Saturday, February 21, 2015

Inshallah by Alys Einion

Though still debating with friends and colleagues  the issue of whether to boycott Amazon altogether because of that company's failure to pay a fair amount of tax on its sales to UK customers, I find the convenience of the Kindle and cheapness of the books offered  (usually 0.99p) ideal for a 35 minute TfL underground train commute each day from Wimbledon to Temple stations. Let the UK government sort out that company's fair tax regime is my view at present at least.

One such  0.99p novel that I have just finished (see this blog post's title) made me reflect quite considerably about life, love, religion, nationality history women and men.

Amanda  who is a  (what used to be called) working class  girl, is precluded by her family from bettering herself at university;she meets and essentially is raped by a young Saudi Muslim man; she marries him; goes to live in Saudi; has more children; is battered and assaulted time and time again by her husband who  clearly has many problems; meets some great US and English girls; finds a teaching post, really appreciates  her  Muslim religion but the assaults by her husband become unbearable and eventually escape plans,,.

There are many thoughts provoked by the book though judging from the Amazon reviewers most  readers are female or at least those who have expressed their views there.  My principal thought was how fortunate we are in England/the UK that the Magna Carta was agreed by King John at Runnymede as long ago as 1215. As an aside I recall when  a boy at Beaumont College Beaumont nearby  speaking with Senator Edward Kennedy through his open car window when at Runnymede before the  opening the Kennedy memorial there on 14th May 1964 - a memorable birthday.

Inshallah makes plain that the issues for many women in the Middle East are not caused by Islam which religion appears in fact to emphasise  the importance of women in society. Rather the issues are caused by the state. Thus taking motor car driving as an example, the car had not even been invented at the time of the foundations of any of the great faiths yet in Saudi so Inshallah depicts, for a woman to drive a motor car alone is illegal - what nonsense that appears to western eyes at least.

If the monarchy in the UK had not been trammeled at the time of the Magna Carta lives of UK citizens today would be far more restricted or possibly we would like our French neighbours, be on  our fifth republic or so.

Whether the absence of a Magna Carta moment in the history of the Middle East affects the way of life there in C21 is impossible to say but in my humble opinion that part of the world would benefit by their own such moments.

Inshallah is a very thought provoking read so much so that on the last page I almost failed to notice the  underground train's arrival at Temple.

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