Whose Name Sounds Threatening

December 23, 2015

what do we owe the fierce other?

for one thing

I mean, literally,


which I use each day in my work
calculating sums in the estimates
I make for the things we build

Muhammad bin Moosaa Al-Khawaarizm
whose names sounds threatening
nevertheless gave me zero and
although I don’t use them much myself
(or well), trigonometry, sine,
tangent and cosine are consistently used today
by mathematicians and engineers
to make my life more comfortable and safe so
I thank Ibn Moosa for them as well

in my work I also take photos of houses
to remind me of certain details
when I’m drawing a floor plan or elevation
and thanks to Ibn Haytham,
who invented the Camera Obscura, I can do that

and when I print those drawings
there are the 8th century Muslims of Samargand
to whom I express appreciation since
they invented the means to make paper

and just yesterday I had a tooth pulled in Greenfield
and was prescribed a pain-killer concocted by some chemist
whose chemistry, according to Gibbons,
owes its origins to Muslims

I could go on thanking Muslims every day
for the things that make my life richer

but I could also curse them for the pain and suffering
a small faction of them are inflicting today and I do,
but to blame the rest of the 1.2 billion Muslims on earth for that
would be like blaming my good and devout Christian mother
for the  Inquisition

by Jim Culleny


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