Winter                                      Waning Moon of Long Nights

Explanations of theodicy run aground on Haiti, just as they do on the Holocaust, Rawandi, Sudan.  When a nation as poor and crippled as Haiti gets hit with a major earthquake, how does one reconcile that with a loving and just God?  No intellectual fancy footwork can answer that question.

I’m reading a book sent to Kate by Jon, Children of Dust.  It’s a memoir of a young Punjabi who makes several circuits through various perspectives on Islam from conservative to fundamentalist to ethnic and, I understand, eventually out.  This is the second memoir I’ve read recently, the other being Escape, about the FLDS.

With this one I have doubts about the accuracy of it.  Memoirs are tricky at best, memory changes as we remember, in fact it changes before it becomes solid memory.  Eye witness accounts are, according to some criminologists, the most unreliable testimony.

There is, of course, the need all of us to be the heroes in our own story,  the need to smooth out the most raggedy parts of our performance as a human being.  There is a desire to be accepted that goes beyond this tendency to encourage putting the very best light on what we do.  In addition, the most memorable moments are emotionally  highly charged and therefore subject to distortion in the moment, much less over time.

And each of these can loop back on themselves to create another level of distortion.  That is, I admit my tendency to smooth out the raggedy parts so I show you raggedy parts.  In fact, I may make them grimmer than they were in order to convince you I’m honest, which I’m not.  Anyhow, the labyrinth here is difficult at best.

Children of Dust is worth a read, perhaps less as a memoir than as an impression of the complex lives Muslims live in contemporary world culture.  It succeeds brilliantly in doing that.

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