A bank of seventeen small video screens mounted on pegs grow out of the gallery wall like mushroom spores. Each screen projects a talking head: man, woman, young, old, black, brown, white, all musing on the future. Their future, their family’s future, their nation’s future, the future of the planet, my future, your future, our future.
24.3 | Populism
Decades ago the Prince of Wales exhorted Britons to converse in ‘proper’ English, by which he meant ‘English English’, and to resist the viral creep of American English, users of which are inclined ‘to invent all sorts of nouns and verbs, and make words that shouldn’t be’.
In times such as these – Brexit, Trump, Macron being the most notable headlines – it seems appropriate to reconsider the complacent authority vested in the old adage ‘vox populi, vox Dei’, the concept that the voice of the people is the voice of God.
I blame Paul Berman, Christopher Hitchens and, of course, Tony Blair. They became the enemy within: the intrepid jihadists parachuted behind the lines into the citadels of the liberal left and proceeded to disseminate ‘kosher’ Islamophobia using the rhetoric of defending ‘liberalism’ against ‘illiberal’ outsiders.
The July 2017 decision of Pakistan’s Supreme Court to convict Nawaz Sharif for his part in the Panama Papers scandal should not come as a huge shock. Since the country’s inception seventy years ago, every single ruler has been forced out of office prematurely.
Sindbad, Hayy bin Yaqzan, Odysseus, Azad, Amir Hamza, Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver, Hatim Tai, Don Quixote, Peter Pan; such characters took him to an expedition – on a journey to the future.
It was with some excitement that I opened the first page of Sarvat Hasin’s debut novel and prepared to become fully immersed in a mesmerising story of four sisters, their devotion to their mother, fondness for a father largely absent as a result of war, and their friendship with a young boy who lives across the road.
I stumbled into Cairo determined to learn Arabic, read the Quran, experience Muslim culture first-hand and test my enthusiasm for Islam.