Muslim Voices in Contemporary World Literatures

A Look in the Other Direction

December 10th, 2014 · No Comments

Walking through the streets

Everywhere I look I don’t know what I see

No one here is who they used to be

Swarming in like bees, the shopkeeper is on his knees 

The men approach like stone cold walls 

Hit him hard until he falls

Former friends won’t meet my gaze

They said join or don’t hold us back

We’re marching and we form a pack

There is no way I can ever return

Who knows what happens when it’s my turn

In The Name of God deals with what happens to a society when extremist groups and violence appear in everyday life. One aspect of the novel that I found interesting was the capacity everyone has for evil. In addition to this, we see throughout the novel that most people have to decide to either take part in the violence or turn a blind eye. It is easy to say what you think you would do in a certain situation, but the reality of the situation is often different. It is a scary thought that you do not really know how you would act or how the people around you would act given certain circumstances. In my creative response, I chose to write a poem in the perspective of an anonymous person living in the town when it is going through changes. The person in the poem sees a group of men attacking a shopkeeper that they used to be friends with. This shows how much the violence around you can affect people’s actions. The poem is written in the first person and as it continues, we see that the speaker had to choose between being violent and leaving his former friends. We can see that it is not always safe to protest against the majority, but if everyone remains silent you are only letting the violent people win. Desmond Tutu makes an accurate statement on ignoring the injustices that surround you, he says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. I believe this is an appropriate quote to use in relation to In The Name of God,  because it highlights the part of the novel where people became tolerant of everything that was happening around them. 

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