Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Book Review : A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burges

I have been meaning to read this novel for a long time now.I knew that the book received great criticism when it was originally published in the 1960s.Many audiences found it extremely ultra violent and very scatological.Back in the 1960s when it was released it was a completely different time to where we are now.Our values and our culture is very different and has changes considerably since then.At the time the book was very outrageous because it talked of rape, gang culture,sinister government intervention, and yobs in disguise of the police. People back in the swinging sixties could not comprehend and absorb this book.It was ahead of its time, in talking about theses problems that society faces.Although, many of the problems in the book were present in the swinging sixties, it was very much less apparent and often hidden away from the mass audiences.When sinister stories did appear they received great outrage from the general public, an example, of this is Moor Murderers.People could not imagine that something so vile could happen.

It is quite fitting that I read this book at this time, because in our present cities many of the problems illustrated in the book are present today.Burgess study of violence and human choice is very relevant today as societies morality and ethics continue to be on the decline.Does anyone feel comfortable when they walk down the city centre at night ?I certainly don't and I know many feel the same way.Just look at the gun culture in London.Even, in the United Kingdom so many young lives are wasted each year.Lets look at the Rhys Jones the young school kid who was brutality shot down while walking to his home from football practice aged 11. His murderer was suppose to shoot a member of a rival gang but missed his target and shot Rhys. Who was caught in the line of fire. (Many God grant Rhys Paradise and eternal peace).In the sixties their was gangs, but it was less in the public domain.Now days, it is so easy for children to get guns and follow the wrong path.I think the blame should be on the media to because of the way they make gang culture appear so pleasant and fun.Why study and work so hard to get lots of money, when you can get more money and instant respect from the streets for so little ?

This is a question that is going through the mind of youngsters today.A very recent movie about football hooligans is Green Street.This is a very interesting movie because it shatters the common notion that football hooligans are government dependants dole livers but professionals working in the highest stages of industries.It also, shows how the gang culture offers a kind of security from the membership in gangs this appeals and attracts children.Its like they have joined something that is very special and only they can understand.However, we know the reality is very different.

The book tells a story the early life of Alex, a cocky, intelligent school boy thug and his relationship with his gang and "droogs" Pete, Georgie and Dim.They gang operate on a unknown city after school at night causing mayhem to anyone they choose, be it old women, couples or passersby.The book is very unusual because it is written in Anglo-Russian slang called Nadat.This makes it very difficult to understand by at the same makes it interesting.The more you read the book , the more your imagination runs wild , you can imagine it happening in the streets of Moscow or in the eastern European countries, or in London.Alex and his droogs always start the evening in the Korova Milk Bar, and a spurred on to perform violence after having drug spike milk.They beat up innocent pedestrians passing by and perform vicious fights with a rival gang of school kids called Billyboys.Alex, life takes a turn for the worst when the gang breaks into a writers home called Frank Alexander. The vicious kids ruined Mr Alexanders work called A Clockwork Orange, reduce the writer to nothing by beating him up savagely and disgustingly gang rape his wife.Thereafter, still not satisfied with their nights work the school kids decide to break into an old women's home in a distinguished area of the city.This is where Alex like dramatically changes and the book story develops. Alex who is the leader of his group is betrayed by his brother droogs and arrested by the police. What Alex does not know is that while breaking in to the old women's home, he beats her to hard and because of this she dies.Now Alex who is known to the police as a thug is arrested and sent down for murder and robbery at the mere age of 15.While in prison Alex lives a life a deception by pretending to take up religion to reform him self and reduce his years and learns the sciences of criminality.From sucking up unexpectedly Alex is nominated for the new Ludovico Technique aversion therapy, designed by wacky psychologist.This unusual techniques works and Alex criminal tendices are completely washed away leaving him as a unthinking zombie.The Ludovic treament is a government strategy where young juveniles are given nausea-inducing drugs and forced to watch violent scenes.After this treatment every time he tries or even thinks of committing a wrong he is suddenly engrossed in intense sickness.Alex can no longer listen to his majestic Beethoven, as the music accompanied the violent videos.The story shows that every bad action you undergo to others will come round to haunt you.When Alex is realised he is attacked in numerous ways by his former victims.He tragically meets the author whose wife he raped, understand what has happened to his droogs who betrayed him and what their lives how become.After his experiences of life, he still unexpectedly decides to start a new gang where he is the supreme leader.However, when one night he suddenly realises how dumb and stupid his life is and decides to start a new.Great book, great story yet not so greatly written.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Al Ghazzali's Last Poem

One day the great Imam, Hujjatul Islam, Muhammed Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (peace be upon him) woke up one morning and offered his prayers.Next he asked for his white shroud, kissed it, and stretched himself out full length.Then said "Lord I obey willingly".He then breathed his last.
And underneath his headrest they found the following verses;

Say to my friends when they look upon me, dead
Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow
Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself
In the name of God, I tell you it is not I
I am a spirit and this is naught but flesh
It was my abode and my garment for a time
I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid
Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine
I am a pearl which has left its shell deserted
I am a bird and this body was my cage
From which I have now flown forth, and it is left as a token
Praise to God who hath set me free
And prepared for me my place in heaven
Untill today I was dead, but alive in your midst
Now I live in truth with the grave clothes discarded
Today I hold converse with the saints above
With no veil between, I see God face to face
I look upon "Loh I Mahfuz"and therein I read
Whatever was, and is, and all that shall be
Let my house fall in ruins, lay my cage in the ground
Cast way the talisman, it is a token not more
Lay aside my cloak it was but my outer garment
Place them all in the grave and let them be forgotten
I have passed on my way and you are left behind
Your place of abode was no dwelling place for me
Think not that death is death, nay, it is life
A life that surpasses all we could dream of here
While in this world were granted sleep
Death is but sleep but prolonged
Be not frightened when death drawn nigh
It is but the departure for this blessed home
Think of the mercy and love your Lord
Give thanks for His grace and come come without fear
What I am now so shall you be
For know that your as I am
The souls of all men come forth from God
The bodies of all are compounded alike
Good and evil it was ours
I give you a message of cheer
May Gods peace and joy for evermore be yours

Muhammed Abu Hamid al Ghazli (1058-1111CE/450-505 AH) was one of the greaters thinkers and mystics of the 12 century.