The Silent Minaret by IshtiyaqShukri ‘History Includes the Present’
Discovering Issa through his personal relationships In this next section of the text we discover more about more about Issa by exploring his relationships with his friends and family.
Silent Minaret Kagiso-Issa’s adoptive brother Vasinthe-Issa’s mother Katina-a good friend of Issa Frances-his elderly neighbor
What does the reader learn about Issa through Katinkaand Vasinthe? • Issa’s treatment of Katinka after she is picked up off the side of the road. • Ignored her because he was skeptical because she was a white woman, who visually represented the enemy of what he was fighting against. • Even though he was ignoring her, he was LISTENING to her views • “…he would stop what he was doing and give her his undivided attention. She liked this about him. This is who Issa was –a good listener” (Shukri 149) • Through Katinka’s conversation with Vasinthe-the reader learns to what extent Issa’s OCD was.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder most commonly characterized by intrusive, repetitive thoughts resulting in compulsive behaviors and mental acts that the person feels driven to perform, according to rules that must be applied rigidly, aimed at reducing anxiety by preventing some dreaded event or by resolving a more nebulous sense of tension. However, the likelihood that a dreaded event will occur, or the causal relationship between the performance of compulsions and the reduction of this likelihood, tends to be imagined or exaggerated. “…wary of contact with other human beings, wary of contact with what the public touches; he seems to avoid being visible. When he leaves home, he carries a handkercheif with him at all times, to stave off contamination, contact-to place a barrier between himself and the germ of history.”(Jayawardane, 10)
What does the reader learn about Issathrought his relationship with Kagiso? • We learn about Issa’s daily routine and his desire to be invisible. • Conversation with the fruit stand vendor. • Issa’s desire to be a crucial part of the movement against Apartheid. • Scene when he escapes from his mother to get into the van and participate in the Anti-Apartheid demonstration. • Purple Rain
“Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to seek one’s soul; when birthplaces have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood”~Josephine Baker
Twin spires of St. Joseph's Cathedral with a nearby minaret, Stone Town Catholicism and Islam
We’re All Equal • Kagiso and Issa are Muslim and Black S.A., but raised as brothers • Katinka, although rejected by Issa at first, becomes excepted as “one of them” after she shows her views and outlook is the same as Kagiso and Issa • Frances and Issa (and elderly white woman and a young, South African Muslim man) strike up and develop an important friendship. • Catholicism and Islam • Rosaries and Tasbeeh (Trosebery) • Cathemosdraquel
“Dreamer schemer, history’s cleaner” (Shukri ,65) He has not interest in going back to Africa. Why? Well, according to Neelika’s article: Is returning to his nation, home, and landscape, his origins really therapeutic for him? No!! Issa’s feeling of disconnection from his nation, family and home challenge the idea of if one is homed, one will rejuvenated and refreshed. “A thesis that started off as history now reads like current affairs. How will a holiday change that” (Shukri 67)
History WILL Repeat ItselfIssa’s comparison of the Past and Present VOC’s similar prison colony in the Cape Guantanamo Bay • Prison Colony in the Cape in geographical location far from prisoners homeland. • Political prisoners were meant to be isolated to prevent them from participating in political discourse. • Played an important role in the VOC’s exercises of power on a global scale. • Acquired pieces of land with “other purposes in mind” • Place for ships to rest and water laborers. • Prison Colony on a secluded island miles away from Middle East • Political prisoners were meant to be isolated to prevent them from participating in political discourse • It was dangerous to allow terrorist’s to communicate with other terrorist’s. • Played a strategic role in the U.S’s changing of power in the region. • Acquired pieces of land with “other purposes in mind” • Coaling station, Cold War outpost, detaining station for unwanted refugees.
Guantanamo Bay “issa looked up and followed the waiter’s gaze. Blurred pictures on the giant screen of heavily shackled men in orange overalls behind their backs to their feet, sent an ominous hush through the room”(Shukri , 68) Post 9/11 Prison camp • In this Prison camp-the United States readily took away the identities of the detainees, catagorizing all prisoners as dangerous terrorists.
Post 9/11 Treatment of Arabs/Muslms • http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2952394158092697182 • Government began to erase any relevance of Arabs in the community. Essentially making them disappear as people. • The racism that evolved towards this group of people post 9/11 served to silence Muslims and Arabs, and categorize all of them as dangerous threats. • Motivated by Fear and Power. • Another example of History repeating itself • Compared to the detaining of Jews during WWI • Compared to the detaining of Japanese during WWII
Government Control over the Visibility of Mobile Bodies • Passports are a modern day device created by the gov’t to regulate the mobility of individuals. • Instead of being rejected because it is restricting privacy, the passport is embraced by most because it creates relevancy of personhood and existence. • “Passports retained their positions as a means of maintaining integrity of the nation state and it’s citizens while strengthening the state”(Jayawardane, 9) • Passports create a “new category of people” (12) • White-Washing
Government Control over the Visibility of Mobile Bodies • “For IssaShamsuddin, too, though he may have been able to control his visibility via a self imposed Northern Exile, as well as through leading a Spartan, low-consumerist lifestyle, the control he had over his visibility was changed by the publicity that he and other Muslim men received after 9/11”(Jayawardane 9) • AlthoughtIssa is very educated, and was lucky enough to position himself as a person with “high visibility and freedom” (9), and he was himself doing research on the disappearance of portions of history, he begins to disappear himself because he is Muslim, following the 9/11 attacks. • After 9/11 government and authorities had no regard of a Muslim individual’s education or background, they began to categorize all individuals who looked like they could be of Middle Eastern descent as potential terrorists, and therefore a threat to security.
“Disappearing from the Records” As a result of the ongoing imprisonment of Arab’s during the War on Terror, the possibility that Issa has become detained by the government cannot be ruled out. “Issa’s removal from the documenting machinery of the nation state can also be seen as a quiet act of insubordination-a means of protesting the objectification and categorization of the colonial map of passports, visas, and permits” (Jayawardane 3) ~One theory for Issa’s disappearance is the thought that he may have gone completely anti-establishment, thus gaining control of his situation by making himself invisible and disappearing from the records, a simple right that was continually taken away from him and his people for hundreds of years ~This is similar to Sangora’s move to freedom by erasing himself from the slave book. “Issa’s disappearance –from social, familial, political, and academic records-can be seen as a self-orchestrated –and brilliant act of protest against record keeping-immolation without the evidence of fire.”(12)