Tikkun Magazine has a great interview with Adam Shapiro, the American Jew who has been struggling against the occupation in Palestine. He has “a simple message for American Jews: You can be a Jew, support Israel, but oppose occupation and oppression. If people stop and think about it, if American Jews were really to consider what and where their money was going to—for oppression and occupation—I think they wouldn’t support it.”
Thanks to Jeff Feldman for the link.
Closer to home: Referenced in the article is the participation in the International Solidarity Movement of twelve michiganders from the Michigan Peace Team, including two nuns from southeast Michigan. God bless them for their efforts.
Earlier in the year, John Conyers was very actively involved in the case of Rabih Haddad, even joining a lawsuit against the INS’s use of secret hearings. I was a little surprised that he was so strongly involved. A few months later, I get a new voter registration card in the mail: redistricting has given East Dearborn to John Conyers! I get Conyers instead of Dingell, and I didn’t even have to vote…
I’m working on a photo tour of my old neighborhood. If I wait to until it’s complete to put something up, I’ll never post, so here is the very first installment. Pump house, rouge river, interstate and the remains of Dad’s eco-action project all to come. Stay tuned.
So John Walker Lindh got twenty years. I’ve been fiercely ambivalent about him since his story broke: John, my evil twin brother. There’s a part of me that just wants to feel sympathy for a dumb kid who got in way over his head. When someone makes a mistake, it is good adab to make an excuse for them. When misfortune overwhelms someone, we sympathize by pointing to what was unavoidable about their situation. And certainly what we don’t choose in our life is greater than what we choose. But John, John is just too close for comfort. When he was front page news and they were condemning his poor parents, I couldn’t stop picturing myself in his place. Could I accept someone to say its my parents’ fault I’m a muslim, or because I had an open religious background, or because I was young? How insulting. I just can’t sympathize with John without insulting myself. John put his first foot in the right direction with his shahada. For what came after, he alone will have to account to God and the US Department of Justice.
On a related note, there is an awful tendency I’ve observed to apologize for “muslim” behavior by saying we cannot judge; God judges by intention and we didn’t know the person’s intention. True enough, final judgement is Allah’s alone. But niyyat does not exempt us from the rule of law. A thief who steals to feed his family is still a thief and punishable as such, though God may forgive his sin.
It gets worse.
The first jumah after September 11, the imam at the masjid I attended had the gall to exhort the audience not to judge the hijackers, since we didn’t know their intentions. Astaghfirullah. What intention could they possibly have had?! The feds can go ahead and wiretap the masjids if it’ll mean I don’t have to hear khutbas like that again.
I’m not a reader of poetry. But this poem was presented to me at my wedding by my grade-school teacher, Rob Huchingson, now dearly departed. I have treasured it ever since. If all you’ve ever smelled is cologne or that thin alcohol-laced stuff they sell to ladies at Marshall Fields, you can hardly appreciate the mystery and wonder of true ‘attar, scented oil, that Cavafy is evoking. It is ancient and magical, like pure gold, or fresh snow. The first bottle of musk I was given was a nearly empty vial, thick and black, barely able to drip out the mouth. It was purchased on a perfumists’ street near the Jama Masjid in Delhi, nearly 20 years before it was given to me. I received it like it was buried treasure, just unearthed. I still have it, mixed with a few drops of sweet almond oil to resuscitate it. Moving in Muslim circles, there is always the opportunity to come across new and sublime scents that Calvin Klein will just never know. Some I’ve rationed out because I don’t know where to ever find them again. Others, happily, are easily obtained.
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Raheem. Welcome to Bin Gregory Productions. I hereby inaugurate this weblog, which will be the means for BGP to keep the Kruszewskis, the Kysias, the Wilkie-Joneses and any other interested parties abreast of developments within the BGP community. This weblog is not yet ready for prime time. Please return often.