Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Barry Udall, The Lonely Polygamist, Immigrants and Fleas


Barry Udall's novel 'The Lonely Polygamist' is getting raves for its sensitive portrayal of a polygamist who has an affair, and the trials and tribulations of his lonely wives and even lonelier children. And it is sensitive. And well written, especially the parts about grief incurred by successive miscarriages and the death of children. With all this sensitivity going for it, I'm finding it very hard to come up with excuses for the following passage. But, really, is there any excuse good enough, or of value, in likening immigrants to fleas?


By the time he made it to St. George, the fleas had begun to stir. They'd
been laying low, like immigrants getting used to the neighborhood, but now that
they'd acclimated, picked up on the local language and customs, they were on the
move and causing trouble. Anywhere there was hair, they congregated: in the vast
prairies on his cheeks and belly and the forest that covered his scalp. In
particular they seemed to be making themselves comfortable in the crack of his
ass.
page 413 hardcover.
As my nine year old would say 'this is just wrong!' Excreable, more like it. How did this odious passge bypass an agent and an editor and the many readers before it arrived in stores.
Of course, I read the novel, but no matter how good a work, it is not going to convert me into being comfortable with polygamy, be it Mormon or Muslim. The last chapter in The Lonely Polygamist where a fifth wife joins the fold in a marriage ceremony, certainly pushes quite a few buttons.


Monday, May 10, 2010

What the fuck is wrong with Faisal Shezad?


Faisal Shezad swore the pledge of allegiance to the U.S., then turned around and put a bomb in Times Square. Really, what is wrong with people like him? I say people like him because he is not people like me, though many in the U.S. might see us as the same: he's from Pakistan, I'm from Pakistan. He lived in the States. I live in the States. He is Muslim. I'm from a Muslim background. And yet Mr. Stupid Shezad and I are universes apart. So, like other humans watching Mr. Shezad's stupidity unfold on TV, I want to know exactly what is wrong with Mr. Stupid Shezad?

Please don't say he's angry at America. Or that America deserves it. Or that he's disillusioned. Or that America deserves it. If you really want to change the world, or do something about anger towards American foreign policy or Starbucks' ridiculous coffee prices there has to be a better way then boming Times Square or any Square.

It actually makes me very angry that Mr. Shezad applied for citizenship and got it then abused it. If you're pissed about the state of Pakistan, please, get out of the U.S, return to Pakistan and stay there and do something about poverty, education and no electricity. Spreading terror in your recently adopted country is not going to help the mess your birth country is in. Seriously between the likes of Faisal Shezad and the recent Arizona immigration laws whereby the good and fair police can stop anyone who looks like an illegal worker (does this include blonde, blue eyed and white-- if so then I've got nothing to worry about), the likes of me is not happy with the birth country or the adopted country.


Here are two very excellent points of view on Stupid Shezad.