After an excessive Guy Fawkes Night with a wheelbarrow bonfire, fireworks to blow your hands off and the drunken Gümbet Gals Chorus (ladies, you know who you are), I’m suffering from mental paralysis. I have neither the inclination nor the energy to write anything remotely interesting, amusing or informative. It’s just as well that it’s Kurban Bayram across the entire Moslem world, a time where men are men and sheep are nervous. To celebrate the occasion, I am releasing a tiny snippet from Perking the Pansies the Book which tells of our first bloody encounter with the Feast of Sacrifice.
Liam answered a knock at the door. It was Tariq’s daughter. Selma was a pretty little thing, a fourteen year old girl with fathomless dark eyes and long brown hair, perfectly parted at the middle. Our contact had been minimal but we had exchanged half smiles and several hundred empty wine bottles: she occasionally helped Tariq with the rubbish disposal. Selma handed Liam a bag of bloodied bones.
‘For you,’ she said. ‘Iyi bayramlar.’
‘Why… thank you. Teşekkürler.’
Selma smiled nervously and wandered off into the night. Sheep’s blood dripped through the bag and splashed onto Liam’s feet.
‘What the fuck?’
‘Who was at the door?’
‘Selma and a bag of blood.’
‘Fantastic. Anyone for spare ribs?’
‘You’re excited by a bag of bones?’
It was Kurban Bayram, The Feast of Sacrifice commemorating an Old Testament myth. God rather unreasonably commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. Thankfully, Abraham proved his devotion and God provided a sacrificial ram instead. I had never read the book but had seen the Hollywood movie several times.
Liam was unmoved. ‘So hapless sheep across the entire Moslem World are being butchered as we speak? Revolting.’
‘And the flesh is distributed among family, friends and the deserving poor.’
‘So we only get the bones. What does that make us?’
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To paraphrase Mark Twain the reports of our deaths have been greatly exaggerated. I arose yesterday morning expecting the Day of Judgement only to find a day of sunshine. Poor Harold Camping, leader of the Family Radio Ministry got it wrong again. It’s a tough call. The Old Testament was originally written in ancient Hebrew and has changed down the centuries as it has been transliterated from one language to another. I doubt what we read today bears much resemblance to the original texts. Perhaps this is why the old goat can’t get his sums right. For months happy clappy Harry and his nutty band of religious doomsayers have been touring the United States in a camper van spreading the good news to the damned. I bet they feel stupid now.
It is Kurban Bayram (festival of sacrifice) resulting in the mass slaughter of hapless sheep right across the entire Moslem World. The blood-letting commemorates the Old Testament parable when Abraham heard the voice of God commanding him to murder his son Isaac, a rather extreme test of devotion. Just as Abraham was about to slash the poor boy’s throat, a ram ambled by. Abraham took this to be divine intervention and sacrificed the ram instead. It occurs to me that, in this more secular age, anyone trying that now would be sectioned and hauled off to a secure unit for the delusional.
Nowadays, sheep are dressed up in drag before being dispatched by the head of the family with a sharp blade to the throat. I’m told that the slaughter of any animal by the unlicensed is illegal so it’s done on the sly in back yards and dark alleys. Given the significance of the ritual, the authorities turn a blind eye. Once butchered, the proceeds are distributed among family, friends and the deserving poor. Tariq the Toothless Caretaker came to the door and proudly presented us with a bag of bloody bones. It was a touching gesture but confirms that we are well down the pecking order just below vagrants and unmarried mothers.