Eid Mubarak! It's Eid al-Adha! / Vleeptron is filching other people's images again, but it's really for your own good / Hajj / H1N1
Vleeptron has backslid into its flagrant filching, thieving ways, but we believe there are valid reasons. This poster was just Google image searched and I liked it.
If I steal the poster (internetally) from a real mosque, it's much less likely that I'm going to get things all wrong, or screw up the spirit and flavor of the greeting, than if I try to cook up my own original Vleeptronese Eid Mubarak image.
This real mosque is the Hamilton Downtown Mosque in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Its website message is clearly aimed at an English-speaking crowd, so they are certainly going to communicate the important Eid information better, and in a more trustworthy way, than I will.
When I cross into Canada at Buffalo or nearby Niagara, I pass the substantive city of Hamilton, Ontario almost no matter where I want to go. Toronto's maybe another hour around The Lake, or Stratford is a few hours west after the Hamilton exits.
I might have off-ramped at Hamilton once or twice to gas up or find a Tim Horton's, but beyond that I have far more experience with the summer resort town of Simcoe (though in the winter) than I do with the metropolis of Hamilton, on the far western shore of Lake Ontario.
Worse: First I stole the poster, and then I changed it. Because I stole the 2007 poster, which was still lingering on the Mosque's website, and so I had to change the Gregorian calendar date. Islamic Lunar Calendar, Western Solar Calendar, they don't get along very smoothly.
But other than that bit of counterfeiting, this was the way a very talented and colorful artist said Eid Mubarak for Eid al-Adha عيد الأضحى to an English-speaking Ontario-dwelling bunch.
Needless to say, all the info about the prayers was how things were in 2007, but could be totally wrong this year. Contact the Mosque if you want to know what's shaking right now.
But this is Eid al-Adha, which celebrates Ibrahim's willingness to obey God's command and sacrifice his son. The story of the sacrifice, of course, is revered by all the great Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam.
It's also the season for Hajj حج , the pilgrimage to Mecca every Muslim hopes and tries to make. So at this moment there are about 3,000,000 Muslims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Mecca is never lonely or ignored, but this is its Big Week.
So big that, desperately trying not to notice or care that it is a holy gathering, the public health experts of Earth are looking very carefully at this year's Hajj. Earth is in the midst of a pandemic of H1N1 influenza, a.k.a. Swine Flu, and the Hajj (and last week's USA holiday of Thanksgiving) is the perfect set of circumstances for accelerating the rate of infection and widespread global travel for new human cases.
At the arrival airports in Saudi Arabia, every pilgrim is scanned with a little point-and-shoot thermometer, and if his/her body temperature is above normal, the pilgrim is taken out of line and sent for more medical examination.
On a modern jetliner, you can have all the fresh air you want in the passenger compartment -- but it's cheaper for the airline not to suck in fresh air from outside the airplane, but to recirculate the same old passenger compartment air.
So a long trip in an airliner is the perfect machine for breathing in some other passenger's respiratory-transmitted disease. H1N1 has been waiting eagerly for USA Thanksgiving and for the Hajj.
There is an odd calculus equation for tracking the spread -- the increase, with time, of the number of infected people of a contageous disease -- and it is an odd equation because it's also the equation for tracking the spread of a Real Good Rumor through a population with time.
This is one reason why Meme Theory has received a lot of attention. The leap of ideas from human brain to human brain, via TV, radio or books or preaching or chatting, is mathematically very much like the leap of cooties from one human body to another via sneezing or coughing or shaking hands but not washing them thoroughly very often.
The Real Good Rumor has to be good enough to make people very much want to tell it to others.
It can't be a rumor you instinctively want to keep to yourself -- like, that the nuclear power plant has just released a dangerous volume of ionizing radiation, but so far it's a secret. If you know the secret and tell every Tom, Dick and Mary, by the time you toss your family in the Volvo and hit the highway, the highway will be solid gridlock and you all get to sit there taking a radiation bath.
But if you hear the secret and keep your mouth shut, you just might get out of town while traffic still moves.
Likewise the contageous disease. It has to be reasonably mild, or begin with a few days of mild symptoms -- so you'll keep going to work, where the workplace puts you into close physical contact with dozens or hundreds of people, where a sneeze or cough really gives the flying virus or bacterium a good chance to infect another person.
If the disease is so severe that it knocks you flat and makes you stay home, it may kill you, but it won't spread very rapidly through the population.
So ideas (memes) are like cooties (virus), at least they behave alike mathematically. A great idea that just never gets to travel or be chatted up a lot or broadcast a lot -- well, the idea may be great, but its rate of taking up permanent residence in new brains will be so slow that the idea may just never take off and become popular. Ideas are born, and go extinct, just plain die, all the time, and the fault may not at all be the idea itself at the center of the meme, but rather how well the meme's outer "protein jacket" helps it jump from brain to brain.
Viruses rely likewise on their outer protein jackets -- which have nothing to do with how sick the core RNA will make you -- to effectively spread through a population.
Having a great idea, but only being able to express it in Latvian, makes a real crappy outer protein jacket. Only Latvian speakers have any chance to hear or appreciate your idea (and give it a permanent new home in their brains). This is why so much world meme-tossing takes place in English; right now it's the Earth language that numerically kicks the most ass and can get noticed by the most people.
Well anyway, Eid Mubarak -- a Blessed Eid -- and (I am told) have fun wearing your very best clothes during this festival, and take pleasure and satisfaction in your very serious charitable responsibilities. Eid traditionally involves sacrificing a goat, sheep, cow or camel (as Ibrahim did instead of his beloved son), and the needy of the community share in the feast.
Next big festival or holy day i may work up the nerve to make another original greeting, which I will inevitably get wrong in some way.
Stealing old posters is better for everyone.