Seeing Florida’s legislature take quick and decisive action to post signs in all schools stating “in God We Trust” as a response to the latest massacre reminded me of a precious lesson I learned over a decade ago in the Middle East. It started with a simple phrase, “bukrah inshallah” and ended with inaction. And the parallels here slapped me in the face.
Years ago I was somehow charged with helping to oversee upgrades to a set of schools sites with new technology and modern designs, so called “schools for a new era.” Every afternoon we would tour the sites, not nearly enough work was being done to be ready for opening, and we would meet with the contractors, and it was always “bukrah inshallah, bukrah inshallah”—which means roughly, “tomorrow God willing,” but bukrah also can mean “in the future.”
Every day, the same thing, “bukrah inshallah,” and not enough work getting done as the days ticked down to the first day of school. At one point one of the more forthright schools leaders pulled me aside and said, “you know what this means, bukrah inshallah?” Proud of my fledgling Arabic, I was like “yeah, tomorrow God willing.”
He laughed, and says, “it means that hopefully God will do this work for you, because this man is not going to.”
So yeah, I guess kids in Florida can hope that their trust in God will protect them, because their legislators certainly won’t.
Bukrah inshallah indeed.