Obama’s Inauguration: A Secular Hajj - From PoliGazette

January 17th, 2009 By: Michael van der Galien

(the following is a post from PoliGazette--I could not resist!)

In what has to be the most over-the-top description of the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, Ali Eteraz compares it to the ‘hajj’ (religious pelgrimage for Muslims to Mecca). ‘Millions will make their way to the National Mall. More than 10,000 buses will be chartered.

At a website called Inauguration or Bust, people anywhere in the country can find locals to travel with. At the site, the contingent from Savannah, Georgia, refers to its trip as a “pilgrimage”. That word, most often associated with religious fervour, is appropriate here. The inauguration buzz is reminiscent of the excitement I have encountered in Muslim countries in the days preceding the hajj,’ the Muslim commentator, columnist, poet and former blogger writes for the Guardian.

‘The inauguration is a ritual, akin to Muslims touching the walls of the Ka’bah in Mecca. It renders tangible the ethereal. It is a reminder that the government is like an idol, a fact that was well known to those who introduced the modern nation-state - the French even raised a new goddess after the revolution - but which goes entirely forgotten by us.


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