I’m a little more than halfway through Infidel. The book is fascinating to me, though also sad, shocking and eye-opening. I know all of us sitting in our nice homes in our somewhat safe cities in America know that not everyone has it as good as we do. But, I think we forget this a lot. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
I don’t want to delve too deep into the story because there’s just so much there, but I’m going to pull out one part that reinforced what I just wrote above. Hirsi Ali was married off to a man from Canada (she didn’t attend the wedding, she didn’t know this man very well, but that didn’t matter, her father arranged everything). On her way to Canada from Kenya to move in with her new husband, she stopped in Germany to await a visa. When she walked down the German streets, she had many realizations (keep in mind this was 1992): the streets were clean, the streets had street signs, people had space to live, women wore whatever they wanted, men and women held hands and people didn’t shun them, she could walk down the street without one glance or sneer from a man, no one cared where she walked or what she did—in Germany she was anonymous.
She writes at the time that she didn’t feel like renouncing her religion, she didn’t feel like abandoning her family, she just felt like there was more. More. That’s when her new life started. Those stronger feelings about her religion and the ways of her family came later.
The book gives some very interesting insights into Islam. Some people take the word of Allah literally, others choose to interpret it or modernize it (which in the minds of the literals, is a sin in itself). This really isn’t different than any other religion. No matter what you believe, there are others who believe either “deeper” or “less” than you. It just comes down to whether we can coexist. And it’s so sad that some believe violence against infidels is the only means to an end.
Last weekend we saw Body of Lies. This isn’t a movie we would typically go see in the theater, but I had free passes. DiCaprio plays a CIA undercover agent who tries to catch a man responsible for bombings across Europe. The word “infidel” was thrown around frequently in this movie, as that’s who he was trying to kill/send a message to with his bombings. The movie made me really sad because it demonstrated how this war will never be over. Never. It may curb. It may desist for a time. But it will never end. Just like Hirsi Ali knows she will never be truly safe, even in America.
Yesterday was Blog Action Day, with a focus on poverty. While this post isn't about poverty specifically, I hope if anything: May we all take a moment yesterday, today and tomorrow to think about those who have less than us, who are worse off than us. In truth, you don't have to look far.