On Saturday I was texted:
The Sandmonkey had come out of the closet
from a Pakistani friend living in Austin. I use to follow a gay Iraqi blogger, Salam Pax, years ago. I had not suspected The Sandmonkey. Texted back –
So he is gay?
No, he is no longer anonymous.
Well we ended up talking on the phone about world politics for about an hour. Something we use to do regularly when he worked here. We argued whether people from Pakistan were Central Asians or South Asian, whether the Islamic translation for marriage vs. wedding was the contract vs. the ceremony or vice versa, and about Egypt.
Regarding Egypt, he is of the same opinion as my Egyptian friend – that Egypt is too diverse to go the way of Iran – I hope both of them are right. We really didn’t argue so much about Egypt as criticize those involved, particularly the US Department of State ( and praise how much smarter we are than everyone else 😉 ). I have heard a lot of criticism of the intelligence apparatus, such as the CIA, but really – who in the hell didn’t know that it was a powder keg? The authoritarian government of Egypt and widespread corruption in that part of the world has made the people’s lives miserable. Our “Betters” have bought a bill of goods that “they are either incapable of democracy or not worth the effort to implant it” or “who are we of all people to say what sort of government others should employ?”
The current administration has managed to alienate pretty much everyone on this issue, foreign head’s of state to democratic activist and now they fear a one man, one vote, one time where democracy and human rights are again usurped.
The administration is trying to sail in a storm. A storm not of their own making, but one they sailed into without preparing. But that is my point about the department of State. It is not like this has not happened before, is it? It happened to us in Iran and to the Soviets in Eastern Europe. The events are catastrophic in that they occur at random times and abruptly, but they somewhat predictable, like house damage in a storm. Storms happen! If one lives up in the North East, you prepare for snow, California earthquakes. There should have been decades of plans based on the historic records and lessons learned.
Why were we even discussing the Islamic difference between as wedding ceremony and a marriage ceremony? To my mind, they were interchangeable until my Egyptian friend exposed me to the concept. See, he was getting married. He told me the marriage was on a particular date but the wedding was several days later.
So the marriage is a legal contract while the wedding is a religious ceremony and social event. This makes sense to my libertarian inclinations. That is the State should get out of the marriage contract business and have a domestic contract that couple who wish to wed can enter into, or anyone else. Why shouldn’t two women who have no sexual interest in the other but are life-long friends enter into such a contract? They could both be widows who want the social, legal and tax benefits afforded such couples. If you want to wed, or “marry” go to your religious institution.
I will pause at this point and await the usual lack of comments.