I’m in New York, so posting will be very light this week. Tonight I’ll be reading with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. Here are the details:
Graduate Center at the City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
If you’re free, come on by and say hi.
We woke up this morning to news that men wearing Iraqi security uniforms walked in and detonated explosives, damaging the mosque almost beyond repair. It’s heart-breaking and terrifying. There has been gunfire all over Baghdad since morning. The streets near our neighborhood were eerily empty and calm but there was a tension that had us all sitting on edge. We heard about problems in areas like Baladiyat where there was some rioting and vandalism, etc. and several mosques in Baghdad were attacked. I think what has everyone most disturbed is the fact that the reaction was so swift, like it was just waiting to happen.
All morning we’ve been hearing/watching both Shia and Sunni religious figures speak out against the explosions and emphasise that this is what is wanted by the enemies of Iraq- this is what they would like to achieve- divide and conquer. Extreme Shia are blaming extreme Sunnis and Iraq seems to be falling apart at the seams under foreign occupiers and local fanatics.
No one went to work today as the streets were mostly closed. The situation isn’t good at all. I don’t think I remember things being this tense- everyone is just watching and waiting quietly. There’s so much talk of civil war and yet, with the people I know- Sunnis and Shia alike- I can hardly believe it is a possibility. Educated, sophisticated Iraqis are horrified with the idea of turning against each other, and even not-so-educated Iraqis seem very aware that this is a small part of a bigger, more ominous plan…
Several mosques have been taken over by the Mahdi militia and the Badir people seem to be everywhere. Tomorrow no one is going to work or college or anywhere.
People are scared and watchful. We can only pray.
Read the full post here. Words fail.
Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman, briefly glimpsed from inside the hatch on Lost, has sold more copies after its appearance on the show than in the last six years. Those of you who have read it: Any interesting theories you’d like to share? And, more importantly, how can I get my book in the hatch?
Someone asked me my age the other day and I honestly had to stop and wonder, “Wait, how old am I?” The fact that I never think about my age is either a sign of healthy aging, or a sign that denial is a powerful tool. My birthday is this Friday, which means I will have to remember, even for a day.
As a child, when I thought of Unitarians, I thought of pizza and women with big legs. My best friend across the street in Greenville, South Carolina, where I grew up, was Unitarian. One Sunday his family took me to their church, which was like no other church I had been to. I had had some inkling that it might be a little different because he had told me to bring my swimsuit and a towel, but I didn’t think anything could be much stranger than my own religious upbringing.
As a toddler, I had often accompanied my great great aunt and uncle to a small conservative Baptist church, where the preacher harangued, and I often screamed back in a kind of mutual and strangely satisfying hysteria. Then my father, who was from the Midwest and whose parents had been Christian Scientist and who had his own mystical leanings, decided we (at least my brother, my mother and I) should attend a Christian Science Church, while he stayed home and read the Sunday morning paper. At the time a Christian Science Church in a Southern town was a real anomaly, and when my teacher at school discovered I was Christian Scientist, she would ask me questions in front of the whole class like, “If you contracted malaria, would your parents give you quinine?” In my religious upbringing I had gone from fire and brimstone to Mary Baker Eddy’s murky mortal mind, from the heat of hell’s eternal furnace to the intellectual intricacies of Science and Health.
So the Sunday morning I accompanied my best friend’s family to a Unitarian Church I did not know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect that their church would be a house in a neighborhood. Didn’t even have a steeple. No crosses. When we went in, no one was dressed in Sunday clothes. Among the men, there wasn’t a coat or tie in sight. Many of the women had on slacks. There was one woman in shorts who had the biggest legs I’d ever seen. I was nine-years-old and hadn’t seen that many women in shorts. My mother never wore them. No mothers I knew wore them. I certainly had never seen anyone in church wear shorts. While no one else was wearing shorts that day, I had the suspicion as I looked around, that all Unitarian women had monstrous legs.
Migrants are now coming to Morocco from as far away as India, hoping to try their luck at crossing over to Europe.
In the latest incident, nine Indian migrants have been arrested in Ouled Settout near the northern Moroccan city of Nador, police said Tuesday.
The Indians were attempting to reach the nearby Spanish enclave of Melilla in order to cross over to mainland Spain.
Police recently held 70 people on charges of belonging to a criminal ring that brought Indians and Pakistanis through western African and Gulf countries to Morocco, which they were using as a gateway to the West.