14 August 2006

Let's do the Apocalypse in style

It appears, ladies and gentlemen, that there is no need to make long range plans. Forget your pension plan, forget the payments outstanding on your car/home/furniture. Forget your two punkish sons and your daughter that went with Jehovah's Witnesses. Do not put aside any money for the next year trip to Riviera. Really, there is no need.

Now is the time, according to the people in the know, and heavy borrowing and hearty spending may spruce up the eight remaining days.

In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world.

See what I mean? So, forget that 401K and all that shit. I am borrowing heavily against my house and the car (which I have already sold to three different persons, possession date September 1) and, of course, my income for the next two years. I have forsaken the happy hour in my favorite watering hole, drinking around the clock.

There is one small catch to it: that Bernard, what with him being an egghead and stuff, tends to hedge his bets:

It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

This is why I am signing all my checks and credit card slips "Bernard Lewis". I am hedging my bets too...