His diet of worms and other delicacies
Bali, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
THERE’S a great deal of misinformation about on the issue of Sharia law, particularly in western countries. So when Ubud identity Darsih Gede passed along a handy brief from a long-time friend, an American woman married to an Indonesian Muslim, we thought it would be good to share.
Here it is:
“If you are anyone who feels fear when you hear the words ‘Sharia law,’ or interpret it to mean that something is coming to get you, or will be imposed upon you, I really hope you’re listening.
“Time for a little ‘Sharia Law 101’:
” 1. All Muslims believe in Sharia law.
“2. No. 1 is true because Sharia law is the religious law governing the members of the Islamic faith; it is formed by what it written in the Quran (Muslim holy book) and in the Hadiths (reports describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad).
“3. Do not confuse Sharia law with the laws that exist in countries that call themselves ‘Islamic’ or happen to have a Muslim majority: Absolutely not the same thing. For example: the fact that women in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to drive has nothing to do with Sharia law or Islam; it has to with men trying to control women under the guise of religion just like they try to do in various ways in the United States.
“4. Part of Sharia law (Al-Baqarah 256, from the Quran) states that ‘There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.’
“So, to summarise: Sharia law is something that Muslims follow willingly, and no one can force you to become Muslim (aka: someone who believes in Sharia law).
“It would be great if people from other religions wouldn’t attempt to force people to follow their religious leanings by attempting to legislate their views into civil laws that are applied to the masses, especially in a country like the United States, wherein religious freedom is supposed to exist.
“Thanks for listening. ~ A Muslim (aka: someone who believes in Sharia law)
“Note: Please, find a Muslim and ask them questions instead reading articles from Fox News and/or listening to what uninformed people like Newt Gingrich have to say about Islam. They have no idea what they are talking about, ever.”
That’s a message that needs to be heard far more widely than only in the USA, where a tidal surge of untreated dyspepsia has just been converted into bother boots under the big desk in the Oval Office.
THERE is something seriously wrong with the newly inaugurated 45th President of the United States. It’s not his policies that worry me in this instance, though many of them seem to be based on a Locker Room-Neocon-Robber Baron belief that the clocks can be turned back to earlier imagined eras of American capitalist supremacy and gross private wealth and some are frankly execrable.
It’s his behaviour. Half a million invisible people were at his inauguration. He lost the popular election by 2.5 million ballots because undocumented aliens and other illegals didn’t vote for him. The CIA loves him to death and he took along his own cheer squad to demonstrate this when he visited Langley. All three of these things are plainly delusional. He has senior people on his staff whose fortitude doesn’t extend to being able to tell him so, and who, moreover, will tell lies for him. That’s a real worry.
Perhaps it wouldn’t matter if he were just another Idi Amin intent on gazumping some poor little country somewhere that no one really cares about, even if they should. And we all understand the political imperative to deliver something that will make the people hum, since, as a lovely old ditty puts it, the alternative is to vanish with a boot up the bum.
But it’s America we’re talking about: the place some people still think of as the leader of the free world.
At this point in the Trump presidency the best policy is still to laugh. It’s his Beer Hall Moment, even though his oratory gets nowhere near the exclamatory splendour achieved by a certain murderous malcontent of Central European origin and late gross notoriety.
A beer hall rant is something the duplicitous Trump might manage. He’d be a sorry failure at a Nuremberg rally.
His trade policy, which during the election campaign was taken by the duped masses to mean he’d bring factories and jobs back from China where successive American governments and multinational corporations had sent them, risks a trade war with China.
This in turn creates risk for other nations rather closer to the locus of China’s acquisitive predispositions than the USA, and, in turn, may prompt political responses that (to take up the point a late Japanese emperor made in his surrender broadcast at the end of World War II) may not develop to our advantage.
His Mexican wall policy is risible, though it’s of less concern globally than other aspects of his Bonfire of the Vanities platform.
We could go on. But we’re not quite ready for Seppuku, our hara-kiri moment, just yet, so we won’t.
Except to have a lovely laugh at a report that a Native American nation in Arizona whose traditional lands include 120 kilometres of Mexican border won’t be allowing the POTUS to erect his ridiculous wall along it.
Not So Bad
WHEN sometimes it may seem that one’s life is a mess, or at the very least, is conflicted, it is useful to have friends in far more interesting places.
An acquaintance who works in West Africa and who seems to spend a deal of time in Burkina Faso advised yesterday that he had just checked in (again) at the Hotel Splendid in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital city.
“Bullet holes have been removed now,” was his laconic situation report. We shot back a note: “Splendid!”
Rice Field View
WE made a brief foray to Ubud this week, to stay with an amusingly lovely French friend who – we discovered – has a fondness for North African music, which is right up our alley. Her house, in the rice fields and just completed, is up an alley too. The Diary’s trusty mini-SUV just made it through, in L for go really slowly, exterior mirrors retracted.
It’s lucky we were staying the night. The little thoroughfare back to the main road might have been a challenge on a rainy evening after a glass or two of red. It was eminently negotiable the next afternoon, by which time enough restorative coffee had been taken. Though we did take the precaution of switching on the iPod’s drive-time playlist to drown out the Distaff’s exclamatory outbreaks.
On the way home through the mayhem of pre-Gong Xi Fa Chai traffic we decided to extend our French experience. We stopped at La Tartine on the bypass at Sanur for refreshments dans le style français. The scrambled feta salad was wonderful (the Distaff had quiche Lorraine) and we were quite unable to resist trying the Unicorn Poop afterwards, as a shared desert. You really can’t beat the French for chocolate cake.
Back to Work
WELL, that’s in the notional sense, since we are retired gentlefolk who live quietly and whose singular mission is to fail to ripple anyone’s pond. But being of Australian provenance, one of us fully and the other by long adoption, we’ve always found it difficult to get back into harness until Australia Day has come and gone, which it now has.
It is celebrated on the same date that India celebrates its Republic Day. Perhaps this secretly inspires Australian non-monarchists, those chaps who are always looking for an excuse to fast-forward a forthcoming inevitability. Patience is not a public virtue in these days of instant crowd-funded issues.
Anyway, this weekend has been set aside for quill sharpening and post-it noting. Focused scribbling has recommenced.
WELCOME to the year of the Red Rooster, aka Fire Rooster. If flaming roosters of our acquaintance – these include the Distaff – can get through it without setting their tail feathers on fire, good luck to them.
The other occupant of The Cage has just managed to survive his Year of the Monkey. It is surely a cruel joke that our zodiacal challenges should be consecutive. Thank goodness there are 12 years between run-ons. Or run-ins.
Hector writes a monthly diary in the Bali Advertiser. His next appears on Feb. 1.