Friday, February 7, 2014

Fri. eve. linkage (abbreviated)

This post from a year ago (h/t), recounting a conversation on a train between a young Bangladeshi and an observant Jew, is quite interesting. The one thing that rang a bit false (if understandably so) was the Bangladeshi's reference to his country having "won its civil war" with Pakistan: the young man neglected to mention India which, um, played a part.

ETA: The conversation centers on the Jewish guy's answer to the Bangladeshi's question about why some Pakistanis look down on Bangladeshis. But I'm not going to reveal the answer here; that would spoil the fun. Suffice to say it's not something you will expect (at least, I didn't).


LFC said...

HC had a negative reaction to this. (I will reproduce that e-mail comment here later.)

LFC said...

HC wrote:

"Ok, i read the long-winded, self-indulgent, ill-written original post [i.e. the linked post] and i conclude that the answer is more weird than insightful, and if it is at all insightful, it is probably because this guy, as an Orthodox Jew, has special...access to some extremely sexist thinking. Why not mention the more obvious reasons: that West [Pakistan] used to regard the East at least to some extent as inferior, a kind of colony meant for their exploitation (right?), and/or that they are sore losers?"

Reasonable points, I think, though I don't think the linked post was all that badly written.

T. Greer said...

Reasonable points, yes. But correct ones?

I am currently reading Fitzgerald's Fire in the Lake. One of the points Ms. Fitzgerald hammers in again and again is that the Vietnamese did not think like the Americans did. What was obvious to the Americans was not obvious to the Vietnamese; what motivated the Vietnamese was repulsive to the Americans.

Because Americans were never able to see the world through the more 'backward' Vietnamese lens their project was doomed from the start.

I think we have faced a very similar problem in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East.

There are more 'Obvious reasons' -- sure. But whose? Perhaps the average Wazir may find a different answer 'obvious' than the ones that first jump to the educated, Western mind.

That the titular Bangladeshi, thought his answer more insightful than offensive is telling.

LFC said...

I'm inclined to think there probably is something to his (i.e. the Orthodox Jew's) answer. Though, as with virtually all such things, there's probably a mixture of motives/reasons at work.

As someone who grew up in a Jewish (though definitely not Orthodox) family, I'll also say that the post put the Purim story in a somewhat different light for me, though I'd prob. need to re-read it to get all the nuances. (I am unobservant today, not that that's relevant.)

Fire in the Lake is a classic; I don't currently have a copy on the shelf, but I should.

Seth Barrett Tillman said...

Seth Barrett Tillman, Cologne, Rape, and “Purim & My Bangladeshi Friend,” The New Reform Club (Feb. 23, 2016, 3:05 AM),

I have decided to re-circulate the short story above in light of current news (and today's date -- Purim Katan). You posted on my story once before, I am hoping you will consider a link/post again.

Thank you,