Friday, November 20, 2009

The end of Leo Africanus

This weeks reading took us to the end of the book and through articles from the Economist. The end of Leo Africanus seemed to follow the same chain of events that Hasan has been put through in every section so far. Just when things seem to be going all right for the poor guy something happens and he is thrust back into turmoil. The happiness in this section is that Hasan finds a new wife after she leaves the nunnery with permission from the Cardinal and they have a son. Hasan enjoys a close relationship with the Pope and therefore, everything seems to be working out well in his life for once. Then, in a sudden turn of events, the Pope dies and is replaced by a far more conservative Pope who tells everyone to shave their beards. When Hasan goes against the Pope by refusing to shave his beard and possessing a pamphlet with information not endorsed by the Pope, he is thrown in jail. Upon the poisoning of the Pope Hasan receives pardon from the Cardinal and relocates with his family to Tunis.

We then turned to the articles from the Economist. These articles do a fair job at explaining the modern Arab world by showing how the area is governed and highlighting the major crisis which is the conflict over Israel. Along side this crisis the articles do a good job at discussing the different types of people in the area and how they all coexist even though they may not be of the same religion or general culture at all.

I always enjoy a good Economist article, especially those that focus on an area of the world or a topic with which I am not familiar. I also enjoyed the fact that Leo Africanus closed with Hasan finally being able to settle down with his family after so much strife in finding a way through the maze he was set in as a small child. The only question I have is, how did the Pope have so much power over so many people? I am Catholic and I can say from experience the the Pope has a say in what we do religiously and has some sway as to what we do in our daily lives because it is based on our beliefs but I can not image the Pope ordering every man to shave his beard and having that actually happen. Perhaps this is because the world was far more condensed at the time so regulation of decrees was far easier than it is today but it is still a puzzling occurance.

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