Friday, September 01, 2006


Decibels is such a lovely word - such melifluous euphony. It's a shame the reality can be so contrastive. Some butterfly has flapped its wings in Western Sumatra and now the political campaigning season for April 2007 has begun in decibielious earnestness. Abuja has sprouted a crop of dinky little vans with various presidential wannabees' posters plastered all over, megaphones stuck to the roof. Meanwhile, we live near to a northern state lodge whose Governor has a reputation both for harsh interpretations of Sharia as well as a taste for the extremes of epicurean experience.

For some difficult-to-fully-explain reason, I have always felt at home in Islamic cultures, without remotely being drawn to the religion itself. I love the abstract aesthetics (Zillij, ceramics etc), the love of water, the discreet functionalism of the design, and perhaps above all, the sound of the muezzin. I also love the colourful and highly significant history. Westerners owe a huge intellectual debt to the Islamic interregnum one thousand and more years ago, when all the classical learning was rediscovered and re-interpreted. Without the School of Baghdad, Cordoba and Toledo, the West would still perhaps be stuck in the Dark Ages, waiting for the invention of the zero. Perhaps nothing is more lovely to the ear than waking up in central Istanbul listening to the microtonal incantations to the Almighty from perhaps fifteen minarets.

That all said, the gutteral noise emanated from this particular state lodge near our house bears no relationship to the Islamic cultural world I am drawn to again and again. It is simply noise, and pointless noise at that. Its difficult to see how any of the Northern hopefuls stand a chance..


Shango,  9:38 pm  

Good that you know classical learning was "rediscovered"--ie. wasn't originally theirs; pity Islamic learning never evolved beyond 1000 years ago.

Anonymous,  11:14 am  

correction, the schools of Baghada, Cordoba etc preserved these classical learnings. It doesn't necessarily mean they were the originators. If we agree with you Shango then in a few years time people will say all the African treasures been held in Britain were not originally theirs.

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP