Thursday, 16 October 2014

Flickers of Hope

This is one from a series of short epigrams entitled: "Coffee House" inspired by Al Raqis.

1st draft.
It needs a re-write but at 1.30 am I need a break. The story could have been shorter and more succinct, but; sometimes things run on for longer than anticipated, as is necessary for the tale to emerge; to do it justice. Things develop in their own time and that is the time it takes. As the guru says; "When the time is right".

Flickers of Hope

Immediately my friend interrupted; "I was eating fruit a few days ago, it was not a fruit I had ever come across before. I do not know the name of it, something foreign I could not pronounce.” This coming from an immigrant drew smiles on pale faces. "From the outside it was really ugly looking; inside the flesh was soft like a…” He looked around to see who might be listening. The assertiveness and timbre of his voice was raised sufficiently to have cut off our agnostic friend who had began complaining about the insanity of the religiously brainwashed. “…I had never before tasted that flavour. It is so difficult to describe. Unlike anything of the traditional western pallet.” He looked directly into the eyes of the disbeliever. "I did not ever know before that I had taste buds in those places.”

He held his hand in what I have come to recognise as a flame position, an emulation of indian temple roofs, his fingertips all pressed together above the palm of the hand. Using the gesture to emphasise his point, fingers exploded outward like a flower opening. He performed it naturally as though untrained. Later in secrecy I mimicked the action and felt how rigid my bones to be. “Beautiful!” he exclaimed, fully rolling the word so that it explored a syllable for every petal. We were distracted once again by the shop owner grunting out a number.

Most of the onlookers failed densely to recognise the story as a defence of cultural tradition. I would not made any sense of it either had we not previously been discussing the merits of an education into such esoteric matters and how its journey changed a persons outlook on the world. Specifically he had been pondering the adverse; the noble mind of the primitive savage in Rousseau’s theosophy and how western culture appeared barbaric to students of learning.

We exited the chip shop, its oily fried cloud hanging in the street, blending with petrol fumes, dampening the cigarette smoke scent of crisp autumn air. Sweaty newspaper parcels of hot spuds squished heat into our fingers and through our jackets as we clutched them to our chests. Our agnostic companion was quiet, either thoughtful having forgotten the rant he had been attempting to establish like a foothold in our minds or gloomy from being interrupted.

We live during a time where Britain is once again being invaded, not violently but by numbers. People born into the migrant moslem holy empire are all over the world, except for Russia whose government claims it has no space for them despite it being the largest unified nation on the planet. Many who live in the urban zones of England claiming to fear the death of Britain as a Christian nation without recognising that to most Brits it has not been one for well over a century, if ever. I laugh and remind everybody that only a thousand years ago the indigenous Celtic religion which with my pagan dreadlocks I feel a closer affinity with, was exterminated violently by the invading Christian conquistadors; all across Europe.

The British Isle is historically a multicultural melting pot; ask any white person living in England what their ethnic origin is in greater detail than ‘caucasian’ or modern national descriptor, they will probably not know themselves whether they are Angle, Saxon, Norman, Norse, and so forth. Eight hundred years ago when the Magna Carta was created, the first British statutory document, based upon the Common Law of our Ancestors who in their wisdom recognised the only method of peaceable cultural coexistence and/or integration is by comprehending one another’s reference points.

My Islamic friend had discovered a way to do this through humour, but; it is an educated humour which is above the heads of most television programmed white Brits. In his own community he is respected for his wisdom, flecks of grey hairs in his beard revealing a transition from being a student to a teacher, from his lifelong study into literature. A passion for knowledge itself is not enough; it is the application of knowledge which is essential, otherwise what is its point?

We finished our chips at the bus stop waiting in the cold for a bus that did not arrive and decided to walk in our three respective directions home. As we ate we discussed the problems of insular societies and the abuse that goes on behind closed doors; how using mis-translations of books written a thousand years ago for stone-age peoples should not be permitted to justify human rights abuses today. Abdul frowned, finding it difficult to speak in derogatory terms and with non-moslems about the problem of Sharia as it is practised the world over; that it is not lived as it was originally intended. 
We resolved that somewhere in the cultural melange is the answer to necessity of change. We all agreed that the difference between wisdom and religion is vast. It is so for everyone; the things which we take for granted as everyday cultural normality, often we do not recognize to be abusive. This is surely as valid in western culture as it is in Islam. Perhaps this is something we can all learn from each other.

In our excitement to catch the bus we had left the chip shop without collecting our change and as a result, even between us we had not enough money for the bus fare anyway. Abdul’s parting shot as we departed for a brisk walk home left us with food for thought: “We do not have Usury in Islam, slavery is forbidden by God.”

No comments:

Post a Comment