The World According To The Taliban

Shortly after September 11, 2001, I attended a concert by the prolific and accomplished songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson. He was long ago a major component of the Englishfolk rockband Fairport Convention, along with the late Sandy Denny (“Who Knows Where The Time Goes” is their most famous song). He wrote “Crazy Man Michael” and “Farewell, Farewell”, among others, for Fairport Convention. After leaving the band, his songs included “Valerie”, “Persuasion”and “I Misunderstood” and he recently released a mini-survey of the last 1000 years of popular music on CD and DVD.

At the concert, I was still shell-shocked and wondering if, after buying a home in New Jersey the previous month, I should sell it and buy another one much farther away from New York,so that I could survive anyfutureattacks onNew York Cityby Islamic Fundamentalists (I stillam consideringthat move, but for now we are staying).

During the concert, Richard Thompson introduced a song with comments of sympathy for what we in the area have been going through, and said he had recently written the songtoshowthe Taliban’s view of the world. I found the song to accurately encapsulate the frightening-to-ponder attitude of anti-Westerndeath worshippers such as the Taliban. I wasmoved by the performance asit was the first satire I had heard and it was an emotional relief tocontemplatethe evil we facevia satiricaljabs for the first time. It shows the mystic’sfeelings-based rather than reality-and-reason-based philosophy as experienced psychologically by a Taliban. I understand that Thompsonconsiders himself aMuslim, but obviously he doesn’t take the fundamentalist view.

Here are some of the lyrics to that song, which eventually appeared as “Outside of the Inside” on his CD entitled “The Old Kit Bag” in 2003.

A fewlyrics from “Outside of the Inside” by Richard Thompson:

“…what’s the point of Albert Einstein

What do we need Physics for? …

Shakespeare, Isaac Newton

Small ideas for little boys

Adding to the senseless chatter

Adding to the background noise

Hard to hear my oratory

Hard to hear my inner voice

Van Gogh, Botticelli

Scraping paint onto a board

Colour is the fuel of madness

That’s no way to praise the Lord

Grey’s the colour of the pious

Knelt upon the misericord.

There’s a message on the wind

Calling me to glory somewhere”

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