why did you move from Tunisia?

Anonymous: It was not planned exactly like that. Sometimes it’s just some coincidences that happen. I was a student in engineering school in Tunisia, and in the last year, you need to do a six months internship. I wanted to find a project in Tunisia or in some other place in the world. So, I tried, it’s true that I tried many possibilities. For example, I visited embassies of many countries in Tunisia to see if there’s some kind of scholarship for this, and I found only one possibility. It was a project for one year in Tokyo. So, I started to make my application for that, and then, I had a dream in which I saw myself in Tokyo, but people were talking in French, and it felt more like in France than Japan. So, I said “I don’t know what’s this”. And then, some weeks after, I saw an international exam of French government for six months of internship in Paris. So I applied for that. I did this six months in 1997 in Paris, then I went back to Tunisia to do my thesis, and then I found another scholarship to start a PhD in the same place, in Paris. So, this was in 1998. When I started this in Paris, it was for 3 years, but they gave me only six months of scholarship for this, and they said they will use the budget for other projects. So, I was obliged to find the solution myself. In that period, it was easier to find a job in I.T. So, I started to look for a job in I.T., and I had two friends, new friends in Paris who helped me a lot to find this job. I sent 150 CVs in one night, because I had only a few weeks before my visa expired, and these two friends helped me a lot. I found a contract in these few weeks, and I started the procedure to get the work permit.

Keshav: In the beginning, you said it wasn’t a planned move. If you had done the internship in Tokyo, you might as well be living in Tokyo now. Maybe?

Anonymous: Yeah, maybe.

Keshav: Once you got to France, once you finished your internship, when you started doing your PhD, did you not want to go back home? What made you look for opportunities so that your visa would not expire?

Anonymous: Because of many reasons. The first one is, I had started to work in Tunisia, and I resigned because I wanted to do a PhD. So, I was a little bit ashamed to go back to a job that I left already in Tunisia and without a PhD. And I liked Paris and I wanted to stay in Paris. But it was not at all for economic situation or something like that. So, it was not like financial immigration. But I like the diversity in Paris and it’s a beautiful town and now, after twenty years, it’s my best town, even if I travel a lot. I’m in love with Paris.

Keshav: Tell me more. If it wasn’t the financial situation that forced you to settle in Paris, what was it exactly?

Anonymous: I mean that I’m not in France because I didn’t find a job in Tunisia, you know what I mean - I could have found a job in Tunisia, in that period. Now it’s a more difficult situation, because of what happened in…, maybe you heard about the Arab Spring. You heard about that?

Keshav: Yes, I have.

Anonymous: And the first country was Tunisia. So, it started from Tunisia in 2011.

Keshav: So, how different is life in Tunisia as compared to life in Paris?

Anonymous: My life in Tunisia and my life in Paris, you mean?

Keshav: Yes.

Anonymous: I was 23 or 24, I was only doing my studies and working sometimes to get money to provide for the education. So, it was not real good life that I had in Tunisia at that period. So, I didn’t have time to go to any places like night clubs etc, so I was just doing my studies, and it was very difficult period, because engineering schools are very difficult.

Keshav: Did you take your whole family to Paris, or you were the only one?

Anonymous: I’m the only one here, I have nine brothers and sisters. I am the last one. They are all in Tunisia.

Keshav: How is their life now? What do they do?

Anonymous: They’re okay, in general, because we all managed to get education, and to get normal jobs. In our family, of nine brothers and sisters, I have four teachers, two in the police, that means six, and two in the government position, I mean ministries, they have some responsibility, and my eldest sister is retired, she was an assistant in an agriculture company, so, that’s nine, and myself, ten.

Keshav: How exactly was it growing up with a large family like yours in Tunisia at that time? Was it difficult for your parents?

Anonymous: It’s very, very complicated, because it’s not good. And when you are the last one in a family like that, people think that you will be spoiled and etcetera. No. In fact, you will always feel guilty that because of you the situation is not good.

Keshav: Why?

Anonymous: Because

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Anonymous is a technology consultant with a deep interest in spirituality. Below he shares his views on modern society and how it interprets God. Read on our interview #3 below -

Keshav: How would you introduce yourself? Who are you?

Anonymous: I’m forty-four years old. I am a consultant in a software company. I have been living in Paris for 20 years now. I’m originally from Tunisia.

Keshav: Why did you move from Tunisia?

Anonymous: It was not planned exactly like that. Sometimes it’s just some coincidences that happen. I was a student in engineering school in Tunisia, and in the last year, you need to do a six months internship. I wanted to find a project in Tunisia or in some other place in the world. So, I tried, it’s true that I tried many possibilities. For example, I visited embassies of many countries in Tunisia to see if there’s some kind of scholarship for this, and I found only one possibility. It was a project for one year in Tokyo. So, I started to make my application for that, and then, I had a dream in which I saw myself in Tokyo, but people were talking in French, and it felt more like in France than Japan. So, I said “I don’t know what’s this”. And then, some weeks after, I saw an international exam of French government for six months of internship in Paris. So I applied for that. I did this six months in 1997 in Paris, then I went back to Tunisia to do my thesis, and then I found another scholarship to start a PhD in the same place, in Paris. So, this was in 1998. When I started this in Paris, it was for 3 years, but they gave me only six months of scholarship for this, and they said they will use the budget for other projects. So, I was obliged to find the solution myself. In that period, it was easier to find a job in I.T. So, I started to look for a job in I.T., and I had two friends, new friends in Paris who helped me a lot to find this job. I sent 150 CVs in one night, because I had only a few weeks before my visa expired, and these two friends helped me a lot. I found a contract in these few weeks, and I started the procedure to get the work permit.

Keshav: In the beginning, you said it wasn’t a planned move. If you had done the internship in Tokyo, you might as well be living in Tokyo now. Maybe?

Anonymous: Yeah, maybe.

Keshav: Once you got to France, once you finished your internship, when you started doing your PhD, did you not want to go back home? What made you look for opportunities so that your visa would not expire?

Anonymous: Because of many reasons. The first one is, I had started to work in Tunisia, and I resigned because I wanted to do a PhD. So, I was a little bit ashamed to go back to a job that I left already in Tunisia and without a PhD. And I liked Paris and I wanted to stay in Paris. But it was not at all for economic situation or something like that. So, it was not like financial immigration. But I like the diversity in Paris and it’s a beautiful town and now, after twenty years, it’s my best town, even if I travel a lot. I’m in love with Paris.

Keshav: Tell me more. If it wasn’t the financial situation that forced you to settle in Paris, what was it exactly?

Anonymous: I mean that I’m not in France because I didn’t find a job in Tunisia, you know what I mean - I could have found a job in Tunisia, in that period. Now it’s a more difficult situation, because of what happened in…, maybe you heard about the Arab Spring. You heard about that?

Keshav: Yes, I have.

Anonymous: And the first country was Tunisia. So, it started from Tunisia in 2011.

Keshav: So, how different is life in Tunisia as compared to life in Paris?

Anonymous: My life in Tunisia and my life in Paris, you mean?

Keshav: Yes.

Anonymous: I was 23 or 24, I was only doing my studies and working sometimes to get money to provide for the education. So, it was not real good life that I had in Tunisia at that period. So, I didn’t have time to go to any places like night clubs etc, so I was just doing my studies, and it was very difficult period, because engineering schools are very difficult.

Keshav: Did you take your whole family to Paris, or you were the only one?

Anonymous: I’m the only one here, I have nine brothers and sisters. I am the last one. They are all in Tunisia.

Keshav: How is their life now? What do they do?

Anonymous: They’re okay, in general, because we all managed to get education, and to get normal jobs. In our family, of nine brothers and sisters, I have four teachers, two in the police, that means six, and two in the government position, I mean ministries, they have some responsibility, and my eldest sister is retired, she was an assistant in an agriculture company, so, that’s nine, and myself, ten.

Keshav: How exactly was it growing up with a large family like yours in Tunisia at that time? Was it difficult for your parents?

Anonymous: It’s very, very complicated, because it’s not good. And when you are the last one in a family like that, people think that you will be spoiled and etcetera. No. In fact, you will always feel guilty that because of you the situation is not good.

Keshav: Why?

Anonymous: Because I have some brothers and sisters, like, one, especially one who is saying, if we are very poor, it’s because we are a lot. When they say that, that means you are responsible for that, if there was only five it would be okay, so, you are in the end of the family. And when you are the last one; you never have new books or new bags or new clothes, you are always using the old ones, because you use the clothes of you brother and sister, you use the books of your brother and sister. Sometimes, I had some books which, I don’t know, ten years old and with missing pages, but sometimes I got some answer to some question written inside, which is positive. Haha.

Keshav: But even with ten kids, your parents managed to give all of you education?

Anonymous: I will say, my father was just a cook in a school. That means his salary was maybe enough for electricity and water and things like that, that’s it. So, it’s not enough for ten people. When someone starts to work, he helps all the family. So, it was a system like that, my mother was not working because she had a lot of kids, and they lost four kids, that means, normally, we would have been fourteen. I’m talking about this period in Tunisia, when Tunisia was still a colony of France. My eldest sister was born before independence, and in that period, just after the World War, the Second World War, the situation was catastrophic; you have kids, the majority will die. So, that’s why the three first ones died in one year or two years, because of simple illness, because there wasn’t a lot of medicine. But I mean that, in that period, they wanted to do many kids to make sure that at least three or four would survive. And, it’s another reason, that my mother was the only child in her family, and my father had only one sister as his brother died. They were living in an island in Tunisia, and then they left this island for job. They wanted to have big family because they didn’t have family in the place they were living.

Keshav: That’s quite a story! Thank you. I know you’ve been living outside your country twenty years now, but, would you know how the situation is now? Do parents still have lots of children with the hope that at least few would survive?

Anonymous: No. No. My brother and sister have at most two or three kids, which means the situation is nothing like that period. My eldest sister has only two kids, and they are already married, both of them.

Keshav: Do you visit them?

Anonymous: Yeah, I go there every two years, in general. It’s not very far, just two hours flight from Paris, but I don’t have good souvenir, so I go there just to see my family. I was very close to my mother, not to my father, and when I go, no one asks me for a lot of things. But I don’t feel good to see that I cannot fix the problems of everyone. Sometimes, not my brothers and sisters, but their spouses ask indirectly for something, but I cannot manage. So, when I go there, it’s a little bit stressful for me because I need to see everyone, and they are all very upset that I don’t stay a lot with them. I don’t have three months to see everyone, you know, because I go for one or two weeks, I’m running every time to see everyone, but just the immediate family is 44 person, you know, I have 23 nephews and nieces and etc. so, it’s not easy to see everyone. And I go mainly when there’s some urgent thing. For example, my father has had cancer for 13 years, but he doesn’t know that, because he doesn’t read and write, and we didn’t tell him that he has cancer. Though we need to operate him every two years in the hospital, but he doesn’t know that he has had cancer for 13 years.

Keshav: 13 years!

Anonymous: 13 years, yeah. Because he doesn’t need chemotherapy or something like that. So, every time he has a new tumor, we operate and that’s it. And every time we try to find something to explain to him what’s the reason of operation.

Keshav: For 13 years you’ve been doing that.

Anonymous: yeah, because if we tell him that he has cancer, he will die.

Keshav: He will die of the shock if he gets to know

Anonymous: Yeah.

Keshav: You were indeed a spoiled child, weren’t you? You’ve got the best education while you were in Tunisia, and then you changed your life once you moved to France while the rest of your family stayed there, do you feel like that? Or it can be said that you worked hard for it, you made your own way, and you created your own life.

Anonymous: I am the one who helps most of the family, financially, at least. That means, all these operations, I was in charge of them and they were in private clinics, the cost of the operation can be one year’s salary for someone. So every time there’s a problem, I send money, or I go there. They have relied on me for all this for 20 years. I will say, if I hadn’t left, I would not have been able to help like that. Finally, the fact that I left, personally I didn’t leave for money, but this money was useful for my family, and the treatment of my father is not enough, so I’m sending money every year to make him a salary or something like that.

Keshav: After having spent twenty years in France, do you still feel like an outsider, like an immigrant, or do you feel like a local French citizen now?

Anonymous: For me, I believe someone said human beings don’t have root, but foot. That means one should not be too much linked to one place, it’s important to have some history etc. but your great grandfather selected one town because of one reason; economic reason, or love etc, so you should also be able to select a new town. For example, my parents, they left their island in Tunisia for another place, and then for many other places for work etc. So, in that period, leaving an island to go 300 kilometers, or 500 kilometers in another town, was already considered like immigration. That means, I spent my life like an immigrant, because when we go, we live in three or four places, and every time we were considered like foreigners. So, I’m used to that, and I feel better in big towns. Because in the big towns, you are anonym, more anonym, and to me the freedom is to be anonym.

Keshav: And you have people of all different kinds in big towns.

Anonymous: All different kinds. One of the reasons I don’t want to go back to Tunisia, is to not be bored also, because I don’t like when there’s only one religion, one culture, one political party. No, in Tunisia now it’s democracy, but it was not always democracy. When I was in Tunisia, there was a dictator there, and there was only one main political party, the others were just there symbolically, and you could not talk about politics, etc. you could only talk about football. Football was the only topic, and I said I will boycott football and even now I don’t like football, because I stopped following football since I was young. I thought to myself that football was being used by the government to make people feel like they’re free or busy with something, because they were talking about football all the weekends and that was a very good way to make people quiet, you know, so, that’s why I said that I will not be manipulated with this, I will stop doing that.

Keshav: How about now? Do you still not like football?

Anonymous: I see the world cup sometimes, but I don’t like the salary that they are giving to footballers. You see, millions of euros, and we are participating in it by buying things, and through television etc. and tickets, to have ridiculous situation with millions of salary for one player, and someone who works all the day will have nothing. So, I don’t like this system of football.

Keshav: interesting! So it was very fascinating to know that you don’t like a place where people are made to believe in only one religion, one political system etc. Recently, you had elections in France and one of the candidates was of the idea that immigrants should not be allowed without checks. Keep your borders on closed watch. How do you feel about that?

Anonymous: So, I voted… yeah, I have double nationality, so I vote in French election and also for Tunisian election, and I voted for the left wing. So, the first time, I didn’t vote for this president, Emanuel Macron, I voted for Hamon, he’s from the socialist party. I don’t like all the socialist parties, but this person, Benoit Hamon, is a very nice person, he’s very open minded, he’s in the left side, and he’s really my best candidate, but he had only 6% in the first tour. In the second tour, we had the extreme right, and this president who created the new party, because in the beginning he was on the left, then he left the left wing and created a new party. So, he’s in the center, let’s say. So, I voted for him, because I didn’t have any other choice because the other person was Marine Le Pen, who is the extreme right. So, what is very sad is that the second person in France is extreme right, like in many other countries in Europe, which means extreme right is being very powerful in Europe. That means, in France, about one out of five people who vote think that extreme right is good.

Keshav: It’s becoming a trend in Europe that you have one strong political figure who opposes immigration. So if it doesn’t succeed now, probably people will get more inclined in a few years if these parties continue this rhetoric? What do you think?

Anonymous: You know, when there’s a crisis, everyone thinks that it’s from the foreigners. It’s the same thing what happened in the World War, there was some issue in Germany, and they said “Oh, the issue is coming from people who are different”. So, they selected the Jewish and said they are responsible for all the problems. Similarly, they are trying to find someone to blame for all the problems. In the past that was communism against capitalism, now the new topic is Islam against the world. So, all the extreme right people are talking about the dangers of Islam. For sure, they don’t know a lot of things about Islam, other than the fact that they don’t eat pork, don’t drink alcohol, but do terrorist attacks. The sad thing is that they don’t know, what I call the real Islam, which is very peaceful and has nothing to do with what you see now in television about Islam. In Tunisia, we had the same kind of attacks, terrorist attacks, and we didn’t say that they are Muslim, because the majority of people are Muslim in Tunisia, or we didn’t say that they are immigrants, or we didn’t say that they are Arabic. I mean, it’s some international problem. You know, last 20 or 30 years, there was always some terrorism attack in India or Pakistan, in Iraq or Afghanistan, but people didn’t talk about it, but now, when this problem has come to Europe, to America, people have started talking about it. But earlier when you would hear about 400 people killed in Bombay, it’s 20 seconds in the television, that too after all the other information, they talk “It seems something’s wrong, let’s talk 20 seconds” and they forget about it. But now when someone is killed, if one person is killed, they talk about it for two months in Europe.

Keshav: There’s nothing wrong in a country valuing each of its citizens – even if one citizen is killed, they make it a big issue – nothing wrong in that

Anonymous: Yes, that’s good. But what I don’t like is the fact that, it looks like one person doesn’t have the same value everywhere in the world. It’s a global problem, but it’s considered like, one American person is more important than 1000 Indians, or 1000 Pakistanis, or 1000 Palestinian. You know, this makes me revolting, because if you see the problem in the area, what about Palestinian problem? Since how many years they are having this situation?, and all the resolutions in the United Nation are not implemented, because of the veto of America, because of the Veto of… and for me, I believe that peace is possible between people, I believe that we should have, for example, in this area, two different countries, Israel and Palestine, and maybe after some time, we can make it into one country. I feel the Jews and Arabic are cousins, they have the same father, Abraham is the father of Israel and Ismail, that means he’s the father of Isaac and Ismail, so Isaac is the great father of Jews, and Ismail is the great father of Arabs who later became Christian and Muslim. And, you know that Abraham seems like a name that came from Brahma, so he was originally from India, it seems.

Keshav: Interesting. How do you feel about all the attacks, especially in France, which seems like the worst hit country by immigration?

Anonymous: Yes, I participated in the demonstration against terrorism in France, whenever there was some terrorism action, I was always in the demonstration against that, and to make the peace in the world etc. So yeah, it’s very, very dangerous period we are having now. I will say, my answer it’s like we have two possibilities, it depends, if you believe in God or if you don’t believe in God. If you don’t believe in God, you have some thousands of terrorists in the world who are saying that they are Muslim, and there’s one billion Muslim who are not terrorists, but, they want to say that all Muslims are terrorists. Now, if you believe in God, this terrorism attacks, are they looking to be something made by God or by the demon, let’s say, it’s more demon thing, No?

Keshav: Yes.

Anonymous: That means that demon is doing this to make bad image of Islam. What that means? It means demon is against Islam. So, demon is afraid of Islam and want to kill Islam. That means, that if you are believing in God etc. you should believe you should be with Islam against demon who is creating this kind of things. And you should encourage the real Islam about… for me the best image of Islam, one of the best images, is Sufism. I believe a lot in Sufism, because it’s very spiritual and it’s more universal and has nothing to do with politics and things like that. So, what we see in terrorism depends on whether you believe in God, in which case, logically, you should support Islam, because the demon is trying to make Islam appear bad, that means he’s afraid of Islam, and he’s using the last methods to convince people that Islam is bad. So, if you believe in God, you should consider that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, and there’s no sense to put all the Muslims in the same package, and try to say “We’ve closed the doors against Muslims or other people”, because it’s not possible. We have the same earth. We cannot make things forbidden etc. So, this is my opinion about that. And for me, I believe in God, so I believe that what’s happening is a political things etc. I believe that, maybe it’ll take a lot of years, but I hope that the real Islam will appear better, and when I say Islam, for me, the Islam is an Arabic word, that means ‘peaceful’. We cannot judge someone, because if someone is bad with you, you can judge how it’s bad, but you cannot judge someone with his face, because we are not inside his heart. Only God can judge, and you should respect everything, the life, even the stones, you should respect them, because the stones are better than us, in general. The stones don’t harm anyone. The trees are better than us. So, we should not consider ourselves better than another animals or trees or other objects in the world, you know.

Keshav: What a way to look at it. I wish more people think like that

Anonymous: I don’t know. At least I try.

Keshav: Let’s come back to your life. So, you’ve been traveling a lot in the past few years, right?

Anonymous: Yes.

Keshav: If, suppose, if you had to start your life all over in some other country right now, in some other city, which one would it be? I’m not saying you’d be forced to, or you have to go out of France, but suppose if you to choose one place that you’d want to go to.

Anonymous: Maybe Canada, maybe.

Keshav: Why?

Anonymous: Because Canada, it’s, let’s say, it’s a mix, that means, people are welcome to Canada, and they’re proud to be in Canada, because they see that people are good together, and it’s one example of a country where everyone can live and everyone is respected and I have been following the new prime minister in Canada, Justin Trudeau for many years, his father was prime minister too. So, he’s really very nice example of how a president can be, because he’s showing a lot of sincerity and he’s very open minded and tolerant with all, he’s present, when there is something like, national day of some community, he’s going with them, and he’s really very nice example, and Canada is a very nice example of a country where you feel good, and where it’s very peaceful, you can keep your wallet and come back in one hour and it will be there. The only problem is the weather, because six months, it’s minus 30, 40 degrees, but the life, you feel good, you feel very good there. But as I told you, for me, you should accept good and bad things in the life. That means, for example, for me, I am in love with Paris, I don’t want to move from Paris, because I feel very good in Paris, even if there’s some issues. It’s like when you are living with someone, you should not look for the perfect one, you should accept the faults of any place. By the way, the life is full of faults, that means, if you want only perfect life, this is not possible, that means, we are accepting to not be perfect, and this is the secret of our human beings; we are week, we are not perfect, but we can do miracles.

Keshav: It’s been an amazing time talking to you. In the end, would you like to say something to anybody who is reading or watching or listening to this interview? Anything?

Anonymous: The real thing in life is to try to learn how to love others. It’s just a school of learning to love, and you will not, when you will die, you won’t have anything with you. So, if you want to invest, don’t invest in the stock market, but invest in good action. When you do good action, do without calculation, no, you should not calculate. I believe in God, and I believe that God is very different, that means he doesn’t look like us. One human being created this phone, this phone doesn’t look like me, but its role is something that is needed by me, that I created it for something I need. So, I cannot say that this iPhone is similar to me. God who created Man, is very different, but you cannot love God if you don’t love other similar things, like another kind of phone etc. So, the life is an exercise to make people love the differences. So, if you love the differences, you will be able to love the big difference with God, but if you are not able to, if this iPhone is not able to love the remote control and these papers, that means if human being is not able to love black people, because they’re black, Asian people because they’re Asian, the trees because they are trees, the animals because they are animals, they cannot be in love with God. So, all this life is an opportunity to try to understand how to love the differences, so I will say to people, try to learn how to love the differences.

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