Friday, December 28, 2007

Pointing: Benazir Bhutto

Bhutto was a glimmer of the Future.

Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007

I am not even sure what draft this is of this post. I have lost track. I have proved unable today to say who Benazir Bhutto was to me and more importantly why.

She called me this morning at 8am. Until Tuesday night She had not even known who Bhutto was. Christmas night we went to see Charlie Wilson's War. In the conversation that followed over a traditional Christmas sushi dinner the Bhutto family came up and I tried to explain the reference in the movie to the show-trial murder of Benazir's father. We went on to talk about the importance of the Bhutto family and as we moved into a discussion of contemporary politics, I tried to explain the significance and importance of Benazir Bhutto.

I admit I was not adequate to the task. I was just finishing high school when she became PM for the first time. I was much more political then than I am now and I recall being struck by her. Maybe I had a crush on her. Whatever the case, I was amazed by her. Her rise to power and her courage. The fact that she seemed unflinching in the face of constant anger and hatred that was directed at her and her family. I was struck by her election to the office of PM and the harsh light that event shined upon the reality of women in American politics at the time [recall the absolute slaughter of Mondale with Ferraro on his ticket, for instance]. In that sense Bhutto was one of the forces that led me, let's be honest here, slowly, towards feminism.

I tried to compare her to the other great female politicians of the 20th century: Thatcher, Meir, Ghandi. I noted on Tuesday night that her decision to return to Pakistan this year almost certainly meant that her fate and Indira Ghandi's would ultimately be the same - that she would in all likelihood join her father and brothers - that she had somehow, self-consciously and with courage chosen a path that would end with her murder. I had no idea that two days later...

As I said, She called me at 8am this morning. I went downstairs and for reasons I cannot fully explain cried. And cried. The gora with no ties of blood to Pakistan, the Christian who had never lived there, raised in the south eastern United States, cried. Until I was exhausted. Possibilities had disappeared from the world because - and this is the best I can manage, I am sorry to say - Bhutto was Possibility.

She was the ability to see the future beyond the horizon of life and death that seems to engulf everything.

I am no longer deeply political. Or the nature of my politics has radically changed. However one wants to say it, it was no longer Bhutto's politics that made her compelling to me. What made her compelling was her ability to return to Pakistan in October. Her ability to face forces that were beyond her capacity to contain, beyond the ability of a single will to master and bend, and to stand against those forces and point to the Future that those forces sought to deny. That they denied again today. Bhutto affirmed the possibility of a Future that was itself not bound by or to the forces that sought to deny it. Bhutto pointed!

To Allah we belong and to Allah we return.

Monday, December 24, 2007

birth: five propositions for meister eckhart on christmas (the struggle, part 8)

Arthur Hughes, "The Nativity" (1858)

mary gave birth to Truth so that the Truth might be made universally incarnate in us.

until the event of Truth is universally incarnate as History, nothing is Whole (adorno: "the whole is the false").

Truth must be realized in order to be Whole, therefore we must give birth to Truth.

mary is the last moment before the initial realization of Truth. mary realized that she was nothing and thus she was set free to be the event of the birth of Truth: the one whose heart had the fecundity of virginity and the purity of motherhood. but beyond mary's insight, one must realize that the consummation of the nothing is Truth and that the Truth is not-other to the nothing. this is incarnation.

today, we too fail to grasp the possibility of the Whole-of-History (Peace). but perhaps like mary we can realize that we are nothing ("let it be done to me as you will") and thus be the site in which Truth is born. therefore let us be the nothing out of which the Truth creates History.


Monday, December 3, 2007

let them eat pie: appendix (for ayesha, et al.)

since the pecan pie discussion was so popular, and since someone said cheesecake, i offer this little variant on the pecan pie that we tried this thanksgiving with great success (or, at least i liked it). all the halal issues of vanilla extract would have to be dealt with in this recipe as well. enjoy. (nov 2007, southern living -- god, i love that magazine)


a refrigerated pie crust
1 8oz. package of cream cheese (softened)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of salt
1.25 cups chopped pecans
[yes, thats right, i went from fractions to decimals, because thats just how i roll]
1 cup light corn syrup

1. fit pie crust into a 9-in pie plate....fold edges under and crimp

2. beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. pour cream cheese mixture into piecrust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.

3. whisk together corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla; pour mixture over the pecans and place pie on a baking sheet.

4. bake at 350F on the lowest rack of the oven for 50-55 mins or until pie is set. cool on a wire rack 1hr or until cool. serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 days (yea, like a pie is gonna sit around for that long with no one eating it).