There is something in the air and everyone can smell it, even if they don’t know where it comes from or even why it exists. The Victorians had a word for it: Miasma — and it brought disease in its wake. Our contemporary Miasma — in Egypt, in Tunisia, in Greece and in the UK, too, has, I would argue, a more positive aspect. Whatever it is that’s mysteriously hanging in the air, it seems to be driving wider and wider circles of people to distraction. Of course, it isn’t actually ‘bad air’ that is at the root of our current social malaise. It is, instead, the very real dislocation afflicting the world economic and social order in the perhaps equally mysterious, to some, workings of the capitalist market. You know the fanciful tale of interconnectedness — supposedly based on chaos theory — where the butterfly beats its wings in one place and hurricanes arise in response in another? Let’s transform the butterfly into a banker and the hurricane into a protester or ‘rioter’ in Cairo or London. This is the interconnectedness that dare not speak its name.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

Access our entire archive of 350+ articles from the world's leading writers on Islam.
Only £3.30/month, cancel anytime.


Already subscribed? Log in here.

Not convinced? Read this: why should I subscribe to Critical Muslim?

Elsewhere on Critical Muslim: