Monday, 5 March 2007

It ain't necessarily so

I was loaned a tape of a talk of one who has worked in Bangladesh on and off for 30 odd years. Whilst still identifying herself as an outsider she had some interesting reflections to make on matters we don't readily understand.
She notes for example that when Carey first translated the Bible into Urdu he was unaware of dialectical variants between Hindus and Moslems. Which are significant.
She noted for example that Carey was advised by an Hindu and used the Hindu variants for theological language. Thus translating the word "pray" the Hindu word means to "bow down" as in ..bow down to an idol... which is of course anathema to Moslems , thus failing to realise that a stumbling block had accidently been put into place.
She noted also that Bangladeshi converts to the Way were not keen to be called Christians...because that word has about it the hidden cultural connotations..pork eater, drinker and womaniser. Another observation concerned some of the current political dogma, which I must admit has bothered me, and that is that the presnet political orthodoxy is that Democracy is the highest form of all government.
You could have a good argument about that.
But what is often now the case is that Imperialist US and Imperialist UK joined by the little cousin wagging our tail is now going about using the road to democracy as justification for almost everything.
We invade Iraq to establish democracy.
We tie foreign aid to the establishment of democracy.
We beg the question about how our form of democracy works.
Does for example American democracy deliver health care for the poor in the US?
Does democracy provide shared wealth for society? Or do only the elite share in that particular largesse.
Does 'democracy' mean that everyone can influence the politiocal process, or only those at the top of the tree?
Does 'democracy' actually discourage ideology and replace it with popularist dogma (bread and circuses) or patronising government (father knows best)?
We note that the US and the UK are remarkably silent about the lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia and in Brunei.
We note that the US does little to protect the democratic infringement of the rights of Palestine by 'democratic' Israel.

Yes, this lady has a point. Not unquestioningly she invites the world to be more open-minded to Islam, even daring to suggest that a culture which scorns drug-taking (questionable) may in fact be the onlky thing that holds out hope to the youth of the decadent west.
Ahhhhh, interesting days.

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