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Thursday, 26 September 2013

A Conversation, two Cultures, Jihad.

Latish Thursday  night.
"Why? Because he said he'd rip my head off, and pull my lungs out through my neck. That's why". The boy explains to me why he is not speaking to my husband. I splutter wordlessly.  He tells me it's not funny. I tell him it's the way he said it. " It's the way HE said it" he volleys back.

Early Tuesday morning
"I can't be dealing with this stuff first thing, I need calm, a soothing cup of tea, I will be off kilter  for the day now. It's the way you put it."  "No, Babycakes.  It is the way YOU put it". "Um yes. Maybe. But. What about the stuff he said to me BEFORE I put it. What about that. And anyway I bloody well will. And besides he knows quite well I didn't mean it".

A little later whilst sipping  Tea.
"The thing is darling man we simply must not indulge in these deadly little exchanges. These bloody ripostes.  THEY can, we can't. Ever. It's, basically,  inappropriate. Yes. It is. AND counter productive.We  Never Forget about the immature Frontal lobes. "Huh"?  "Yeah, feeling, sensation, ready and done. Judgement, rationality, still cooking, needs more time. You gotta keep the adult hat on till the mid twenties, baby. So. Never mind what he said, you say only measured things  Consistency and calm. Firmness, kindness, tolerance. Oh and a canny blind eye in  some things.

As he reaches to switch on the Radio.
"Yes. But, I want it on the record that nobody ever allowed for my frontal lobes. Or anyone else's  I knew. And all my major life choices were made by my mid twenties.  I mean people used to have families by then. Jobs. In the olden days, in a land far away people were hurtling towards middle age by then.

While Sean O'Rourke introduces his interviewee Mr Taufiq.
 "Ah,  yes, and look where they were going baby. The graveyard. And here are you in the prime of life, having it all; three vigorous teens to riff with,  rude good health to play with,  food in your belly, red wine in your wine rack,  and my obliging self  on a loop.. All you have to do is lay down your verbals,  your snappy cartoon violence, and suffer the teenagers. Gracefully".

And so we subside exhausted,.and listen with growing incredulity to that interview with the neurosurgeon  whose wife and  children were murdered in a house fire a few days before.  Listen as he talks with vim and singlemindedness  about his Muslim faith, his rigorous religious rearing of his children, the support and magnificence of his Muslim mates, his fine work colleagues, and so on and so on and so on. O'Rourke is dogged in his attempt to steer him back to the personal, the intimate, the private.  But how will he feel,? won't he be alone?  Nope. No. Faith will sustain him.  But....   Shehnila,  Zainab,  Jamil,  Bilalm,  they will sustain him too?. O'Rourke verges on the shrill.  That ball also drops dead at the good doctor's feet and the interview ends

As  I swing a leg out of bed, I think of emotional incontinence, of a culture feeling the necessity to wallow in, to finger over the pain of others. And a religion that extracts and devours the personal, the individual, from its followers. I wonder if the first  imbalance is preferable to the second. Probably. On Tuesday I read of the White Widow, the Irish woman allegedly leading the charge in the bombing of a shopping centre in Nairobi. I wonder what our eastern brethren the Jihadists think of Frontal Lobe maturity as they hurtle towards middle age and Alllah,  propelled by the mad energy of eternally half baked teenagers.  Arrested essentially..