“When someone says something derogatory against our religion Islam or against our Prophet,” said a mild mannered religious scholar on a Pakistani TV channel recently, “even an ant becomes a lion.” There was a brief delay here after the latest deliberate provocation—last Friday, expectant foreign correspondents gathered outside the usual mosques to watch only a few dozen protestors turned out to burn American flags—but eventually the ants did their duty. As I write these lines, violent protests have broken out across Pakistan on the occasion of a newly-declared national holiday, the Day of
“Chinese law is a big joke.” So says Ai Weiwei, China’s premier artist, in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary which was released late last month. In recent years, Ai has been the most prominent critic of his government’s repression and lack of transparency.
There are signs that he thinks he can. Barak Ravid reports in yesterday’s Ha’aretz that a high-level but unnamed U.S. official has complained about American Jews speaking up about how they feel and what they think about U.S. policy towards Jerusalem. I don’t particularly agree with what I’ve discerned as Ravid’s political views. But he is certainly a reliable journalist. He did not make this up. It’s one thing, however unbecoming, for the Obami to lecture Israel about its capital. Still, truth be told, the U.S.
The small crowd by the American consulate ripples like a jellyfish in water. A young Dominican strides down the sidewalk and passersby yield piously. I'm at home again, silent as a Buddhist. I count the days of happiness and fretting, days spent seeking you frantically, finding just a metaphor, an image, days of Ecclesiastes and the Psalmist. I remember the heatstruck scent of heather, the smell of sap in the forest by the sea, the dark of a white chapel in Provence, where only a candle's sun glowed. I remember Greece's small olives, Westphalia's gleaming railroads and the long trip to bid m