Sunday, 17 July 2016

WHAT HAPPENS TO WHISTLEBLOWERS




RUMI and a lesson for whistle-blowers.

I can’t resist retelling this little story:

The tiny gnats who lived in the grass were being continually flattened by the South Wind and blown into the grass so that they could not fly. After this happened several times the gnats became very anxious and decided to do something about their predicament.

The gnats asked for an audience with King Solomon. They told him they had a problem with one who was oppressing them and asked him to pass judgement on their adversary, for was he not the wisest and fairest of Kings? Their voices were very tiny and the King could hardly hear them, but he really wanted to help, as they had come to him for a judgement.

“Of course,” replied Solomon. “Just tell me who it is who is oppressing you. Give me the offender’s name.”

“It’s the South Wind,” replied the gnats, together. Solomon turned to his aide:

“I’d better see what he’s got to say for himself. He has to give his side of the story before I can make a judgement.” Then Solomon shouted to his servants: “Summon the South Wind.”

And the South Wind rose up, very angry and with great commotion and fuss and whirled into Solomon’s court. And he blew the gnats away and away, even deeper into the grass again as he arrived.

Rumi doesn’t say whether Solomon offered any judgement after this, because the complainants were nowhere to be seen. And my guess is that the South Wind was making too much noise for anyone else to he heard.


It still remains the case that those who wish to complain about the establishment or expose wrongdoing will not succeed unless they have a powerful advocate. Endless examples spring to mind. But maybe, just maybe, things are changing a little.