Dan Watson

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8/9 Links

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– I wonder why these types of stories don’t come with headlines like “Stupid person risks death”:

And starting on Aug. 11, the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah(notes) will be going through these practices without the benefit of water. Or food. Or any other kind of hydration.

During Ramadan, observing Muslims like Abdullah will fast for 30 days; eating or drinking nothing while the sun is out. Food and drink are permitted after dark and before sunrise, but during the day, there’s nada — not a tiny little sip of water, or the smallest release of Powerade’s mystic mountain blueberry. From the AP:

Even while sprinting in the heat and humidity during drills, sometimes in full pads, Abdullah is adamant about his faith. He will not allow himself so much as a cup of water until the sun sets and before it rises.

“I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah said. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.”

– It’s just an interesting conversation, with Israel at the center, but I found this exchange very notable:

MJT: So why did you move from Boston into this maelstrom?
Benjamin Kerstein:
Sometimes I wonder about that myself. I can’t give you a logical answer.
MJT:
That’s okay. I like it here, too, and I agree it’s not entirely logical.
Benjamin Kerstein:
For me, it’s deeply personal. This place suits me. The way of life here suits me. The mentality suits me. The vastness of America is something I find hard to deal with. I find it very alienating. There are a lot of things I don’t like about living in America, though I’m not anti-American.
MJT:
Benjamin, I have known you for years. I know you are not anti-American.
Benjamin Kerstein:
Thank you. [Laughs.] I have a deep appreciation for America. My family comes from Latvia and would have been wiped out if it were not for America. Something like 85 or 90 percent of the Jews of Latvia were killed by the Nazis. The entire Jewish culture in Latvia was destroyed. My family never would have survived without the United States as a haven.
But I feel terribly alone in the United States. I’ve always felt that it’s a cold place where I didn’t belong.
MJT:
It is warmer here.
Benjamin Kerstein:
The weather is warmer, and so are the people. People also have hotter tempers. People here can be crueler than in the United States; though Americans in the Northeast—where I lived—can, in their own quiet way, be extraordinarily cruel through their silence and indifference. People in Israel are never silent, cold, or indifferent.
Life here is more on the edge. I crave being right where things are happening, on the event horizon where violent and transcendent things are occurring. I think you feel that way, too.
MJT: I do.

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Written by Dan

August 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Posted in Politics, Religion

Tagged with , , ,