Gardeners, we have superblogger Andrew Sullivan to thank for digging up some amazing history. Here he’s quoting Sayyib Qutd, the Egyptian scholar considered by many to be the intellectual father of Al Qaeda. It’s a description of the gardening practices he observed in the town of Greeley, Colorado, where he lived for 6 months in the late ’40s.
This small city of Greeley, in which I am staying, is
so beautiful that one may easily imagine that he is in paradise. Each
house appears as a flowering plant and the streets are like garden
pathways. As one observes, the owners of these houses spend their
leisure time in toil, watering their private yards and trimming their
gardens. This is all they appear to do.
stayed there six months and never did I see a person or a family
actually enjoying themselves, even on summer nights when breezes waft
over the city as if in a dream. The most important thing for these
people is the tending of their gardens, much in the same way a merchant
spends time organizing his store or a factory owner his factory. There
is nothing behind this activity in the way of beauty or artistic taste.
It is the machinery of organization and arrangement, devoid of
spirituality and aesthetic enjoyment.
At this point in my original post I noted that I’ve sometimes felt the same criticism about sterile, turf-centric yards, and am now freaked out by my seeming agreement with such a monster. Subsequent comments proved that my humor hadn’t been adequately conveyed. Would an emoticon have helped? To continue…
So while I’m processing this development, let’s breeze on over to Maui and check in with fellow blogger Christopher C, who alerted me to this fascinating story.
A Note from Christopher C. at Tropical Embellishments:
The same day I am watching people
get all worked up about matching the color of lawn furniture to the flowers I
read that some Egyptian intellectual has gone completely over the edge to help
start radical Islam because of a lack of aesthetics in suburban yards in
Greeley, Colorado in 1948. Holy Crap! Can we stop this horror if we all just
garden with more beauty and taste?
Was it just the bad taste or was it because women might have been gardening right out in their front yards and not caged behind courtyard walls? Was Tony Avent’s Gardening Jihad right on
target? Does this mean it’s up to us gardeners to save the world?