Uncle Best & The Beam Theory

A quick glance over the site stats reveal what we know to be true already – a lull of late. Many of you know, but on the morning of Feb 25th, my great uncle passed away… it was a huge loss, not just to me and family but to many communities, some links posted below. What I’ve included  is part of the thank you letter I sent out to everyone who offered condolences. Incidentally, I’ve been looking to get in touch with Olivier Brasseur without success. My UNFPA leads haven’t managed to trace him either. Any help would be much appreciated….

Bilkent News coverage Bilkent, History of an Idea (click on the 6th video down – its in English/Turkish) A glimpse of some of the condolences via  the International Childrens Center
The name Ihsan, may be translated to ‘beneficence’, which is defined as (of a person) generous, or doing good. Thus, with some friends here in Turkey, we would affectionately refer to my Great Uncle as Uncle Best. He smiled and chuckled when I shared this with him.

I would like to share with you an excerpt from a book of tributes compiled for ‘Uncle Best’ ‘In Honour of his 65 years of Service to Child Health and Education’, in 2003.

This piece was written by Olivier Brasseur, then UNFPA Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, titled Meeting in Kabul, but which I prefer to call, ‘the Beam Theory.’ I read this piece again, the day before my Great Uncle was laid to rest, and it gave comfort and a reinforcement to live a life of purpose, to do something that matters.

“I have a theory about God,” he (ID) said. “I discovered it when we were stranded in Gibraltar during the war. We were in a boat on our way to America, and from our cabin we could hear the submarines moving below us back and forth, travelling to and from the Atlantic.”

“What do you mean, you could hear the submarines?”
Yes, we could hear their engines or the noise of their propellers.” “Yes,” added Mrs Doğramacı, “we could hear them just below us, it was frightening.”
“You know,” said Ihsan, “I could not find any sense in what was happening. Where was God in all of that? I found the answer there in Gibraltar. God has nothing to do with this, but we humans, we do.”
“What do you mean?” I replied.
[ID] “I called it the beam theory…Yes I believe that when we come to this world we are given a beam. A beam of light that binds us to God.

“Dogramaci won’t stop up there either”

The beam is brighter for some, dimmer for others. But all of us have the same duty, to increase the brightness of the beam. When we die, our beam goes to someone else, who in turn will have to increase its brightness. All of us, from generation to generation are responsible for that beam, and for contributing to progress in this world. All of us, generation after generation, are responsible for improving our world. This beam has helped me ever since. What do you think of this?”

“You are a very good illustration of your theory. You have taken very good care of your beam, when I see all your achievments and all the distinctions that are displayed in your study. But what about war, famine? What did you think of the beam theory when you were in Sarajevo with Jim Grant? How does the beam fit here with a war that last more than twenty years, with a regime which forbade health care to women, which prosecuted and punished people for enjoying music?”
[ID] “The answer came a long time after Gibraltar, when I realised that each and every one of us has the choice of making the beam brighter or dimmer. I have seen many times people becoming selfish and turning dreams into nightmares, and others discovering a wealth in themselves and doing remarkable things for others….None of the beams are of perfect light.. [t]hey are very fragile, and we have to be very careful.”
…Next time I meet Ihsan, I shall tell him that the beam has another effect: when strong enough, it also provides energy to the beams of others.