I tell you, those Latin speakers knew a thing or two didn't they? Tempus Fugit! Two words that despite their literal English translation covers a whole multitude of situations concisely. I mean, instead of writing "where the hell did the last two weeks go?" you would of course get my drift but I could get around it, incorrectly of course but hopefully understandably, just by saying tempus fugit.
So, in the two weeks since my last Blog I have been in Dubai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Istanbul and back to Hong Kong. It's just as well that my Egyptian colleagues came down to Dubai oaths occasion! To the seasoned business traveller, that shouldn't sound like much, but despite the time spent sitting on planes - and we can talk about the value of video conferencing on another occasion - preparing for meetings, reading voluminous Board Papers, Committee Papers, finding you've lost your internet connection, discovering another company that has nothing to do with your current business is in need of additional time - and already I'm exhausted just writing this far.
But ... this isn't the issue here and I'm off track already - twice. I was going to write about the Middle East situation today, but then while I was away there was a constant run of bad news. Prominent amongst it the awful atrocity that was Manchester, but good people do not for one minute think that is the end of it. I have said it before in these columns - "coming to a city near you", and while I fervently hope not, this is something we are going to have to deal with and solve. And I do mean solve, because it's not going to go away on its own, so we can suddenly wake up one morning and say - "great, it's over, we have won the battle!"
My time in the Middle East covering 50 years (in January 2018) fills me with hope and despair all at the same time.
The vast majority of Middle Easterners I know, out of which an equally vast majority are followers of Islam in whatever particular sub-group, are highly decent people who are as appalled by these atrocities as any normal person should be. Whatever the propaganda coming out of the terrorist groups says, Islam is supposed to be for peace. For an acceptance of the beliefs of others, be they Christian or Jew or Hindu. It doesn't matter what you are, and it shouldn't matter.
But after yet another attack - and forget all this "lone wolf" stuff, it is mostly a well-planned attack by a cell - it gives the anti-Islamists another stick with which to beat a largely innocent population. I am not an apologist for Islam. I respect their right to their beliefs, as we should respect the beliefs of everyone, and no one should think they have a duty to bully or force others to bend to an alternative belief.
I do confess to being puzzled though. Almost all of the atrocities being perpetrated at present are being carried out by members of one religion. The adherents to that religion, within their local communities are quick to condemn the actions of the few. If I was cynical of course (and I do admit to being generally of that persuasion), I would say it was in the community's interest to show disgust and act in solidarity with the people around them or they may themselves become targets of a vicious right wing and ultra nationalistic element that sadly is growing up in many places around the world.
But that is not the cause of my confusion. It comes from a concern that we never hear a strong outpouring of outrage for these incidents from people who, I imagine, could make a difference. Where are the leaders in the Arab world who are condemning these acts of terror? Where are the loud voices of reason from the religious leaders in Islam that would be heard? It hurts to even suggest this, but it is almost as if by their silence they are not too bothered by it all.
It is all being compounded of course by conditions in certain parts of Arabia. As someone from Libya has just said - "we are hungry and have no money - what do you expect is going to happen?" Unemployment amongst the young in a number of Middle Eastern countries is on the rise. Fertile ground for those "terrorist recruiters" who need to boost their forces. Also, they are being funded from somewhere and somehow.
I raise this with my Arab friends and colleagues - and they are as mystified as I am. Do they speak up themselves? Yes of course they do, although their voices are unlikely to reach the world stage. This needs real leadership to make a difference and real leaders to step up; this is not going to go away by just turning your back ...