Is Faith Enough?
In the King of Tars we are presented with a princess, whosefeigned conversion from Christianity to the Sultan’s Pagan faithsatisfies the Sultan’s requirements for coitus and marriage. For him, (the Sultan) it was enough to hear her say the words and to see her draped in his countries’ clothing. It was not until the “lump” or unformed child came into existence that proof of the princess’s deception appeared, which led to the “duel of their gods” and the ultimate conversion of the Sultan, proved through the change of his skin from black to white. This all happens rather quickly in the story as pregnancy occurs directly after marriage, but what would have happened if she had not conceived a child for say, years? As she continued to worship the gods she claimed not to love, dressed as a Saracen, and lay with her husband, would anyone, including her father, The King of Tars, ever truly trust her continued Faith? Where does time and actions cross the line of no return? This question is not only for times of past, but rears its head today in similar fashion.
In April of 2014, a rebel group from Nigeria called BokoHaram kidnapped more than 200 school girls. The girls’subsequent forced conversion to Islam was felt throughout the world. No one believes that these girls have really taken on the faith, but sympathize with their survivalist behavior. But for how long? Boko Haram is taking its chances with the girls, marrying them off to their members after conversion is completed. They seem to possess an understanding that even if the girls were released, or escape, their purity of faith and body will come into question from then on. One such woman saidthat she and a few others were released after, ”they pretended to be Muslims, and pledged never to return to school.”
This is a political move on Boko Haram’s part. The longer they hold on to the girls, constraining them to their culture and practices, the more power they convey, and the more justification they have for their beliefs. People begin to wonder when the pretending ends and the believing begins. Releasing a few girls at a time that can testify to the group’s purpose and procedure serves to propagandize their message. If they can hold on to the majority of the girls long enough for them to produce viable offspring, they have won their “duel of the gods”, and can claim political and spiritual validity.
The King of Tars is political religious propaganda. The vehicle is a woman’s body and faith, through the act of conversion. The proof of her faith lay in her immobile unformed child, but true dominance revealed itself in the conversion of the Sultan. With his conversion, he earned the political right to call upon others, The King of Tars, for political gain. Boko Haram, as well, is taking steps to ensure their right to call upon others of the Muslim faith to take political action, including defying the Nigerian government and international pressure, and they seem capable of holding their ground. Just days after the Oct 17th announcement that a cease fire had been negotiated with Boko Haram, between 25-30 more women and girls were abducted.
While it is unlikely that any of the abducted girls’ offspring will be unformed lumps of flesh, it is likely that many of the girls who stay long enough within Boko Haram will have difficulty reintegrating into whatever faith and community they were torn from, and their offspring will always hold the stigma of evil practice. People will always wonder how far did any of these women go down that rabbit hole.http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/terrorism-security/2014/1027/Nigeria-s-Boko-Haram-forces-kidnapped-girls-into-marriage-Human-Rights-Watch-video