Choosing hope over fear

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.Nelson Mandela

It is common practice at this time of the year for many persons to make resolutions. The change from one year to another is seen as a momentous occasion by a great number of persons. As witnessed a few nights ago, many in Barbados joined people the world over in celebrating the change from 2016 to 2017. Some chose to go to church, others chose to go to parties while I am sure there were others who chose to do nothing, just simply watching as the time passed by.

What 2017 will bring is anyone’s guess, but usually there is an abundance of hope at this time especially if the previous year wasn’t as successful as one may have hoped it to be. I wrote on the subject of hope a few weeks ago when I reflected on Barbados’ 50th Anniversary of Independence. Again at this time on our calendar, hope comes to mind. I suspect many will have hope as they look at this new-year. But I equally suspect many will have fears.

What drives these two powerful emotions of hope and fear in human beings? There are perhaps many reasons but one important answer may be the lack of knowing what will really happen. We can predict based on certain parameters but we can never be absolutely sure. In life, there are so many probabilities and possibilities. I guess this is what makes life exciting. Invariably most outcomes are determined by what we put in to reaching the desired goals. That is why I find the above quotation and wish of the late Nelson Mandela so profound.

If the choices we make in life determines, in most cases, the outcome, then what emotions are those choices based upon? Are they based on hope or fear? I think human beings should have a healthy combination of both. Too much of one emotion or the other may not bring a proper balance to one’s character.

In my faith, we understand that human beings should live between hope and fear. From a religious point of view, it is hope of God’s pleasure and fear of His displeasure. It is, like some scholars say, the two wings of a bird. Both wings must function to bring harmony and flight.

2016 ended with much apprehension as to what 2017 will bring. Leadership will perhaps be a much debated topic in 2017. Political leadership as well as other forms of leadership. Leadership in all its forms has come under the microscope over the last year in ways that perhaps haven’t been before. Leadership in Barbados and leadership in many parts of the world including the so-called great democracies.

It is leadership that can and does evoke those emotions of hope and fear in human beings. Some leaders use hope to galvanize and to lead people. Those leaders evoke a passion in people to want to do better, to make choices that would bring about a better society and nation. Others leaders use fear. Their message is one that intimidates. It causes people to want to make choices based on fear of something or someone.

Many persons questioned and still question the success of Donald Trump at the polls in the United States of America in 2016. His message undoubtedly was one of fear. While his slogan was “Make America Great Again”, which should have been a statement of hope, it was premised on everything that was wrong in the US and fear of what will happen. This campaign so contrasted to President Barack Obama’s campaign eight years earlier when his message of hope resonated with the voters and won him not only the electoral-college votes but the popular vote as well.

I watched a documentary on Obama’s legacy recently and it clearly reflected on the hurdles he faced as President in getting his goals achieved. The documentary made the point that these barriers were put in place due to Obama’s ethnicity. Such systems are destructive and offer no hope. Those types of systems result in demagogues rising to power. 2017 and the coming to the Presidency of Donald Trump will be a time for much apprehension among the world’s people. His choices so far for key positions in the Government have certainly not allayed any of those fears.

The outcome of the Brexit vote in 2016 in the United Kingdom was another example of a fear message triumphing over hope. Fear of immigrants and ‘others’ not like you cause persons to make bad choices.

Fear is the trademark of terror groups and they have used it boldly in 2016. Equally racist political ideologies have used the fear created by such terror groups to sell their own twisted agendas. All hope seems lost in these battles.

On our island home, we will also look to political leadership for 2017. As elections draw nearer, the focus will be even greater. Will our leadership evoke hope that will help us overcome whatever our country faces or will despair overtake us? Hope can easily turn to despair and to fear if there is nothing to look forward to. If there is no light at the end of the tunnel, then one can easily give up or give in.

Leaders must bring hope to those they lead. If they bring only fear, then they are dictators. If leaders cannot invoke a genuine love and admiration from those their lead, then their leadership is by intimidation. And in this context I am speaking to all those who are leaders, from political leadership to everyday leaders. In the home, the workplace, the church, and any other organization that requires someone to take charge and guide it. We are all leaders and like shepherds, we all have a flock to guide and take care of, whether that flock is one or many.

Let us therefore resolve that while we acknowledge that both hope and fear have places in our emotions, our choices will reflect our hopes and not our fears.

Blessed 2017 to all.

(Suleiman Bulbulia is a Justice of the Peace. Secretary of the Barbados Muslim Association and Muslim Chaplain at the Cave Hill Campus, UWI. Email:

15 Responses to Choosing hope over fear

  1. Hal Austin January 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    This guy is a prankster. He is an Iman, the greatest treat in the world today is militant Islam, and it is the one subject he never rites about. Only last week we have a mass murderer going in to the Reina night club in Turkey and murdering nearly 40 people; problems in Belgium, Germany, France and other European cities feeling the tension of medieval murderers.
    Yet, the man given a column to explain Islam to us Christians fails every week.
    To my mind he is suspect; I believe he is a sleeper waiting to raise his game on instructions from his minder, ,whoever he or she is.
    Barbadians must take precautions against this kind of entryism.
    What the Iman must explain is the global war between Shias and Sunnis, and their proxy between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and tell us what he really thinks and which side is he on.
    To my mind, this omission means that he could be described as a political and religious fraudster. He is exploiting Barbadian politeness. Don’ trust him.

  2. seagul January 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Since the beginning of time, thousands upon thousands of men and women have ben crucified for their beliefs, their convictions, their love and their crimes and conspiracies. Some have been guilty and some innocent. Some were nailed to a cross and others were tortured. Mandela, Martin L King Malcolm X all believed like us in a merciful conscious God of whom we must give thanks and praises each day. One thing we can be certain of is that our social sensibility and conscience should guide us to what’s right and wrong. Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end. These business hustlers are void of spirit. Instead of tearing apart we should be building….Deeper Soul.

  3. Hal Austin January 4, 2017 at 2:50 pm


  4. seagul January 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    The same type of component that corrupt our politicians are the same type that corrupt our business men.

  5. jrsmith January 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    This gentleman is a Muslim and a Muslim is always a Muslim..this present world war is cause by Muslim terrorists , who is at war with themselves against the world…
    My friends and families living in the (UK) have no fears of racism, but fear on the street or if new neighbors move next door to us , because our new neighbour could be constructing bombs which can go of prematurely …
    I can see a time coming in the world when mostly people from the Muslim countries , in the UK , Canada and the USA wouldn’t be tolerated and would be deported back from whence they came…
    We in the west is living in la, la, land ,trying to bend over backwards to appease certain religious groups , people who just want to kill as many people as they can in the name of (Allah) this stupid talk of democracy , freedom of speech and human rights is taking us all down a very dangerous path..
    As its coming to past in the (UK) you cant say anything about gay people, Muslims or Jews, but you could say anything about black people , just say what you want to and give a simple excuse…
    Welcome to 2017……

  6. Jennifer January 4, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    @Jrsmith – So who is allowing people to say things about black people and allowing them get away with it????? This happens all over the earth because black people do the same thing (marching) with the same result. Black praying and the others preying.

  7. Jennifer January 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Look up enslavement of blacks and see that there were two enslavement of blacks, the whites took the west with that wickedness called Christianity and the Arabs took the east with Muslim, this is why you will see black people is mainly in either Christianity or Muslim. And the Arabs was equally cruel. There is a reason why black people with wholly hair, will wonder like sheep on a pasture without a Shepherd following every nationality there is.

    @seagul – you are wrong, they do have a spirit – an evil one without any remorse or compassion possible. There is so much we do not understand.
    ISIS was created and I wonder by who? and it ain’t the Muslim. BELIEVE ME WILL ALL BE ENSLAVED AGAIN.

  8. Jennifer January 4, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Jrsmith – Look up Jews – kazarian empire. And then look up true Jews on U TUBE. I guarantee you will be shocked.

  9. Nathaniel Samuels January 4, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Hal, You are like those who put fear into other people just like Donald trump and Hitler. Remember what we got from the latter. Why can’t you believe that someone who practices the Muslim faith can be a good and decent person? I have many Muslim friends and I know that they are genuine and would do much more for me than a lot of the many Christians friends I have.
    This is 2017, let peace reign and let us be optimistic and trusting in our fellow brethren

  10. Hal Austin January 5, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Like you I have a number of Muslim friends, all of them decent and honest people. The vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding, decent and integrationist.
    But here we have an Iman who sets out to explain Islam to a largely Christian nation. Yet he ignores the tensions and violence largely taking place in the Middle East, or involves Muslims in Europe and North America, a global proxy war between the Shias and Sunnis.
    By avoiding these issue I believe he is being deceptive which raises the question why?
    Christianity too has had its problems: Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, for example, the Evangelicals in the US.
    Remember, radicalisation can take place on the internet and young people, many of them teenagers, are much better at the internet than their parents.
    Do we have any fundamentalists in Barbados?
    Good security is based on the precautionary principle, not wait until an incident takes place then saying, like the Trinidadians, that it should not have happened here.
    I also raise questions about finances. Muslims do not believe in investing in profit-driven vehicles, but in what are called Sharia-compliant products. Barbados does not have any official Sharia-complaint investment vehicles.
    This may well explain the suspicion that most Muslims in Barbados deal in cash. If they do, then this has tax implications.
    I have seen how Britain has been transformed over the last 50 years, with districts not being recognisable. In some areas there are more mosques than churches.
    When a new community settles in a new country, the basic principle is not to transform that country in to the one they have just left – they could have stayed at home if that was the case – but to integrate in to the new society. In other words, become Barbadians, not try to turn Barbados Muslim.
    We cannot as a nation bury our heads in the sand and pretend our Muslims are different to the ones in Germany, Belgium, France, Turkey, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Britain, the US, Scandinavia, Egypt, East Africa, Nigeria, Spain, Italy, Syria, Australia, et al.
    I will end on two stories, both of which appeared in the Nation: a few years ago a young Muslim girl ran away from home and was believed to be with a young black lad; read the comments made by her father about that incident, a man living in a majority-black country.
    More recently a Muslim teacher at the community college got married to a Barbadian convert to the religion; read her comments about the abuse she received from her own community. To my mind these are warning signs.
    In London there is a split in some mosques between traditional Muslims and black converts, based on colour and ethnicity, this too is part of the narrative.

  11. jus me January 5, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Black Black Black all I hear is black.

    We ALL are ALREADY enslaved and will become even MORE enslaved and controlled.

    We are just stocks , Cattle, revenue producing units, belonging to a very clever farmer, used at his wishes, kept as his desires, destroyed as HIS circumstances dictate.

    We are merely OBJECTS that create wealth and more Wealth for our Masters .

    Our life quality merely reflects the level at which The Master Class, squanders the revenue we produce and OUR abilty to produce that wealth.

    The only WORLD crisis there was, was not of our making, it was of theirs .
    It was a CRISIS of The Master Classes , in that our numbers , taking US as revenue producing units, had been falling rapidly, i.e. more retirees, read that as NON revenue producers, than new revenue producers, Read as units born .
    Whereas the absolute GREED of the MASTER class was increasing exponentially .

    Put bluntly, the Master Class were Squandering at a level, far above OUR revenue producing supply ability.

    So therefore we had to be SUBJECTED to CRISIS, to AUSTERITY, ZERO interest rates.
    Our Masters understood that we STILL HAD revenue they could take from us , i.e. the return on what little saving we had.
    Just take that at a 5% annual return for us, that we had taken and The AUSTERITY took for THEM ,40% PLUS of what little we had gleaned after a life of hard work, read that as enslavement.

    You read of Money Laundering.
    Now you see , more money controls.
    Which soon will become De moneterisation.

    NO CASH, all plastic.
    You will soon be asked to SWIPE a card for everything , FINALLY ,then at birth we shall be micro CHIPPED .
    This will be the FINAL LINK in the CHAIN of TOTAL slavery, TOTAL control by the Master CLASSES of US, their revenue producing units.
    The Master Class will then have TOTAL CONTROL of US, the NOW TOTALLY ENSLAVED revenue producing units.

    As we wave our Micro chipped hands over the reading device at the bank , or supermarket or Gas station to pay for what we are consuming to provide the revenue for the Master Classes ,WE , GOOD BYE,

    Imagine that you disagree or complain or stand up and speak out ,against the likes of our Dear SLEEPY, in his total arrogance of you, his Revenue Producing unit.
    He will be able at the touch of a button to disable your micro
    chip and THEREFORE cut you OFF from life.

    Do away with the idea that we are people, because WE ARE PEOPLE, ONLY in OUR minds, to the Master Classes we are simply calculable units for the production of THEIR wealth.

  12. jus me January 5, 2017 at 4:13 am


  13. seagul January 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Hats off to Bishop Desmond Tutu. More noble laureates, scholars, religious leaders, famous artists and like should now speak out and ask for accountability. The world should not allow the senseless killing of a million plus innocent humans to be forgotten or forgiven.
    “Former US President and seven key members of his administration as well as Tony Blair were found guilty of war crimes by a War Crimes Tribunal in the Malaysia. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.The trial heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.”What remains now is for a court to issue warrants of arrest.
    Who started the first world war ? Muslims ? Who started the second world war ? Muslims ? Who killed about 20 millions of Aborigines in Australia ? Muslims ?? Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? Muslims ?? Who killed more than 100 millions of Indians in North America ? Muslims ?? Who killed more than 50 millions of Indians in south America ? Muslims ?? Who took about 180 millions of African people as slaves and 88[[]%] of them died and was thrown in Atlantic ocean ? Muslims ?? No , They weren’t Muslims!!! First of all, You have to define TERRORISM properly… If a non-Muslim does something is crime. But if a Muslim does the same..he is terrorist… So first remove this double standard…then come to the point!

  14. Hal Austin January 5, 2017 at 4:20 pm


    All this is fine. But it does not negate the need for the Iman to explain from his point of what is taking place now. No apologies, no referring back to history. We too can go back to the history of slavery.

  15. seagul January 6, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Social media is designed to make moral decadence even more widespread than it already is and plunge people into a state of darkness. And now life has become more meaningless for those especially eking out an existence. There is lesser stimulation to be educated, to be inspired. It leads to frustration because of the narcissts exalting themselves over earthly possessions that they have managed to get. Much of the perverse videos and propaganda being broadcasted are the reflection of sadness and gloom that now prevails. What’s taking place has all been orchestrated. Those with modicum amount of critical thinking can see this…read more.


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