Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Not Listening

We're now installed in our London apartment, which we've rented for the next three nights. It's warm and offers plenty of room, so we're happy with it. And we can thank goodness for the GPS in the car that got us here since I have zero idea of directions in which to drive in the capital.

Having arrived in the early evening we bought supplies at a little shop round the corner and elected to stay in, watching, amongst other offerings, an odd little programme entitled Muslims Like Us. This was the second of two parts, featuring a disparate group of ten British Muslims, sharing a house in York for a couple of weeks, almost Big Brother style. I'm not quite sure what it was intended to achieve, but it certainly managed to show just how diverse Muslim belief and even practice can be. Unfortunately conflict was inherent in the selection of the various occupants of the house with one guy who represented a particularly extreme version of the faith, to the point of caricature, causing no end of disagreement. I was very struck by the fact that no one involved seemed any good at all at listening, but I suspect the film-makers were never intending to show boring footage of folks listening attentively to each other in an attempt to understand how other Muslims saw Islam. (Must say, though, how much more reasonable the ladies involved came across as in contrast to the gentlemen.)

It's funny, isn't it, how rarely playwrights depict two people talking at each other simultaneously, yet how often this is the reality of what passes for discussion.

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