January 4, 2010

Really? People Still Do This?

Ashura is going on right now, it is a religious holiday in which Shiite Muslims annually mourn the death of the Prophet's grandson Hussein, who died in battle in Karbala during the seventh century.  As things for religious festivals go, I suppose commemorating the death of a great historical leader is perfectly fine, but I can't say as I particularly approve of the way some of these folks go about it.  (Moderately disturbing image at the link.)  Beating yourself on the back in the streets with whips and blades on chains seems like a decidedly dumb thing to do, something which benefits absolutely no one.  Earlier in the picture series are Iranian folk who commemorate Ashura by immersing themselves in mud and publicly mourning the long-dead Imam in the streets.  While this seems silly to me, ruining a set of decent clothing isn't nearly as self-destructive as their Afghan counterparts literally beating themselves bloody.  Self-mortification like this seems like something from a bygone age, something primitive and violent and shocking with no place in modern society.


Mark said...

Ah, but this presumes that Afghanistan qualifies as modern society rather than as "something from a bygone age."

Friendly Technocrat said...

Isn't religious fervor a beautiful thing?