I had no idea that so many people, especially in Holland, got so exited about my little Ashura video (see post below). This, huh, cinematic masterpiece, is currently ranked as the 8th most watched video on Youtube (in section: News and Politics). More people have watched Ashura than Larry Kings interview with some UFO nutters (currently ranked 13th).
A couple of points though:
- Many muslim-haters in the West watched my video, saw the blood and decided: These guys must be f***** insane! Yes, Ashura is pretty bloody, but it has been around for 1400 years. When you are so into muslim-bashing and the Clash of Civillizations - I find it pretty f***** insane you did not know about Ashura.
- Ever visited concerts, rave parties, disco's in Holland or the rest of Europe? Well, 6000 people - in trance - dancing like weirdo's. Shi'ites just perform the ritual once a year, most muslim-bashers every Friday- and Saturday night. And believe me, the amount of vomit at these parties exceeds the amount of blood during Ashura.
- The Ashura boys in Nabatiye do NOT hit their heads until it starts bleeding. No! What actually happens is this: A friend or family member uses a knife and makes a little cut on the top of the head. This hurts as much as receiving an injection hurts. The immediate result though is that the blood gushes out and before you can say Haile Selassie your face is drenched in blood. So it is not painful at all. Yes, some participants faint or need medical care, but this is due to blood loss, not pain.
- It seems bloody but Ashura is absolutely non-violent. And nobody forces you to participate. In Nabatiye, I never felt even remotely threatened by the people. Everybody was polite and friendly. Compare that to attending a soccer match in Europe....
- More and more people in the West can't deal with globalization. Terrified by change and scared of everything alien, many only react with hatred and condemnation to anything outside their own reality. Of course, Ashura has been going on for 1400 years. But until recently, nobody in the West ever knew about it, heard of it or saw it. With TV and the Internet it is all different now. Ashura, suddenly, on your computer in your living room in Amsterdam, with Muslims living around the corner???? No context, no knowledge. The primal response: This is sick, these people must be mad...and terrorists of course.
The funny thing though is that many people in the Middle East would respond with equal disgust, or at least surprise, the moment I would ask them to watch the following Dutch carnival song called Ko zak door! or Ko get drunk!.
Or what about this video: Vomiting during the LOVE Parade in Essen, Germany. You still think Ashura is strange?
Every society has its own weird stuff. In some places it is called Ashura, somewhere else carnival, in a third spot the Love Parade.
Whatever. As long as people aren't killing each other or forcing others to join in - it seems all OK to me.
The magic of modernity is to be able to realize that the earth rotates at a dazzling speed. The reason we do not fall off is not because we stand still or try to hide. The only reason we survive is because its speed is constant.