Everything Comes To This
I'm disgustingly proud of this photo and felt the need to share it. I finally got to take my brand-new tripod (Thanks, Don) someplace and use it, and I got some lovely photos of St Cuthbert's Churchyard at night. Since it's usually locked up, I was very satisfied over all.
I was in the churchyard at that time of night because of the Fringe show I caught there. It was Vespers, sung in Russian, and it was beautiful. It's amazing how religious music can be so moving, no matter if you know what they're saying. It really felt like... well, like a choir of angels. I was reminded of a quote I read once in my history of Wales... "When we meet God, I'm certain he'll be speaking Welsh." I think, in the end, how faith and spirits move us is so entirely based on feelings and impressions rather than words.
Which may be why the Islamic festival left me with a bad taste in my mouth. There was a presentation yesterday on women in Islam, and it was very poorly done. I don't want to go into it too much here, but I was hoping for some real discussion and insight into the faith, the religion, the culture, and everything caught up in those things. I wanted it to talk about things that were important to women in that culture and faith. Instead, they chose two "poster-child" type women to speak about their experiences. Neither had ever lived in a different culture. At least one didn't read Arabic. Neither could answer any of the questions we had about Islam and women. Neither was a scholar. In comparison to the way the man's talk earlier in the week had been, it was frustrating. And whereas I can see why people may not want to stand up and talk about their faith in terms of questions that seem like instrusions... well, that's what it was billed as. That's what I expected from what the Mosque itself had advertised. I wanted more.
I spent a lot of time questioning things this weekend. I went to a talk about history in India and Persia, where the idea that the problems in the Middle East right now go back as far as things in Ancient Greece. That sense of divide between us and them goes back to Sparta. Points were brought up about resentment on the side of people who are "Eastern". I tried to ask if the speakers, both authors of recently-published books about the history of the region, thought this might be because the "authoratative" books on the history and culture of the area were both written by White, Middle-Class, Western, Scottish Men. I didn't get a satisfying answer.
I wasn't really surprised at that.
I was also surprised at one other thing: My passport returned from the Home Office. If I recall correctly from the last time this happened... things will start to move rather quickly from this point on.
I am so scared.... and so excited.