03 November 2014

The Places in Between Quotes

The following are selected quotes from The Places In Between by Rory Stewart.

- "I offered Asad money but he was horrified. It seemed a six-hour round trip through a freezing storm and chest deep snow was the least he could do for a guest. I did not want to insult him but I was keen to repay him in some way. I insisted, feeling foolish. He refused five times but finally accepted out of politeness and gave the money to his companion.Then he wished me luck and turned up the hill into the face of the snowstorm." (221)

- "Babur writes upon his arrival:
'The people of Yakawlang, who had heard of us as we descended, carried us to their warm houses, brought out fat sheep for us, a superfluity of grain and hay for our horse, with abundance of wood and dried dung to kindle our fires. To pass from cold and snow into such a village and its warm houses, on escaping from want and suffering, to find such plenty of good bread and fat sheep as we did, is an enjoyment that can be conceived only by such as have suffered similar hardships or endured such heavy distress." (223)

- "Blair's handling and discussion of the Koran would have struck Ali as highly eccentric. In Ali's view, Blair could not have red the Koran because Blair could not read Arabic. Since the Koran, unlike the Bible, is the verbatim word of God, spoken through Muhammad in Arabic, a translation is not considered to be the Koran. At times, it has been considered blasphemous to translate it at all." (236)

- "Blair's confidently casual handling of the text was not supposed to be patronizing or presumptuous, but to display his sensitivity to Islamic culture. He seemed to assume the Koran resembled the Protestant Bible, which can be translated without problem; easily understood; freed of apocrypha; opened to interpretation by laypeople; and physically handled much like any other book. This assumption may be shared by other Christian commentators such as Bush. In November 2001, a photograph showed Bush casually dragging a Koran across the table with his unclean left hand, while the mullah who presented the book struggled to smile." (237)

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