My Friend the Fanatic

Jun 13th, 2008, in Society, by

Sadanand Dhume’s My Friend the Fanatic – Travels with an Indonesian Islamist.

My Friend the Fanatic – Travels with an Indonesian Islamist tells the story of Indian journalist Sadanand Dhume’s journey across Indonesia and his meetings with political, cultural, and religious figures in 2004, and is written from the standpoint that the country is being torn between two forces, globalisation and Islamisation, with the latter being seen as the stronger.

Fanatic Islamist

The “Fanatic/Indonesian Islamist” of the title is one Herry Nurdi (who has cropped up on this site once before – for his railings against sodomising Christian evangelists on campuses), Dhume’s paid travelling companion (he helps arrange access to interesting people and places), one time editor of the Muslim fundamentalist rag Sabili, and prolific author, with his published works showing a pre-occupation with Jews, conspiracy theories and George Bush, and including:

University of Islamic Studies (IAIN)
Sabili style.

  • Belajar Islam dari Yahudi (“Learning Islam from Jews” – seems to be a critique of the Orientalist approach to Islam)
  • Mossad (Behind every conspiracy)
  • Kebangkitan Freemason dan Zionis di Indonesia (“The Rise/Resurgence of Freemasonry & Zionism in Indonesia”)
  • Jejak Freemason dan Zionis di Indonesia (“Acts of Freemasons & Zionists in Indonesia”)
  • Lobi Zionis & Rezim Bush (“The Zionist Lobby & the Bush Regime”)

Although it seems Herry’s works are rather thin volumes and there is a suggestion in the book that they involve some amount of copy-paste.

Herry is therefore firmly on the lunatic fringe, although an important question that the book brings up is whether people like Herry really are the “lunatic fringe”, or to what extent their views are shared more widely among Indonesians.

On Herry and his type, and remembering that it is 2004, before or during the election, Dhume recounts the loathing such people seemed to have for Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – Herry has secret information that the Yudhoyono presidential campaign is powered by a “Christianity motor”, an Indonesian Christian (military)/American (and no doubt Jew) plot, and he even puts about a story that SBY’s mother was once a member of Gerwani, the practically satanic (in New Order propaganda terms) communist womens’ movement, and to advance his career SBY had disowned his mother and, er, gotten a replacement mother – one nasty attempt at a below the belt blow. (Herry and co. seem to have preferred General Wiranto, because at least his wife covered herself head to toe, unlike, say, Amien Rais’ spouse, who only wore a headscarf, and a colourful one at that.)

Sadanand Dhume
Sadanand Dhume

But, and it is an important but, Dhume’s portrait of Herry is told with some empathy and there clearly developed a friendship between the two of them, the devout Muslim and Islamist, and the atheist son of polytheists. Herry does not come across, usually, as the raving lunatic that the foregoing suggests but as an ordinary person with his share of contradictions, and he often seems quite likeable and reasonable.

People & Places

Dhume hears sort-of sexy singer/dancer Inul Daratista proclaim that she and her entire family are religious fanatics; hangs out with the avant-garde author Djenar Maesa Ayu and literary man Richard Oh in posh, degenerate Jakarta clubs; goes on a road trip across western Java with flabby Din Syamsuddin and an entourage of annoying young people; meets toothy Abu Bakar Bashir in his jail cell.

In Makassar the hard men of the Preparatory Committee for the Application of Sharia Law are interviewed; still in South Sulawesi he journeys to the district of Bulukumba (if Tangerang in Banten has “sharia lite”, Bulukumba can claim the heavier version); while a chapter on Batam begins with an almost moving, snippet-like description of the lives of two types of “Batam girls”, those who work in the factories, and those who work in the bars; …and plenty else besides.

Islam

What isn’t likely to endear this book to a lot of its target audience, i.e educated westerners, is the author’s evident disdain for at least some aspects of the Islam religion-culture, and one might not be able to help but think of V.S. Naipaul (Dhume brings the subject up himself), given that both Dhume and Naipaul are Indian writers who made good abroad, and with both, when they happened upon Indonesia, taking a fairly dim view of orthodox Islam’s gradual but, so it seems, quickening obliteration of the older cultural mix in the country, with I suspect in both authors’ cases this approach arising not from any real affinity for say, Javanese culture, but instead more from, again, a dislike of orthodox/Arabist Islam.

The jilbab (headscarf) issue comes up repeatedly, and unflatteringly:

…the cheaply earned moral smugness of the jilbab.

And

…shorthand in my mind for some education and little imagination

Visits to several Islamic schools are made, they being Gontor, Ngruki, one in Bulukumba, and the impression one gets is of people spending so much of their energy building more and more mosques, then walking to the mosques, going through the prescribed motions in them, and walking back from them, many times a day. Meanwhile the peoples of comparable nations like Vietnam, China and India are said to be beavering away learning science and building factories.

Preacher-entrepreneur AA Gym is interviewed, at a time before he disgraced himself by taking Alfarini Eridani for another wife, and comes across as a charlatan, if a not unlikeable one – if only people would look after their qolbu (hearts/souls), AA says, not just their brains,

everything is getting better

At Parangtritis beach, Yogyakarta, what to Dhume might be some of the last followers of Ratu Kidul, gather before

globalisation and Islamisation drive them to extinction

Boys at Gontor school say they have never seen Reog dances because the spectacle is to be avoided, it’s

mystic

Herry is one who embodies this

shrinking from their own culture

But perhaps to people like Herry, whether they think about it in these terms or not, Islam is simply a preferable, more complete, more appealing culture to what existed previously (and Islam is culture). Fine, but another, opposed view, what you might find in this book and in other places…, is a legitimate value judgement about culture-religion as well.

PKS

The overall message of the book is that Islamist political and cultural forces are gaining the upper hand in Indonesia, most starkly seen in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Justice Party (PKS) – the PKS is mentioned again and again, Dhume I think has the same “problem” as this site sometimes has – an over pre-occupation with what is still a fairly minor party.

It is said that South Sulawesi is a “stronghold” of the PKS, however it would be far more accurate to say that the province is a stronghold of Golkar, – and then it might be useful to examine to what extent Islamism has penetrated the ostensibly non-Islamist parties, but this aspect of political developments is not explored – it’s PKS this and that.

Amien Rais is said to have only placed fourth in the 2004 election “despite being backed by the PKS” – as if the support of the town-based university crowd of the PKS was ever going to get him anywhere near winning, ever going to win him votes in the Javanese parts of Java where the numbers are, and then, party backing is of little importance anyway in high turnout elections, that are essentially about personalities, which candidate is more manly, handsome, murah senyum, has the better PR machine, more funds, etc.

But a minor complaint. And the aspects of the book detailed here represent only small parts of the whole and, partly because it generally gels with my own views, and because it is a highly well written and entertaining read, My Friend the Fanatic is more than recommended. Available for pre-order at Amazon.


143 Comments on “My Friend the Fanatic”

  1. avatar timdog says:

    Hey Achamd, can I do a little Naipaul parody? Pleeeeease Mas, please…

    VS Asshole says:

    Achmad was a poet. And a ukelele player. He had ideas above his station, and – trapped between worlds – his grasp of English was deficient. He lived. In Purbolinggo. I met him. On a website.
    The daylight faded. The website was filthy. Unclean and made of concrete. Banal, disgusting people jostled past, engaged in the act of denying their own culture.
    “Are you a Muslim?” I asked him.
    He was an educated man, and a ukelele player. The website had changed, and Achmad’s circumstances had also changed. But he was Javanese, and for the Javanese family is important.
    “Are you a Muslim?” I asked. Him. Again.
    But he, with his deficient English, did not understand.
    “You’re a disgusting little man,” I said, “stop denying your true Brahmanic identity. You make me want to vomit.”
    “Me play you ukelele song, sahib?” he said.
    I walked away. Disgusted.
    When action is essential and culture in a state of denial, ukeleles are important. Achamd, like all Javanese, was a liar. Symbols are crucial when circumstances are. In flux.
    The Jakarta Post, patronising its readers, described Achamd as hilarious. This was precisely where his cultural denial came into play.
    “When I was a boy, in the pesantren, I studied ukelele, and denied my own culture,” Achamd said. I vomitted.
    The ukelele. The imperfect use of English. The denial. All are linked.
    The train pulled away from the website. It was dirty. On the wasteland beside the track Achamd was squatting. Shitting. But the other posters on the website did not see this squatter, sh*tting. They were too busy denying their true cultural identity…

  2. avatar mirax says:

    When asked what the dot worn Indian women’s foreheads symbolize, he said,” It means my head is empty.”

    I actually love this one! As someone who has always resisted the pressure to wear a bindi or rub some ‘holy ash’ on the forehead, it was very satisfying to quote naipaul on this …he is right about a lot of things, old Vids!

  3. avatar mirax says:

    So what really rankles you about Naipaul, timdog?

  4. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    @ Mirax

    Get a grip. Or at least visit Asia. If you don’t think ethnicity and class affects a person’s take on things, you have a lot to learn.

    I can think of a few reasons why Hindu Indians might have a reason to see the dark side of Islam, the same way Jews can.

    The real question is why I think I’d be able to see beyond it and be freer of such prejudice than other people.

    The answer is simple: I am of Central Java’s leading poets, Ukuele players, and pencak silat masters.

    @ Timdog.

    Very nice. I’m touched and flattered. 🙂

  5. avatar Berlian Biru says:

    You know, I will come right out and admit it, shameful though it is, I’ve never actually read VS Naipaul (nor, shock, Salman Rushdie, gasp! I did start out once on Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Glass Palace’, and I promise I will try to finish it some day).

    However if someone can confirm that Timdog’s hilarious post above is an accurate parody of the man’s writings, and I suspect it is, then I’ll not be rushing to Amazon to rectify the situation any time soon.

  6. avatar kinch says:

    BB: If you hang around with Indians, the secret is to read ‘A Suitable Boy’ and then rave about it at every opportunity. This annoys the hell out of them and is therefore money well spent.

  7. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Mirax – are you Indian ? If so, “sneaky” of you not to tell us — see ?

  8. avatar mirax says:

    Singaporean Indian. Female. Feminist. Atheist. Enough?

    So now one must declare one’s origins at the outset at this site???!!! Do you see how f*cking paranoid you become when you go down the path of being a racist asshole? And you worry about the white man typecasting you!

    You just dig a deeper hole with every sentence you utter ; it is clear you judge others by your own standards. As you cannot or will not escape the straitjacket of viewing others through the narrow prisms of race, nationality and religion, you believe jews and hindus to be automatically tainted by hatred of islam. Why not add christians and buddhists and Bahais to the mix? So all chinese must also hate Malays ?

    Your mindset, despite the put upon goofiness, – is really limited. It might help if you grow up a little and accept that people are more complex than you give them credit for. Even Naipaul. He is currently married to a pakistani muslim woman.

    Berlian biru, Naipaul casts a jaundiced eye on nearly everything and everyone, but he writes beautifully, not in the fractured and pretentiousness style parodied above. He is a Nobel laureate afterall.

    Rushdie is fantastic when he is on a roll – Midnight’s Children – and excruciatingly overwrought at other times. His stylistics are jokingly termed ‘rushdietitis’ but in many ways , to me at least, he has a very indian way with words. Seth is one of my favourites – I have read everything of his except A Suitable Boy which I only read the middle bit of when it came out and for some odd reason never revisited. Seth is also very fluent in Mandarin, which is an interesting thing when Rushdie and Naipaul are effectively monolingual.

  9. avatar timdog says:

    Mirax – I would have thought my reasons for being rankled by Naipaul would be obvious from the parody above

    Berlian Biru – It’s a parody, so obviously it’s exagerated, but it is firmly based on reality. Personally I think Naipaul’s prose style is excruciatingly hard to plough through, despite his “short, declarative sentences”.
    I’m a huge fan of short, declarative sentences, despite my obvious inability to create them myself, but Naipaul’s short, declarative sentences are rubbish, and contain nothing but preposterous snobbery…

    Can I do another parody? It’s the literary atmosphere of this thread! It’s turning me into a writer/c*nt… I’d love to do a parody of Pramoedya Anata Toer if anyone wants to see it…

  10. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Mirax,

    Nice one. Blue chip PC credentials (except for the Singaporean bit).

    – What do you think of caste ? What caste is your family back in India ? Are they really enthusiastic that you’ve become a feminist atheist ? And how about all those aunties who keep giving you grief because you were soooo smart and soooo pretty as a little girl (maybe even now!) and didn’t marry a doctor ? Still so down on stereotypes ?

    – All I said was I can understand why a Hindu person would have reason to see the dark side of Islam. Same with the Jews. That’s not stereotyping — it’s just reality (in short supply up in Singapore).

    My mission (aside from playing the ukuele) is to Tell It Like It Is. The problem with your undergraduate fear of “race, nationality and religion,” is that it shuts out so much of reality. (I’m betting you studied at an Australian uni, given the quality.. he he he :-)).

    I don’t think all the Chinese hate the Malays. I just think most Malaysian and Indonesian Chinese look down on them, thinking they’re unproductive, lazy, with a handout mentality. (If it’s not the case, I’m kind of wondering why Lee Kuan Yew is so keen to get Chinese professionals to breed).

    Also, as an accomplished dangdut singer, poet, and pencak silat instructor, I’d appreciate it if you show some more respect for my intellectual accomplishments.

  11. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Tim — do it. But don’t waste it on a thread. The Naipaul one was AWESOME. Get your your own Post — I think Patoeng would be up for it — right Patoeng ?

  12. Dear Achmad,

    Not wanting to be a c*nt in the sports bar sense of the word…

    but I am shocked you can empower yourself with the usage of the word “c*nt” in the “Germain Greer’ sense of the word’ You are a true feminist poet from the heart of Central Java. 🙂

    Go sister!!!

    I am off, don’t miss me too much

    love Djenar

  13. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Thanks Ibu Djenar. I don’t think any of my four wives that left me (even though I let them work in the rice fields whilst I composed peoems), would agree with you. But missing you already. x o. 🙂

  14. avatar mirax says:

    Ok, here starts the education of one Achmad Sudarsono.

    except for the Singaporean bit).

    – What do you think of caste ? What caste is your family back in India ? Are they really enthusiastic that you’ve become a feminist atheist ? And how about all those aunties who keep giving you grief because you were soooo smart and soooo pretty as a little girl (maybe even now!) and didn’t marry a doctor ? Still so down on stereotypes ?

    – All I said was I can understand why a Hindu person would have reason to see the dark side of Islam. Same with the Jews. That’s not stereotyping — it’s just reality (in short supply up in Singapore).

    sigh.. knew you cant resist the s’pore jibes – it is all the same with you Indos and Msians one helluva of an insecurity complex,,;)

    My father was an atheist and totally repudiated caste and all forms of hindu worship. There is a very strong political atheist movement in Tamil Nadu, the DMK (also a political party currently ruling the state) – started by one Periyar, a contemporary of Gandhi – and still in existence today. Plenty of my relatives belong to it while others are hindus and christians. My parents did not even have a religious wedding ceremony and some of my cousins still follow through with this. You may be shocked but there have always been atheist/agnostic schools of philosophy in India over the last two millenia and within the ‘hindu’ belief system. It is not a coincidence that buddhism – pretty agnostic- arose in India.

    People like Periyar were iconoclasts who while parodying the hindu rightwing in the 1930s and 1940’s (those drew their inspiration from the european fascists/eugenists and their certitude from the one-god, one-book, one-eyed monotheists- actaully carried the hindu deities garlanded with slippers through the streets. Pretty in your face, huh?

    That was just in the background, I was not inculcated with ‘atheism’. In fact my parents packed us kids off to the neighbourhood sunday school (from age 6 to 13, every sunday, plus bible camps during nearly all school vacations) with no worries whatsoever. Then my dad died and my mother returned to hindu worship. There was prayer room at home. Menstruating girls werent allowed . As a terrible teen, I actually bitchslapped the statues with a soiled napkin on one occasion to prove a point. Pretty transgressive behaviour but beyond a sorrowful reproach, there was no violence, no killing , no abuse, no casting out of the home. My mother is a saint!

    So you see, quite a number of us, indians , arent as tied to the ancestral religion as you assume. Caste is irrelevant to me but I am aware that many indians – christian, muslim, sikh and hindu alike – take it quite seriously. It is an indian disease as much as a hindu one. I fight castesist attitudes as strenously as I would slavery. Besides people from India, you are the only person from this part of the world to actually ask me for my caste. And you wonder why I was so shocked by some of your earlier statements!

    And yes Indian culture is misogynistic but when it suits my purpose, I can invoke badass goddesses like Kali and hinduism is arguably the only extant major religious tradition with female worship still at the centre. You sort of stretch out your arms and push and create your own space, your own reality, your own status and if you do it with enough confidence and strength, surprising numbers of people step back and accept it. Feminism was quite easy for me in that regard. Might have been tougher on the relatives.

    The kind of hindu person who has issues with islam because of islamic conquest hundreds of years ago is often a rightwing bigot. the kind of person who has issues with theocracy, abuse of human rights under the guise of religion, the rise of clerical fascism is not. Being indifferent to this crucial difference is still goddamn lazy thinking, if not outright bigotry on your part.

    Let me crack open another assumption of yours : I didn’t go to university proper. I was on scholarship to go to oxbridge but i quite deliberately dropped out – see we arent all materialistic robots over here in s’pore. 100 % local government schooling, leavened by some modest reading. There are some things that Singapore does well.

    I dont speak for LKY – he is a eugenist- but he doesn’t speak for all chinese people either. Not even the ones in Singapore. How’s that for reality?

  15. avatar mirax says:

    This Djenar is quite a cool one , eh 😉

    She has your number, Achmad.

  16. avatar mirax says:

    Timdog, I was trying to be facetious with that question. didnt expect a reply from you.

  17. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ mirax

    Care to share your curry recipe on your next post. 🙂

  18. avatar mirax says:

    FYI, the way to deal with maternal expectations is to flaunt your relationships with beachbums (or struggling geeky ukelele musicians) and date doctors on the sly. Works wonderfully.

  19. avatar mirax says:

    Which one? the pork vindaloo or the madrasi babi?

  20. avatar Lairedion says:

    mirax,

    Any pork recipe will do. In return we can give our very own babi guling.

  21. well i have your number mirax:)

  22. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Mirax,

    On caste — can you see what stories come out with a little provocation ? Otherwise…

    Ok.

    You got me.

    They’re not all like that. There are 1.4 billion of them, so I’m sure they’re not all sneaky or smelly.

    Happy ?

    But I don’t think many Hindu nationalist supporters of the BJP are that fired up about Islam, or are squeamish about tearing down mosques and declaring them to be the birthplace of the god Ram.

    Have a sneaking suspicion tolerant free-thinkers and anti-caste people might be outnumbered.

    Why is so unreasonable to speculate about how someone’s background, including ethnicity and caste would affect their attitudes ? (And also I was ethnic rather than racially stereotyping, which I leave to ranting about the white man). I’ve seen overseas Bangladeshis go, um dark, with rage at dinner-party raised eyebrows from Brahmins.

    But try cramming into an MRT at Little India at 5 pm or having a regular grocery supplier from down there and you’ll see what I mean. (Just to show I’m even handed, here are some comments on Indonesia’s under-arm crisis. Nehru and Soekarno left a criminal silence about this in the Bandung Asia-Africa conference in ’55 .

    On female worship, well, if Singapore’s queers weren’t driven underground, you’d know icons like Kylie Minogue (Kali Minogue in India ?), Cher, Madonna, Donna Summer, and many other women are worshipped by tens of thousands, if not millions of wild-gyrating devotees.

    The kind of hindu person who has issues with islam because of islamic conquest hundreds of years ago is often a rightwing bigot. the kind of person who has issues with theocracy, abuse of human rights under the guise of religion, the rise of clerical fascism is not. Being indifferent to this crucial difference is still goddamn lazy thinking, if not outright bigotry on your part.

    http://www.bjp.org

    Once again, all I said, was, I can understand why Jews or Hindus are concerned about the rise of Islamism (if I wasn’t clear, here it is). It’s easy to sit back and pontificate in a state where the mosques are as tightly regulated as bubble gum is. But over here, makeshift Churches are being shut down by mobs.

    Nothing wrong with trying to see things from another point of view.

    Like Mr. Dhume’s, for example. Now for another confession — if Djenar has your number, you might also know Mr. Dhume… yes ? no ? If you dropped out of a Singapore Oxbridge scholarship that’s doubly cool, enough to satisfy even the snootiest Indian intellectual 20-somethings.

  23. avatar Shloka says:

    Achmad,

    While indeed many BJP supporters are not all that fired up about Islam, they didn’t suddenly get the bit about the birthplace of Lord Ram out of their heads. The site of that particular Mosque had a Hindu Temple since at least the 6th century, probably earlier, and an idol of Lord Ram as well, and it was the Muslims who first tore down the temple and constructed te Mosque atop it. The remnants of the temple still existed underneath the Mosque, and while there were “azaans” in the mosque for 500 years, one of the holiest temples and idols of Hinduism was uncared for and unprayed to. By the way, mosques have been constructed atop the birthplace of Lord Krishna as well, and thousands of other very important Hindu holy sites, in fact in some cities no temple remained standing.Great mosques were constructed using stones from destroyed temples.

    The situation is analogous to what would happen if George Bush and his majority Christian army, prompted by evangelical zeal, half broke Kaaba, erected a Church atop it, and held regular Biblical prayer services there.Of course Muslims would be mad, and rightly so. It would not matter if Prophet Mohammed(PBUH) had declared it a holy site or not, it doesn’t even matter if He even existed, in such matters of faith what would be important is that Muslims believed it to be a holy site and have associated it with their God and religion for millennia, the same is true for this particular temple, which makes it different from most others destroyed by Muslims (and there were many). It was associated with the birth of Lord Ram for at least a millennia before Muslims destroyed it, and as such had a very old idol of the baby Ram, which for centuries remained unprayed to.

    Anyway, I don’t condone the destruction of the mosque.

  24. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Shloka,

    The last thing I want to get into is the middle of an argument between Indians, least of all about religion. They might be the most argumentative people on the planet.

    No wonder the Indian parliament hardly gets anything done. (Can you imagine, hundreds of sweaty Indian lawyers packed into the one building, heads-a-wobbling, fingers waggling, “As the honorable member for Rajastan, I tell you….”) !

    Mirax: before you get all hot and bothered, look up Amartya Sen’s book on this, um, what was called ? The Argumentative Indian, perhaps.

    (Sen, by the way, lists a major hobby of his as arguing with people).

    Wasn’t pointing fingers, just saying, I can understand the bad vibes between Indian Muslims and Hindus. Thanks for the clarification.

    But you’ve gotta admit, the Muslims don’t take kindly to the tearing down of Mosques, regardless of the justice or otherwise of the situation.

  25. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog said:

    but call me what you want – you can even call me c*nt if you want…

    No, I’m a civilized person. Next to PC Bule I will refer to you as an Islamophile. That is what you’ve called yourself in the Treason of the Intellectuals thread:

    though I am myself a flaming liberal and general Islamophile

    So you can ignore my request of you showing your true colors. This is sufficient for me. 🙂

    Pengapunten, Mas Achmad.

  26. avatar Shloka says:

    Achmad,

    Agree fully about argumentative Indians,and the Parliament is as comical as you claim. Also I know quite well that Muslims don’t take kindly to mosques being torn down, but in this case the Biblical adage, ” Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” applies to Muslims. If you don’t want your mosques torn down, don’t tear down their temples, especially those with age old religious significance and construct mosques atop them.

    The Mosque-Ram Temple reminds me of another temple in Bangladesh, the 1000 year old Ramna Kali Temple, a very important religious site for Bangladeshi Hindus.It wasn’t constructed after destroying a mosque,( please name a single temple which is, apart from aforementioned Ram Temple, which was originally a temple) but it was still destroyed by fanatical Pakistani soldiers during Bangladesh’s independece struggle, although it wasn’t a war zone. The Hindu community of Bangladesh still haven’t got permission from the Bangladeshi Government to rebuild it. As an Indo Muslim you know about the Ram temple-Babri Mosque, and I’ve been questioned about it by Egyptian Muslims, but did you know about the Ramna Kali Temple?

  27. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Shloka,

    Didn’t know. Many thanks !

    I’m more of a Javanese Muslim though, all paths are good.

    Except the path of the Bule.

  28. avatar timdog says:

    @Lairedion – Oooooooo! You’re trailing through my past threads making notes! Awesome; I can’t tell you what a ego-boost that is!

    Indeed I am an Islamophile – as I explained above – in the unreconstructed and deeply politically incorrect Victorian orientalist fashion; a fashion that enjoys growing a beard, dressing in shalwar kamis and pakol and trying (unsuccesfully) to pass one’s self off as a Pashtun, while revelling in the glories of Islamic architecture, endless cups of tea, grilled goatmeat and, on occasions, hashish and opium… very much in the tradition of Burton, Lawrence and Thesiger (though I should point out that unlike those chaps I am neither from the lower ranks of the aristocracy, a product of the sadistic British private education system, nor, incidentally, a repressed homosexual)… Totally unashamed and politically incorrect though… that and a liberal socialist. I am, as I have already stated, rather hard to put in a box, politically speaking…

  29. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    You requested me to re-read your comments, remember? So I did. Nothing more, nothing less.

  30. avatar timdog says:

    Lairedion – Thanks my darling xxx

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