FAR BEASTLIER — a powerful, gripping, sensuous saga — on the unmapped island of Manataka beyond the West Indies — depicting, divining, engaging love, War and Peace, dance, music, life and savagery among the hominids — from the beginning to the end of life on Earth — closing to the message and music of Bach fading into the Cosmos.

 

NOTE:  The text is of a larger-than-usual font size for the convenience of the sight-impaired and those who might want to read this while bumpily enroute .  _____________________________________________

 [White text rolls up over star-speckled blackness of the cosmos and a baritone voice-over reads dramatically, as follows:] 

Once upon a planet billions of years after its formation in one of the galaxies among billions of galaxies in a universe so huge that the distance from that planet to the farthest known galaxy is several billion parsecs, or 40 billion trillion miles, there arose a species of bipedal primates that came to call their planet Earth, their species homo sapiens sapiens and their people ‘humans’ — also ‘hominids’ after the Family Hominidae which they share with the great apes: orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees, with whom they shares 99% the same genes.   

In the course of time, as simplicity fed on ambient elements under local heat, pressure, bombardment by cosmic radiation, and the workings of chemistry and probability over millions of years, there evolved higher complexities and a primordial ’soup’ in which the first creatures grew. In the further course of millions of years there evolved Homo habilis, an upright East African hominid having some advanced humanlike characteristics, comprising an early form of Homo, the genus of bipedal primates that includes humans, followed by Homo erectus, Homo sapiens neanderhalensis, and finally, Homo sapiens sapiens during the upper Paleolithic Epoch, the prototype of modern humans, with the first fully human version of hominids appearing about 50,000 years ago. The hominids came to call their planet Earth, and through their sciences learned that it is 4.3 billion years old.  

As their sciences advanced they came to discover the origin of their universe and the evolution of its space, matter and time, and to map its present structure, including their own galaxy and their solar system in that galaxy and their planet Earth in that system. They discovered the origin and evolution of their Cosmos by means of their extraordinary multi-science of Physical Cosmology  

In 2003 they announced that a satellite called the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe had produced the most detailed and precise map yet made of the universe just after its birth, which confirmed the Big Bang theory in triumphant detail and opened new chapters in the early history of the cosmos, which was found to be 13.7 billion years old, plus or minus one percent.  

 During the course of terrestrial evolution, the brain (encephalon) of animal species also evolved in a process called encephalization. Humans grew to enjoy unique neural capacities, but much of human neuroarchitecture is shared with ancient species; much of humans’ basic systems are similar to those of the most basic vertebrates, for instance, aquatic vertebrates including the shark. As evolutionary encephalization progressed, new higher structures and functions evolved on top of the previous lower and ferocious ones. Eventually the higher functions manifested what the hominids call Reason.  

That recalls the words of Mephistopheles to the Lord in Goethe’s Faust:  

   

Of suns and worlds I’ve nothing to be quoted, / How men torment themselves is all I’ve noted,

The little god o’ the world sticks to the same old way, /  And is as whimsical as on Creation’s Day.  

Life somewhat better might content him,  / But for the gleam of heavenly light that thou hast lent him.  

He calls it Reason — thence his powers increased / To be far beastlier than any beast. 

By the combination of evolutionary neurophysiology and abuse of the resultant Reason, hominids became the most vicious, deadly and destructive species on the planet.  

The hominids engaged in so much warfare and their weapons became so deadly that starting early in their 20th century — counting from the birth of a Hebrew rabbi named Yeshua, which translated into the later English language as Jesus, whom everyone considered to be a prophet and many considered to be the messiah, from the Hebrew word mashiah, meaning anointed, or messiah, which translated into English as ‘Christ’ — many nations began to create and sign treaties to halt or at least control arms races and wars.  

The 20th century saw a profusion of such treaties and agreements, all to little or no avail. For the century also saw Three World Wars, the beginning of the Fourth, the Global Islamic Jihad, five Holocausts: the Armenian by the Ottoman Muslims, the Ukrainian by the Marxist-Leninist Soviets, the European (Jewish and Other) by the German Nazis, the Cambodian by the Khmer Rouge Communists, the Rwandan by a Catholic Hutu mix, and the beginning of the Darfurian ethnocide by the Sudanese Muslims.  

__________________________________________________  

It is during that Fourth World War and Darfur Holocaust that an Arawak Airlines puddle-jumper is flying across the Caribbean at night toward unmapped Manataka Island, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean beyond the West Indies. The lone passenger on the plane is an American physics professor from Columbia University nicknamed ‘Bukhi’ [“bookey”] — short for his pseudonymous name Bukhariluyeva.  Due to unique circumstances, Bukhi’s childhood had been immersed in the savagery and intellectual currents of Communism, and further immersed in the savagery and ideological currents of Nazism and Fascism, so that the centrality of Ideas for people, nations and history had been so intensely impressed upon his mind that his life became devoted to defending against ideas’ malignant forms. The Idea of the centrality of Idea was hardly new. It appears in the New Testament in John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word.” In the original Greek ’Word’ was ’Logos,’ meaning Idea and the manifestation of Idea, which use by John reflected the ancients’ perception of the primacy of Idea in human affairs, which primacy they projected into the Cosmos.  

For centuries the Manatakans had by bribes, threats, and violence discouraged cartographers from mapping its existence, and thereby preserved their treasured freedom, culture, and power to nudge modern history. Sympathetic islanders, pilots and mariners helped maintain the virtual dome of invisibility that encased the island — with not even lights on the radio antenna tower —  such that tourists and all others were deflected by deceptions and force, or disappeared as shark food. The alternate approach to the island is by equally secretive small-boat routes at night. Also, accepted pilots with precise knowledge of the route for night instrument flying could land small planes on its small runway under small lights. The islanders suspect that the U.S. Navy is aware of it, but has no interest, and would prefer to avoid the highly armed conflict that would-be trespassers have incurred in the past when there is no real point in doing so. There is even rumored to be a contemporary sub-rosa government policy to leave the island alone in compensation for the horrible suffering inflicted upon its Taino forebears by European invaders and President Andrew Jackson’s genocidal regime, causing them to flee their Arkansas homeland.

Their economy is a mix of old basic and modern.  Blessed by tropical weather, excellent aquifers and verdant soil they maintain themselves by husbandry, weaving and other essential crafts.  Power is generated by wind, solar and gas engine technologies brought in by secret collaborations from other  islands.  Income is generated by the very high price paid by a small coterie of fully secretive tourists who highly value occasional idyllic total isolation and pay in cash.  Further income comes from highly distinctive and creative commercial artwork produced on laptop personal computers, and delivered and modified via compact disks through the mail, inasmuch as there is no conveniently available WiFi signal.  Mail, shipping and banking are handled through an intermediary at an address maintained on another island to which they commute via their four-seater airplane, for which they have become competent mechanics.  Taxes are not an issue since they do not exist within any governmental domain. 

As the plane pulled itself through the blackness Bukhi reminisced about his extraordinary paramour ‘Cassie,’ who had gone ahead and would meet him when he landed. Her name more fully is Casiguaya, a Taino name from her home town of Utuado in the Cordillera Central mountain range of Puerto Rico, which she left at 16 to seek a better life in America. And find it she did. After grueling oppressions, abuse, homelessness, and work, she taught herself much English, computer science, obtained a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and English Literature on academic scholarship, and became superbly proficient as a pianist. So much so that she had difficulty deciding whether to be a computer consultant or a concert pianist. Bukhi had met her at a raging Hispanic party in New York, for Bukhi loves to dance Latino, and they became inseparable best friends. Her exotic beauty framed an already extraordinary persona. Friendship moved to romance. She confessed the secret that Manataka exists and that she has a cottage on it. Thenceforth it became his favorite thinking and writing getaway, on which he progressively built up a library in a small dedicated cottage. Although brief, this trip he intended as getaway, rest and refreshment, rather than work.  

When Cassie was studying Philosophy she had had the good sense to take several introductory courses in classical and modern physics, for she realized that our real knowledge is founded in the natural sciences, especially physics, which the British have long called natural philosophy. So she gravitated towards the physics of Bukhi’s work, and he lectured her much about it, even guiding her through the mathematics.  

The pilot alerted him that they were about to land. He buckled up and braced. There wasn’t much of a landing strip, just a brief dirt runway and dim lights with which he could see a few figures, one of which appeared to be Cassie. After a few bumps the plane cruised to a halt and the engine cut off. Cassie came up to the door as he stumbled down the opened steps and they grabbed each other in a tight silent hug. As they tossed his stuff into a jeep he noticed a group of five or six men in the shadows to the side up an incline. “Who are they?” “I’ll tell you later. Let’s go.” “They look ominous.” “They are. They’ve been drawn out by the engine sound and want to see. Let’s go!”  

They dumped his baggage and box into her jeep and were off down the bumpy rocky road to her cottage, where they quickly unloaded and crashed onto the big bed, arms entwined, lips compressed together in the silent language of love, as the soft sounds of waves lashed the shore a few dozen yards away, calming their passions into the deep sleep of tired souls very late in a black moonless night.  

The morning skies were clear, the Atlantic quiet, and the Antilles far to the East, beyond the line of sight. They fried some breakfast and ate out of the pans on the picnic table at the waters edge. They were feeling quiet for starters, and he had decided to postpone his query about last night’s ominous watchers, but could wait no longer. “Who are they?” “They are a group of five Muslims who somehow learned of this place, flew in in their own large seaplane, which is parked at the other end, have taken a cottage, and established some sort of camp or base. They stay separate, aloof, superior, and speak mostly Arabic. We are quite uneasy about them. There are also three women, but we rarely see them.” “Are they armed?” “We have no idea.” “Too bad I can’t stay longer; I’d like to dialogue with them.” “My instinct is that you’d do far better to junk that idea. Anyway, I suspect they’ll still be here in three weeks when you return.” “Mmmm…maybe I’ll just put it off till then.”  

Cassie gathered up the few pans and utensils, headed up the incline and disappeared into the cottage. There she quickly cleaned up from breakfast, opened her fine upright piano, and began playing.  

At the picnic table Buki became enraptured by what he readily recognized as Bach’s extraordinary E Major Concerto for Keyboard [BWV 1053] — being gloriously played by Cassie’s concert-quality brilliance — augmented by the soft sound of easy surf a few feet from him — encased in the concert hall of a full clear sky and boundless seas. Man made, woman played, nature arrayed heaven on earth. So he reflected. And about how she was not satisfied with the typical busts but had obtained actual small statues of Bach and Mozart to grace her cottage living room.  

She had stopped after the Second Movement, so he joined her, and they went for a swim, in the nude, as was feasible at that deserted end of the island. Playfully entwined, erotic and amorous. As they emerged and pulled big towels from the rocks over themselves they noticed the five figures silently watching from a nearby mound. Once in the cottage they saw that the group had disappeared. Their uneasiness grew.  

Plan for the day was a hike to and picnic at Manataka Point, some eight miles off at the other end of the island. A good day’s outing. They packed light packs of extra sweaters, swim suits, sandwiches, fruits, canteens of water, and knives to cut the fruits, with eight-shot Glock automatics in holsters, an unusual precaution reflecting their uneasiness, Bukhi wore shorts, and both wore sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats to protect against the tropic sun. As usual, Cassie’s mode was sensuous, with her shirt low cut, considerably open, and transparently thin — all mounted on long superbly formed legs as revealed by a miniskirt. A trail mode for the benefit of the seagulls and Bukhi. By late morning they were off — up the trail on the ocean side.  

As they passed the cluster of buildings — especially the Main Lodge and the Anacaona Cabaret, both of which would soon figure so large, they exchanged hollers and waves with friends who happened about. They trudged on, much enjoying the day, sky, the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.   

As they cleared one of the last mounds before the Point they could see the Point itself — and were stunned to see five figures, of which although they could not see the faces they knew instinctively were the five Muslims. Bukhi and Cassie retreated back behind the mound. “I wonder if they’ve seen us,” mused Bukhi. “Let’s just keep going to the Point,” urged Cassie, “I’m much interested in engaging them.” “I too, of course, So..OK..let’s go.” They re-cleared the mound and headed on to the Point, as the Muslims quietly watched them.  

When they arrived the men smiled graciously, and two got up from the most comfortable rocks they had taken, and motioned Cassie and Bukhi to them. They smiled back, declined, and took two rocks a slight distance in front of the group, thereby providing room to maneuver in case of trouble. Cassie’s rock was a bit awkward, causing her to part her legs somewhat more than modesty would normally permit in order to maintain her balance, which parting in combination with her low-cut translucent blouse presented a generously sensual picture whose appreciation one might say extended beyond seagulls and Bukhi — except that that quickly became not the case.  

The largest of the men, powerfully muscular, with a well-trimmed beard, introduced himself in perfect English. “I go by the name Sayyid, and I am leader and spokesman for our little group. My real name, as is our custom, is Muhammad, as are the names of my comrades. So for convenience of Westerners we have taken other names, but we keep them Arabic. This is Pervez, that is Usama, he is Abdullah, and he is Ayman. What are your names?” Bukhi responded for himself, and Cassie for herself.  

“I am somewhat familiar with Western names,” Sayyid commented, “but need explanation of ‘bookey,’ if you would, please.”  

“It is short for my full professional pseudonymous last name Bukhariluyeva — which is spelled [he spells it] and is composed from Bukharin, Stalin’s powerful ideological adversary, who was ultimately executed, and Alliluyeva, Stalin’s wife, who committed suicide in protest against the brutality of his collectivization policy. To complete the picture I chose Ivan as my first name — in honor of the intellectual brother Karamazov, who in the novel wrote ‘The Grand Inquisitor,’ which he reads to his priestly brother Alyosha in that greatest chapter in Dostoyevski’s greatest novel — perhaps the greatest novel in all of literature — The Brothers Karamazov. So my pseudonym is highly meaningful, far far more so than my given Christian names, whatever they might be, which I have long forgotten.”  

“I appreciate your explanation, but it leads to one more question, an obvious one, which please forgive me but I must ask further: What is the meaning that you have tried to convey by that composition, that choice, of names?”  

“The two people whose names comprise my last name gave their lives in fighting against malignant ideologies — that is, ideologies that create tyrannies and do great harm to people and societies and segments of societies. Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism was a malignant tyranny that imposed great bloodshed and pain upon the Russian peoples, and Bukharin fought the ideology itself, not just the policies built upon it. Svetlana Alliluyeva fought one of its worst, most brutal policies, and by implication fought the ideology it was built upon. She was also a woman, and set an example of a woman fighter in this domain. Ivan is significant as an intellectual, philosopher and writer. By having Alyosha notice that Ivan limped away after the reading, Dostoyevski conveyed that it is the intellectuals who bear the philosophical, ideological and literary burdens of guiding societies through crises to, and to building the foundations of, healthful happy lives.”  

“The Communism, of which you speak, was and in some corners still is a secular ideology. Are malignant ideologies always secular?”  

“I suspect that you know at least part of my answer to that, and seek to flush it out. The answer is, of course, no. Throughout history the malignant ideologies have been religious — or more accurately, malignant ideological components or cores have been embedded in religions, or religious ideologies. Issues were contested by slaughters, inquisitions and Holy Wars.”  

“Are there any malignant ideological religious components or cores of significance today?”  

“I suspect that you are baiting me with that question, to which you very well know the answer. And, wishing no trouble I decline to respond further along these lines.” Bukhi could see their pontoon seaplane moored to a stake and was very aware they he and Cassie were outnumbered. They could be killed, weighted with rocks and dumped far out at sea.  

“I don’t think that there is ‘a’ or ’the’ answer,” replied Sayyid. “There is my answer. And there is your answer. Since you are obviously a learned and very intelligent man — and a Christian Westerner — I am particularly interested in your answer.”  

“I truly appreciate your interest, but continue to decline further discussion along these lines.”  

“So be it,” Sayyid concluded. “Now let me tell you right off what is most immediately on our minds, That is: Cassie’s grossly immodest dress, which is forbidden by the Sharia with severe punishment.”  

“With all due respect to your customs,” Bukhi broke in, “the Sharia belongs to your customs. Why should we citizens of the multi-religionist, multi-ethnic democracy of America concern ourselves with it?”  

“That is a typical ignorant Western view,” snapped Sayyid, with obvious anger and impatience. “The Sharia is Islamic Law and Islam is the universal religion given by Allah to Muhammad who dictated Allah’s words verbatim to scribes who thus compiled the Qu’ran, the third, last and correct testament for all mankind. Furthermore, the world is divided into dar al Islam and dar al Harb — the World of Islam and the World of War. The Jihad comprising the World of War started by Muhammad will continue and mount until the whole world belongs to the World of Islam.” Sayyid and his comrades became heatedly intense as he delivered that mini-speech. Bukhi glowered in anger.  

“You asked whether religions can be malignant ideologies. There’s your answer. Some day go to the American capital and visit the Jefferson Memorial. Stand in the middle and look up at the inside rim. There you will see inscribed around it the quotation ‘I Swear Upon The Altar Of God Eternal Hostility Against Every Form Of Tyranny Over The Mind of Man.’ What you have just described is the ultimate tyranny over the mind of man, and the word Islam itself means ’submission‘. It is pointless for us to talk further. We go now.”  

Sayyid and his companions talked rapidly and feverishly in Arabic as Bukhi and Cassie got up and turned back. They could not call for backup on a cell phone because there were no cells out there. They simply moved fast without appearing to run.  

The eight miles back to their cottage was uneventful. There they shed, changed into au naturel, and plunged in for a fun play-about in the mild surf under lowering sun. Then a plunge onto the bed, and, following a few perfunctory caresses, deep sleep.  

Refreshed by their nap, and enlivened by deep dusk, they decided to spend the evening at the Anacaona Cabaret — a Taina name honoring Cacikea Anacaona, a once Great Haitian Chieftess, who had 80 regional chiefs under her, and was the most beautiful Taina in all of the Caribbean, where anacaona means Golden Flower. The main woman on the island now is named Anacaona, but is called simply Annie. They went in their usual garb, he in tan shorts and sleeved white shirt; she in short olive skirt and thin lighter olive sleeved shirt somewhat open.  

As Bukhi and Cassie entered the Cabaret the evening was in full blast. Hotter than outside because of the many dancing bodies, with various smokes clouding the air and aromas from drinks compounding the effect, and the rhythms and melodies of hot Afro-Caribbean dances beat forth by a superb conjunto heated the bodies further, resulting in intense, raunchy communal sensuality.  

They cruised the tables, joshing with friends, and joined a table with several others as those present pulled up more chairs. While Bukhi and Cassie didn’t do drugs, not even joints, they did drink modestly, and called for their favorite in this setting: tequila on ice. Conversation was fast and fun and about nothing in particular, as the two waited for the conjunto to get around to their favorite rhythms: the slower, sensual guajira, guarija son, montuno and son montuno, It came: a superbly slow, deeply rhythmic, grippingly melodic guajira. Bukhi and Cassie became wholly immersed in it, bodies so close as to be one, in perfect accord with the beat and spirit of the strains, breaking for individual variations with passionate beckoning, and firm rejoining. Onward they went, as the pieces changed to montuno, guaguanco son, a faster guaracha, back to guajira, and onward, as the sweat of the night rolled down.  

At one point Bukhi broke from Cassie, saying, “Look over there, in the shadows!” She did. “Oh hell. It’s them. Watching our sinful infidel wassail. What now?” The Muslims were clapping enthusiastically, but left upon being seen. Cassie and Bukhi resumed dancing, and the evening beat on.  

Soon the Muslims were back with their three women. Exquisitely beautiful women in matching Arabic costumes. Several of the men were carrying musical instruments. The whole Club quickly absorbed their imminence, and grew quiet. The Muslims moved forward with their instruments toward the band platform, from which the Latinos graciously withdrew, and set up their group. Bukhi and Cassi were enthralled because they loved Arabic music to the extent they knew it from nightclubs in the New York area, popular music, that is, although Bukhi thought that they were carrying instruments for predominantly classical Arabic music: an oud — a stringed instrument with a long bent neck, vaguely analogous to a guitar; a kaman, or violin; a quanun – an ornate, 81-stringed, trapezoid-shaped flat-board harp; a nay — a simple yet very soulful cane flute; and a riq — a small tambourine, with goat or fish skins drawn tight over a wooden frame having five sets of two pairs of brass cymbals spaced evenly around the frame,  

Club members set up a large table for the Muslims to use as a base, which they did, and then moved on to the band platform, where they quickly set up, tuned up, and began playing. They presented a thrilling tableau of sight and sound, as the three women in their exquisite outfits most rhythmically and curvaceously molded themselves to the melodies and rhythms produced by the five instrumentalists, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly, sometimes languidly. Members were thrilled, and at appropriate breaks cheered with great enthusiasm. After playing for about half and hour they quit and withdrew to their table. Bukhi arranged joining tables to the Muslim’s table, had all alcoholic beverages removed and soft beverages substituted, as well as all pork tamales and such also removed, moves quietly noted with deep appreciation by the Muslims. Bukhi and Cassie seated themselves across from Sayyid, and a delightful cross-cultural evening continued in full mode.  

In response to questions Sayyid explained the instruments: their histories, structures, characteristics, and methods of playing, and how this ensemble represents just a very small sample of the very large and diverse world of Arabic musical instruments. While all of the Latino and Indian musicians were quite interested, Cassie, the concert pianist, was especially so. All food and beverages for the Muslims were completely on the house, and a lively conviviality inspirited the scene. The Muslim women described the fabrics and constructions of their elegant costumes in response to eager questions from the Member women. They also explained some of their dance motions, demonstrating as they talked. Except for Sayyid, the Arabs’ English was a struggle to understand, but all went passably, with some guessing and mutual help as to how to phrase or interpret an expression. Conversation came round to the Members explaining their instruments, melodies and rhythms, and demonstrating some dance steps with explanations of which of all that was Taino, Afro-Cuban, Latino, various Caribbean, and so on. The very full evening was showing in the mounting fatigue on all faces. The Muslims were released free of clean-up chores, to retire to their cottage and ritual ablutions, while the Members cleaned up…and closed up…on one of the best evenings that the Anacaona Cabaret had ever enjoyed.  

It had been agreed that all would meet again tomorrow evening at the Cabaret, and that Sayidd and his group would take a table with Bukhi, Cassie and whomever they wished, to enjoy that evening together, too. And that they would all get there early in order to enjoy a full, relaxed dinner and chat, wherever it might lead. Sayyid gave Bukhi a list of food avoidances, and Bukhi had passed that on to the kitchen, which would make appropriate Caribbean and Taino dishes.

When Bukhi and Cassie got back they washed the grime of the Cabaret off with a starlit  splash-about in the sea, soaping and rinsing each other with sensual accents and dalliances to enrich the mundane.  Then, sitting at the picnic table draped in towels they capped the evening off with their favorite cognac, and were soon snoozing amorously in the cottage as gentle waves splashed the shore.

The next evening everyone who intended to had sauntered into the Anacaona Cabaret by around six o’clock and taken tables or stations in the kitchen or began waiting on tables.  A large crowd turned up, for interest was high, as were expectations of fierce verbal fireworks. Four large heavy wood tables were set together in a row, forming a long party table, which would soon evolve into a conference table, and then transmogrify into a ferocious verbal battleground. By prearrangement, Sayyid and his four doctrinally knowledgeable compatriots sat directly opposite Cassie and Bukhi. Remarkably, their womenfolk attended, too. On the other side, neither Cassie nor Bukhi had knowledgeable colleagues who could substantively help them in the discussion that would follow, thus putting a large burden on them.

Sayyid opened:  As I understand it, we are to critique each other’s religion.  Since I have spent much time in the West and studied history, philosophy and religion at length, much in courses at Cambridge, I feel some qualification from my side.  But I have no idea what you two know about Islam, if anything. So I will let you — either of you — go first by asking you to tell us what one English word comes to mind when you think of Islam?

Cassie:  Submission.

Sayyid:  Why ’submission’?

Cassie:  Because that is the translation of ‘Islam’ into English.  And that is what Islam is mostly about:  submission submission submission.

Sayyid:  You are etymologically correct but doctrinally false.  To us it is submission to the Will of God, of Allah.  Why should you object to or even concern yourself about that?

Cassie:  Because Islamic submission is not just to God; it is total, is bound up in a whole-life tyranny, as set forth in your Koran, Hadith and Sharia.  As we said at the Point, some day visit the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, and stand in the middle and look up at the inside rim of the rotunda.  There you will see inscribed his declaration:  On the altar of God I swear eternal hostility towards all forms of tyranny over the mind of man.  Again, as we said at the Point, yours is the most total, global, brutal and violent tyranny ever concocted by the mind of man.

Sayyid:  You are outrageous in your sweeping denunciation and its implicit ignorance.  But assume for the moment for the sake of discussion that you are correct.  Then it is a tyranny of us against us, of Islam over Islamists, and, again, not your concern.  Since we have limited time and since all flows from our Qur’an, we will limit ourselves to that.  And that was not concocted by man.  It was delivered to Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel.  It is wholly the word of Allah, of God.

Cassie: With enough time you would see how heavily informed I am. But it is not a matter of just Islamists against Islamists. There are more than a billion of you worldwide, and the planet cannot have peace with a billion Islamists living and aggressing under such an ethos. Worse yet, there is not a shred of evidence of God-given holiness, of sanctity, to the origin of the Koran. Gabriel passing God‘s word to Muhammad in a cave or anywhere is pure mythology, utter myth, a massive pious fraud, by an ignorant, illiterate camel-caravan merchant of the Koreish tribe. The exhaustive scholarship of the late 19th century center of global Islamic scholarship in Glasgow, Scotland, especially the extraordinary work of Sir William Muir, proved without any question whatsoever, from original Arabic documents of the time how the Koran was created over many years by Muhammad in collaboration with his Jewish friends and a few Christian friends, whose religious mythologies he garbled in creating his own, which he declared to be the third, last and correct testament, superseding the first two. He was of violent, intolerant temperament, and built an empire on that testament and its sword, and slaughtered those who did not believe or would not convert, as his book commanded to do to the infidels.  

Sayyid: I have heard infidels in my day but you are turning out to be the worst. Nevertheless, I will contain my rage — and I can see that my friends are equally enraged — and I say that I would like to see some of the William Muir proof you allude to, assuming it really exists.  

Cassie: I am sure that there are many libraries where you can see it, including Cambridge where you say you studied, but I will name just the one I know: Firestone Library of Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. On the top floor back in some dusty shelves is a four-volume work by Muir — Bukhi would you please get the reference.

Bukhi left, ran over to the cottage where he had built a library and returned, handing her a slip he had written the reference on. Cassie read it aloud so all could get the idea. “There are two editions, 1858 and 1878. The title is The Life of Mahomet and History of Islam, To the Hegira / With Introductory Chapters on the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet and on the Pre-Islamic History of Arabia. Published in London by Smith, Elder & Company. The 1878 edition, The Life of Mahomet / From Original Sources — same publisher — is abridged from the first. These volumes cannot be appreciated without personally seeing their extraordinary, massive detail, much being in the original Arabic of the original sources, which are thoroughly documented.   

Sayyid: Sounds like a Western massive pious fraud!  

Cassie: Now I regret my naïve naming of the library — which your people will probably go and burn down. For Islam does not admit free and open discourse, especially from a woman. You blow up Buddha statues, issue a death Fatwa on an Indian writer whose book offends you, you go on a worldwide arson, rioting and killing rampage because a Danish cartoonist offended you, you blow up girls schools, hotels, resorts, and so on an on. Yes, there are a few democratic Islamic societies, like Indonesia, but they are infidels according to the Muslim orthodox.  

With his tan turned red Sayyid started to speak but Cassie cut him off. “Before you start taking unwarranted umbrage be aware that while we were talking Bukhi ran over to the cottage library and has brought back the classic raw, unexpurgated translation of the Koran — the great George Sale translation published in Great Britain in 1734. Our purposes will be best served if I may be allowed to quote from that work. I’ll move quickly and not bother to cite the particular Surahs, and I’ll abbreviate long sentences by omitting phrases without particular impact.  

Unbelievers shall suffer a grievous punishment  

The infidels shall suffer a grievous punishment  

They to whom we have given the Koran…and whoever believeth not therein, they shall perish  

Whoever believeth not … I will drive him to the punishment of hellfire  

And kill them wherever ye find them…for temptation to idolatry is more grievous than slaughter  

War is enjoined you against the infidels  

But the recompense of those who fight against God and his apostle, and study to act corruptly in the earth, shall be, that they be slain, or crucified, or have their hands and their feet cut off on the opposite sides, and be banished of the land.  

Therefore prepare against them what force ye are able, and troops of horse, whereby ye may strike terror into the enemy of God, and your enemy, and into other infidels besides them…  

It hath not been granted unto any prophet, that he should possess captives, until he had made a great slaughter of the infidels in the earth.  

Kill the idolaters wheresoever ye shall find them, and take them prisoners, and besiege them, and lay wait for them in every convenient place.  

When ye encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads, until he have made a great slaughter among them; and bind them in bonds: and either give them a free dismissal afterwards, or exact a ransom; until the war shall have laid down its arms.  

The true believers say, Hath not a Surah been revealed commanding war against the infidels.  

I’ll stop there. The point should be clear.  

Sayyid: I am surprised that you have taken the tack you have — for the very same — or, rather analogous critique can be made of your Judaeo-Christianity. Brace yourself. First off: There is no divinity whatsoever to Judaism. Its origins lay in the mythologies of ancient Sumer, which migrated ultimately to what would come to be called the Palestine region, where the Israelites adopted them and developed them further into what became a major new mythology, the monotheistic religion called Judaism, named after the region of Palestine where that evolution mainly took place, namely Judaea. God had nothing to do with it. There is no divinity to Judaism.  

Cassie: I’ll buy that. In fact, I’ve long known it. And it reinforces my assertion that there is no divinity to Islam, because Muhammad derived so much of the Qur’an from Judaism. The big and major difference between the Old Testament and the Qur’an is savagery; The Qur’an is a fiercely savage book, as demonstrated by the quotes I gave a few minutes ago.  

Sayyid: I am amazed that you miss the much deeper and more profound savagery of the Old Testament…Amazed. At the very beginning, in your GENESIS, Cain and Abel make offerings to your God. Cain makes a peaceful offering of crops; Abel makes the bloody offering of a sacrificed lamb, and your God chooses the lamb. Cain is furious, and kills Abel. God puts a mark on Cain to protect him, thus protecting the first murderer.  

Cassie: You make much of an ancient myth, which I take it to be.  

Sayyid: But its bloody spirit, and principle permeates your Old Testament. It is full of savage, bloody episodes, battles, vengeances and so on. I did a computer count on the word ’blood’ and got 307 times, making that an extremely bloody book and religion.  

Cassie: But it becomes the foundation of two sharply contrasting religion foundation books, the New Testament of Christianity and the Qur’an of Islam. The first promotes Love, the second promotes Hate and Slaughter.  

Sayyid: Superficially, but fundamentally it brings Bloodshed to new heights. Jesus is considered the Agnes Dei — the Lamb of God — and echoing Abel — is slaughtered on the Cross as an offering to propitiate your God!! And bloodshed becomes a fundamental principle in the NT. For instance, in Hebrews Chapter 9…one minute while I find it in my notes here. Ah, here, about Moses: “he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without the shedding of blood is no remission.” You can’t get more savage than that. I did a computer count of the word ‘blood‘ in the NT and got 94. That makes a total of 401 for your Judaeo-Christian Bible — making it one of the bloodiest books in all history. [Getting quite heated and forceful, Sayyid continues.] Furthermore, while I am at it, you deny divinity to the Qur’an but there is even less divinity to the New Testament and its consequent Christianity because the divinity of Jesus and Christianity rests entirely on the legend of the Resurrection — and modern scholarship shows conclusively that that story is riddled with holes and totally falls apart. There has been much in your TV and press on that development.  

Cassie: I, and many other Judaeo-Christians fully accept much of your critique, for we are rational and empirical, and do so without murder and bombings in revenge — which is how your Islam responds to any form of criticism or even just lampooning or literary satire for refusal to accept the total ‘submission’ that the word ‘islam’ means and the Qur’an demands at pain of amputations and death. Hopelessly and utterly savage.  

Sayyid [with great agitation]: As before, you go too far — much too far. There is no way that we as religionists can accept your savage — really secular — ethos. You talk but have no understanding. Or religion.  What is your religion?  

Bukhi:  Our religion is what a Pakistani professor advises.

Sayyid:  Who?  And what?

Bukhi:  Pervez Hoodbhoy, chairman of and professor in the physics department of Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, where he has taught for over 30 years.  His article “Science and the Islamic world” appeared in PHYSICS TODAY in 2007, and focused on the question:  With over a billion Muslims and extensive resources why is the Islamic world disengaged from science and the creation of new knowledge?

He noted that there was no science in Arab culture in Islam’s initial period around 610 AD — about which I comment:  the total absence of science and its culture of free inquiry, rationalism and empiricism was essential for the concoction by and acceptance of Muhammad and his Islam.  Including perpetual Jihad.  And today’s slaughters.

Hoodbhoy goes on to note that as Islam expanded and came into contact with Greek learning, liberal and enlightened caliphs encouraged visits by scholars from far and wide.  Politics became dominated by the rationalist Mutazilites, who sought to combine faith with reason in opposition to the dogmatic Asharites — and became tolerant and pluralistic — with Muslims, Christians and Jews living and creating works of art and science together.

Then emerged Islam’s Golden Age of math, science and medicine in the 9th to 13th centuries.  But it suddenly ended.  Science in the Islamic world collapsed.  Because theological tensions between liberal and fundamentalist interpretations of Islam turned bloody.  A resurgent Islamic orthodoxy crushed the Mutazilites — and a long period of darkness has followed.  Nevertheless, a few Islamic scholars urged acceptance of the Enlightenment.  But that proved futile. In the 20th century there was some motion towards modernization and acquisition of  technology — but a Muslim scientific renaissance — in its deep, profound sense, methods and findings –never ensued.  And philosophical discussions about the implications of modern science have not occurred  — crushed under the weight of Islamic orthodoxy and superstition.  Scientific explanations of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan were ridiculed.  Throughout Pakistan it was attributed entirely to God’s wrath — even among Hoodbhoy’s students.

I would add:  In all of modern physical cosmology — back to the Big Bang and out to the farthest reaches — there is not a glimmer of anything Islamic.  Or Judaic.  Or Christian.

After extensive examination of the negative impact of Islamic culture on scientific culture he concludes that secular humanism is the only reasonable choice.

And that is what we are:  secular humanists.

Sayyid:  Clearly, he doesn’t believe in Allah — and you two don’t believe in your own God.  You are all infidels.

Sayyid’s colleagues had become highly agitated — furious.  

Bukhi: This has gone as far as it can — or as far as I can let it go without risking actual violence — which is at some point is the Islamic way. So I am calling a halt.  

Sayyid: The Islamic way, huh? You are no better. You provided material for her and now slur us. A pox on you too.  

There was a great stirring, It was late. Matters ended abruptly. The Muslims rushed out first. The others did a partial cleanup, but left most for the next day. Bukhi and Cassie headed back to their cottage. Someone turned out the lights.  

The morning after, friends dropped in at Cassie’s cottage to discuss further the evening’s debate. They weren’t there.  

The only direction to search for them was towards the other end of the elongated island, towards Manataka Point. As they walked they noticed that the Arabs were not in their cottage either. It had been emptied of their possessions.  

Now truly worried they stopped off at their cabins to pick up cell phones and a digital camera, and then walked as fast as possible. They reached a point where they could see that the Arabs’ plane was gone. They must have cut it loose, drifted, and when well out of earshot, started the engine and taken off. The friends now ran towards the point.  

As they cleared the last mound a sight of utter, ultimate horror hit them: The naked beheaded bodies of Cassie and Bukhi tied to crosses. Cassie’s head was set on a rock beside Bukhi, and Bukhi’s head was set on a rock beside Cassie. Cassie’s left hand and right foot and Buhki’s right hand and left foot had been cut off, and were piled between them. The crosses were tied with leather thongs, as were Bukhi’s and Cassies wrists, feet and stubs tied to the crosses rather than nailed, probably to avoid the sound of hammering. The executioners must have brought the wood pieces with them. Probably had more in the plane. For whatever occasions of such divine fervor might occur.  

The friends took cell phone and digital camera pictures, and headed back as fast as possible.  

When they got back they radioed private and small commercial airlines they knew personally on islands up and down the Antilles that had seaplanes, giving them descriptions of the Arabs’ plane and its markings, urging that they shoot it down with high-powered hunting rifles, surface, take whomever survived the crash as prisoners, and bring them to Manataka Island.  

While those calls were being made a party of five Manatakans hopped into their large power boat with the cell phones, digital camera, a personal computer with wifi, and spare batteries, and headed towards the small cluster of rocks rising out of the ocean about three nautical miles southeast. The cluster of sharply jagged rocks was twenty feet high at its peak, spanned about 500 square feet, was a rest stop for assorted exotic birds who could withstand the winds, and most remarkably it was embedded in cell phone and computer wireless signals, an accidental discovery by a Tanakan fishing party some years back. Its rocks were slippery from green algae and cutting from barnacles, which combined with the slamming of ocean waves made foot landings not worth the risks. It comprised an ideal isolated outpost for defensive or offensive purposes as needed. They called it Tiburon — Taino language for shark.  

They brought their boat close to Tiburon where the waves were least, and hurled a grappling hook onto the rocks, where it held tight. They then sent cell phone emails of the pictures of the naked double-beheaded, limbs-chopped crucifixions to friends, families, contacts, media and government officials, using their long acquired email addressess, in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Central America, South America, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, Malaysia, China, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan, and Al Qaeda in Wiziristan – with appropriate condemnatory and inflammatory messages. They connected the digital camera to the PC and sent its pictures to major Internet sites. It was a long, tedious process as the waves tossed the boat about and the sun beat down and slowly set, and windy ocean cold became bitter. When the task had been sufficiently completed they lifted the grappling hook with an extendable pole, freed the boat, and sped back in dusk.  

Thus did modern telecommunications rapidly amplify rage among Manatakans into rage among nations. The people and nations of Abrahamic Civilization became immediately enraged, with mobs in unison screaming for accountability and in battle slaughtering Muslims with whatever was at hand. Facilitated by modern voice and video telecommunications and travel, those embattlements quickly spilled over into other regions and ethnicities, igniting other longstanding conflicts between Hindus and Moslems in India and between India and Pakistan, and between Moslems, Christians, Taoists, Buddhists and seculars against each other, and so on and on among the hominids and their gods, myths and doctrines, until decades of failed nuclear non-proliferation efforts arose globally in infamous mushroom clouds as nations and non-nations resorted to atomic fission and thermonuclear fusion bombs that produced their miles-wide fireball suns, heat and radioactive blasts, searing all in their paths and clogging the atmosphere with thick dirt, dust and radioactive-particles clouds that shut out all sunlight and ushered in a bitter, frigid ice age, which together with the blankets of radioactive ground cover killed all life on planet earth, which whirled on silently in its orbit.  

The view slowly recedes, showing the smoking planet farther and farther in the distance until it disappears amidst the stars in the blackness of space and dark energy, and there arises, faint at first, the Chorus that concludes Johann Sebastian Bach’s Mass In B Minor, the greatest musical work of art of all times and all nations, which swells to a massive crescendo, until a moment before it ends, that Chorus’s name appears in large white letters across the cosmos:

DONA  NOBIS  PACEM 

The sentence fades…and the English translation emerges…

GIVE US PEACE

 

The sentence fades…Stars on black cosmos…A supernova explodes in the distance…

Total black

The last chords

Silence

  

 

 

 

Copyright (c) 2010 by Stephen Edward Seadler  

 

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: