We watched Aljazeera news this morning and the headlines included scenes of celebration of Eid from various parts of the world. There was also coverage of the end of the Hajj, the start of the annual wildebeest migration, the European weather forecast and the 45th President of the US criticising the integrity of the American voting system.
I’ve witnessed Eid el Adwa, the Festival of Sacrifice, in the UAE, Algeria, Tunisia and Indonesia over the years. I’m a vegetarian these days but back then, I enjoyed a celebration meal or two among colleagues and friends. I recall one evening in Algiers when Karim, an excellent chef and master of the barbecue, served up an elaborate green salad. I declined politely, half jokingly added that my wife was a vegetarian and I needed more meat. Next thing you know he brought over a selection of more unusual cuts of halal lamb. He was delighted to share liver and the sheep’s head with me. I began to wish for the green salad while taking yet another lesson in why it’s important to be careful what you wish for.
Watching the wildebeest report on TV, we saw places we had been ourselves. We had long ago been lucky to be invited to a wedding in Nairobi. This gave us the opportunity to head off with some friends on safari for a few days. We went to see the wildebeest migration and visiting the Masai Mara was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We saw the local big five including many African elephant, several prides of lions, a few leopards, scores of Cape buffalo, and quite a few rhinoceros. We stayed for a night in a safari lodge hotel in the Mara, a place where an adult lion had only recently fallen into the swimming pool. We were woken during the night when a hippopotamus family grazed through the garden of our chalet not three metres from the glazed door. This and the swimming lion served to confirm the warnings a hotel porter had given when escorting us from the hotel across the lawns in the dead of night. It really wasn’t a zoo.
The weather here in Dublin has been so unlike summer that the Poolbeg Lighthouse appeared on the weather forecast on Aljazeera this morning. It sat under very dark grey skies and that’s how it looks from my window as I type this. Today’s forecast predicted a rain free day, the first in weeks, so I had my grandson come over to help me rush through some maintenance this morning. It rained at lunch by which time we’d painted just one fence and danish polished only three chairs. We’d barely got half way. And not even started on trimming the hedges. Monday looks more hopeful.
Aljazeera had a clip from a Trump press conference. He used the ‘stupid people’ phrase again yesterday. Under-informed or misinformed is surely better described as ignorant.
‘I don’t want to see a crooked election’. ‘Smart people’ would know that postal votes could be rigged. ‘Stupid people’ don’t. His outrageous comments are getting headlines that displace bad economic news from the front pages while preventing other opinions getting coverage. The central plank of this style of politics is a reliance on ignorance. Psychologists say that conservative thinkers manifest an exaggerated sense of fear in face of threats, real or imagined. They also say that people who lack specific knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realising their ignorance. Touché.