Flavin’s Corner
11-16-01*

*God Save the Queens

Ramadan-a-ding-a-dong

This year’s Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, begins Nov. 16 at sundown.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.  As the Islamic calendar is lunar based and depends upon a visual identification of the thinnest first crescent after an invisible New Moon to officially start the month, and weather conditions sometimes make an actual sighting difficult, Islamic months usually begin a day or two after the New Moon.  So, the New Moon occurs this year on the 15th, and Ramadan is expected to begin the 16th, 17th, or perhaps the 18th.  Lazy money bets the 16th.  Ramadan-a-ding-a-dong.  How and why should this effect those who don’t follow the Islamic calendar?

Well, it shouldn’t.  Are Jews expected to behave differently during Lent?  Christians on Yom Kippur?  One would expect folks to behave themselves everyday, not just on certain days.  It’s believed Rabbi Hillel (c.60 BCE - 9 CE) once said, “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.”  The ethic of reciprocity is known to Christians as the “Golden Rule” from Matthew 7:12 (often paraphrased as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”).  In a deuterocanonical work (also found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, attesting to its early priority), Tobit 4:15, the admonition is: “What you hate, don’t do to someone else.”  The ethic of reciprocity is universal, basic, and essential to all.  Ramadan-a-ding-a-dong.  Should we behave differently because we’re at war? 

Nope.  Gen. Washington began his attack on the British and Germans (nee Hessians) at Trenton, NJ on Christmas Day, 1776.  The Soviets invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Day, 1979.  Death never takes a holiday.  Many Vietnam vets remember Tet, the lunar new year celebration, in 1968 and the truce which was negotiated.  The so-called “Tet Offensive” is regarded as the turning point in the Vietnam War.  And Egypt and Syria attacking Israel on Yom Kippur, 1973?  When it’s war, holidays are what others enjoy.  We’re at war.

Our war against terrorism is just beginning.  With every passing day there’s probably justice, injustice, opposition losses, as well as innocents and innocence lost.  The Al Qaida network and Osama will hopefully be ...disabled soon.  The Taliban?  Punks with guns.  Yet, the two Christian chicks from Waco, Texas, who were arrested for attempting to spread a religion other than Islam, are now safe.  Some refer to their transfer from Afghanistan as a “rescue” and credit our U.S Special Forces, the Red Cross, and the Northern Alliance.  Who knows?  However, let’s be clear that the Waco chicks are probably liars, and guilty as accused by the Taliban of attempting to spread a religion other than Islam in Afghanistan.  The arrogance of Christianity in Waco is apparent from the web-page of the church the chicks belong to: “We are a body of Christians committed to passionately loving Jesus Christ, each other, and those who do not yet have a relationship with Him.”  Do not yet have a what?  Such arrogance! [Note: More on arrogance here.]

On behalf of those who think Jesus-dude had some good ideas, but maintain nothing but contempt for those who selfishly abuse those good ideas, I thank the Taliban for not harming the two Waco Christians and the other so-called “aid-workers.”  You could’ve, maybe should’ve, but you didn’t, and that’s something I never believed possible.  Now, put down your weapons, shave, watch a romantic comedy and promise you’ll never hurt others who don’t believe what you do.  Ramadan-a-ding-a-dong.  Remember the pacifist broadside from John and Yoko; “War is Over.  If you want it.” 

Top Ten things for non-Muslims to avoid during Ramadan:

10) A mid-day rendezvous with your wife at a local Ramada Inn and telling her to wear something from the new Victoria’s Secret naughty burqa line. 
9) Listening to talk-radio or NPR at work. [Note: Okay; so even after Ramadan.]
8) Starting the morning with a Prozac Weekly and a shot of scotch rather than an Egg McMuffin. 
7)  Salah (daily prayers) in the nude.
6) Mentioning to anyone that Rambo IV could be better than the last half-dozen Sly movies.
5) Smoking Blonde Lebanese on your coffee-break instead of Afghani Black.
4) Bidding more than $20 for #19 (Osama bin Laden) of the Topps ‘Enduring Freedom’ playing card series on E-Bay.
3) Power-lunches at Hooters.
2) Beginning a grass-roots movement to get a Harry Potter fatwa declared.
1)Going back for seconds of the sausage stuffing on Thanksgiving Day!

The Concert for New York City, the Oct. 20, 2001 benefit Paul McCartney put together, is set to be released as a double CD set on Nov. 27th.  Sure, in the selecting of what songs to include some great moments will probably be passed over to give space for some not so great ones.  I video-taped the entire concert, so it shouldn’t matter to me if a Clapton or a couple of The Who songs get left out.  Yeah, I got the whole concert on tape...  So, the day after the concert I was talking with my brother and he mentioned the VH1 pre-show special featuring Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) singing an a cappella version of “Peace Train.”  Pre-show?

I was a fan of Cat Stevens.  Then, he became a Muslim, changed his name, and left popular music.  Fine; to each their own.  His support of the fatwa against novelist Salman Rusdhie broke my heart.  On the VH1 pre-show special he claimed he was misrepresented.  He said those who follow Islam believe in peace.  Cat Stevens (born Steve Georgiou), now known as Yusuf Islam, fucked up when he supported the fatwa against Rushdie.  Now, he’s not only fucked up, but a liar as well.  He’s got serious problems, but then don’t we all.  I appreciate that he sang “Peace Train” after all this time.  Maybe there’s hope for him yet.  Ramadan-a-ding-a-dong.  Maybe there’s hope for us all.


Autographed lyrics for "Peace Train" available on E-Bay;
used in his recent On the Road to Find Out four-CD box set.
Click here for more.

Click here for a web-page which features a poor quality video of “Peace Train” and a good quality audio interview which features “Peace Train” at the end.  A nod to Chris from The Greenwich Village Gazette for providing the link.

Giving thanks,
Rick

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