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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I am not making this up, nor is it an article from The Onion:

JEDDAH, 18 February 2004 — The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has arrested more than 200 Bangladeshi and Burmese workers as they celebrated Valentine’s Day in Mina.

Al-Madinah Arabic newspaper said yesterday the workers contravened a fatwa issued recently by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh by drinking and dancing in a tent camp they were charged with cleaning.

The commission members found that 16 of them were drunk. The men, aged 16 to 28, were employed by a cleaning company to clear the camp after the end of Haj.

The organizers of the party, who sold alcohol and food and brought in musicians for Sunday night, a day after the real Valentine’s, managed to escape the clutches of the commission, the daily said.

They charged SR5 a ticket without dinner and put a large banner outside a tent where the all-night fiesta was held, next to the Jamrat, where Muslims gather to stone the devil during the pilgrimage.

Officers also seized red flowers and napkins bearing the legend “Happy Valentine’s.”

…Wow… I’m trying to think of a joke here, but it’s just not very funny. Good lord, arresting people for celebrating Valentine’s Day: How much more bigoted and intolerant can you get?

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