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Saturday, 25 April 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #8 – 25 April 1352

Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan scholar who, at twenty-one, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1325, and thereafter just kept going.  For almost thirty years he travelled the length and breadth of the Islamic world before returning to his homeland.  On the final leg of his journey, in 1352, he spent time in Iwalatan (Walata, Mauritinia).  He observed:

“The women are of surpassing beauty and are shown more respect than the men.  The state of affairs amongst these people is indeed extraordinary.  Their men show no signs of jealousy whatever; no one claims descent from his father, but on the contrary from his mother’s brother.  A person’s heirs are his sister’s sons, not his own sons.  This is a thing I have seen nowhere in the world except among the Indians of Malabar.  But those are heathens; these are Muslims.”

 Ibn Battuta

Sources: Travels in Asia and Africa;
The Traveller’s Handbook/Fergus Fleming/Atlantic Books/2012

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