In this weeks reading, Hasan was exiled from his community for standing up for his brother-in-law. He then traveled/exiled to Egypt. Where he employed his time as a diplomat. He later traveled to Rome. In Rome, Pope Leo X took particular interest in Hasan. While in Rome, he was baptized and took on the name of Leo Africanus.
I love the idea of Hasan taking a new name. Our names because our identity throughout our lives. What we choose to be called and how we choose to introduce ourselves to the world is extremely telling. On the most basic level, our names can dictate our heritage, in some cases our religious background, and even the formality (when you choose to be called Matthew instead of Matt). Nicknames can form bonds within groups, can give an individual to embrace a different name or version, or even distinguish an individual from a crowd.
Its interesting to me that Hasan chose to take the name Leo Africanus. The name is so different from his cultural identity. Or rather his childhood cultural identity. From the first page of the book Hasan declares himself not a man of a nation or tribe, but a man of travel.
Can anyone truly become a man of travel? Or are we forever burdened with our cultures? Is our ability to distinguish ourselves apart from our previous cultures contingent on our own perspectives, others perspective of our cultures, or both?