sex, war, conversion

May 15, 2011

In our previous post, we alluded to pornography and political assassinations.

Since the acknowledged demise of Osama bin Laden, I have been drawn, yet again, to the invariants, to the repetitions, to traces.

A recent inter-communal violence in Egypt was twisted into a particularly melodramatic spike by rumors that some Christian woman was attempting to convert to Islam, but was prevented by her co-religionists. Which reminds me:

In Salonika, in 1876, the French and the German consul were killed by a crowd, when a Christian girl was likewise prevented from conversion. (Arguably, a forced conversion). One of the ironies was that the Frenchman¬† and the German were just passing by, whereas the American vice-Consul, who actively aided the girl, stayed unharmed. (see page 160 of Mazower’s book).

Aleksandr Griboyedov was a Russian statesman, as well as author of a famous play (see Khrushchev quoting from it), and a famous waltz. H e was killed in Tehran, in 1829, after aiding an escape of an Armenian eunuch and two Armenian concubines from the royal harem.

After the WWII, there were numerous marriages between US soldiers and German women. I don’t recall hearing of a single instance of the same happening in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Rapes, sure. But not marriage. I wonder why.

Regarding the French ban on veiling. In the new biography of Malcolm X, Manning Marable ( lamentable, deceased days before publication of this his life’s major work) mentions (page 21) that

In January 1923, the anti-KKK coalition petitioned Nebraska’s state legislature to outlaw citizens from holding public meetings while “in disguise to conceal their identities”…The bill easily passed the state house… but failed to gather the necessary two-thirds majority in the state senate, where Klan supporters ensured its failure.

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