I've been thinking about Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher living in Sudan, who was convicted of insulting Islam. If you've not been following the story, Gibbons and her students named a classroom teddy bear "Muhammad." Her point of view was that it's a common enough name among men in the region.
To the thousands of protestors who stood chanting in Khartoum yesterday, however, waving clubs and knives and calling for her execution, it was a terrible affront that had very likely hurt the prophet Muhammad's tender feelings. One would think that his legions of underage virgins would be enough to console him, but apparently this guy has a really short fuse.
It's just a bit unseemly, going about calling for middle-aged teachers and teenage rape victims and anyone with a Jewish-sounding last name to be summarily beheaded. Religion of peace and all that, you know. Perhaps the imams who whipped the illiterate masses into their murderous frenzy, which seems a common enough occurrence across the Muslim Middle East, might consider how their own behavior is an even greater affront to Islam. In the meantime, we should all pray that poor Ms. Gibbons escapes Sudan with her life.
Yesterday, meanwhile, I dropped, along with a conspirator, a letter that will go to each of my neighbors. It's the next salvo in my campaign to stop a $60,000 monument to our neighborhood's wealth. Its proponents want to build two twenty-five foot walls, one outside each entrance, replete with destined-to-be-stolen copper plating.
You might recall that I spoke out against this in a previous HOA meeting. The crux of my letter is that it's just plain wrong to spend that kind of money on elaborate entrance markers. A neighborhood is distinguished or at least, it used to be this way by the quality of its homes, and by how its residents treat one another. Perhaps it is also distinguished but not in a flattering way by the propensity of an organized minority to extract wealth from their neighbors. If we can't squelch that kind of avarice at the local level, I doubt we'll ever be able to rein in the federal tax man.
In what may be a first for me, I was very reasoned and respectful in my letter. I have a feeling I'm not going to make many friends with it, however. But then, a man's got to do what a man's got to do. If nothing else, it's likely to lead to some exciting encounters with very animated entrance marker zealots, all of which I will recount for you, in self-serving fashion, right here. Stay tuned.