01 November 2009

Historical vignette 1: al-Hâkim in the bazaar

A curious anecdote is told of the eccentric Egyptian Muslim ruler Abû 'Alî Mansûr Târiq al-Hâkim (reigned 996-1021). The story goes that al-Hâkim sometimes used to roam the marketplaces of Cairo, accompanied by a large, hulking slave named Mas'ûd, on the lookout for evidence of crooked dealings by the merchants hawking their wares there. If he discovered a merchant to be engaged in dishonest trade, he would order Mas'ûd to forcibly sodomize the offender right there on the spot. No statistics are available for recidivism rates in eleventh-century Egypt, but the deterrent effect of this practice must have been considerable.

When Congress gets finished with health-care reform and turns its attention to re-regulating our ethically-challenged financial sector in order to discourage a future recurrence of the behavior which precipitated the recent recession, I cannot help but wish that they would at least consider some updated version of al-Hâkim's no-nonsense approach to penalizing economic transgressions. Given the level of public anger at these arrogant miscreants, the idea might prove rather popular.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Interesting Sir. As far as these representative's of today that govern in our societies ... they are weasel's compared to those. Maybe some of our political leadership could also show the same dedication as some of those ancient Aztec King's...and pierce the genital's offering their own blood directly from their penis to the God's or in these time's to thew People's.

Thanx ............

02 November, 2009 04:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Well, that would certainly put a crimp in all these sex scandals. I can think of a few politicians whose wives might be willing to do the piercing personally.

02 November, 2009 06:25  
Blogger mendip said...

"Bring back Mas'ûd!" - let that be our rallying cry!

02 November, 2009 13:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

"Bring back Mas'ûd!"

I wouldn't mind seeing him put to work on some of our predatory health-insurance executives, either.....

03 November, 2009 00:49  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

LOL! And yikes!

An extreme approach, I admit, but extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary actions sometimes.

03 November, 2009 11:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeesh, talk about regulation up the wazoo.

03 November, 2009 14:14  

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