Sunday, January 12, 2003

A little while ago, in a sunny, little, pluralistic and ostensibly secular society called Barbados, a group of persons professing a certain version of the Christian faith got together for a solemn act of communal purification.

They burned a number of Harry Potter books.

For what it is worth, the hierarchy of the sect or confession in question has apparently dissociated itself from this piece of lunatic-fringe fundamentalism.

But the fact that there are people living in 21st century Barbados who are capable of issuing and implementing this incendiary fatwah is just one more of the growing number of reasons for Barbadians like me to wonder exactly what kind of country we are living in today....

People like the book-burners, the noisier Pan-Africanists, and the proponents of a theist state, who are convinced that they are the exclusive possessors of the only truth about life, pose a grave danger to a society as small and as fragile as this ex–slave, mixed-race, multi-faith, resource-poor island swimming precariously in the shark-filled waters of 21st century globalism.

If all our problems could have been settled by a single ideology or religion or economic recipe, we would now have no problems at all. Life, unfortunately, is not quite as simple as that.

— Oliver Jackman, writing about the conflict between "civility" & fundamentalism in contemporary Barbados, in his column in today's Nation.

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