Lord Gimme a Sign!

Two of three visits to the gym I heard this song by DMX. Last night, as I walked over, I heard the muzzein calling the faithful to prayer. It was comforting. (I hope it is not considered blasphemous for an unbeliever to feel so.) I had completed reading Brooks’ sympathetic treatment of Islam just a few hours earlier; some of its sentiments were still on my mind.
“I have learned to live by the rhythm of other people’s prayers,” she writes (225). Among other things, she has provided me with the clearest definition of democracy I’ve yet come across: a system that tolerates competing ideologies (190). Tracing the growing strength of fundamentalist Islamic movements through the 1980s and early 1990s, she charts the narrowing of acceptable public behavior &emdash; particularly for women, but also media in general. Brooks recounts the jailing of a newspaper editor “because his English-language newspaper runs a cartoon strip, ‘BC’, that the Saudi government deems heretical. The offending cartoon was a two-frame piece in which a Stone Age man stands on a hill and asks, ‘God, if you’re up there, give me a sign.’ In the second frame, the man is deluged with a sudden rain shower. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘ we know two things: He’s up there, and He’s got a sense of humor’” (227).
I’d say! No sooner have I gotten rested than its time to hit the road again. ­čÖé
“’Behold the turtle,’ [says] a caption under a whimsical drawing of the creature [on a bulletin board at a newspaper in Jeddah]. ‘He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out’” (167).

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