Friday, January 4, 2008

Ali Baba's Wife

By this means Marjaneh found that her master ‘Ali Baba had admitted thirty-eight robbers into his house, and that this pretended oil-merchant was their captain. She made what haste she could to fill her oil-pot, and returned into her kitchen, where, as soon as she had lighted her lamp, she took a great kettle, went again to the oil-jar, filled the kettle, set it on a large wood fire, and as soon as it boiled, went and poured enough into every jar to stifle and destroy the robber within.
Stories from the Thousand and One Nights. The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Today I've been looking for articles about boiling in oil as a form of torture and of the death penalty. I assume that it works because the boiling temperature of oil is very high -- coupled with its adherence to the skin and blocking of pours.

I'm interested in the old stories about oil too -- the use of oil as weapon -- but also the importance in cooking and lighting -- I guess it's not so different -- the sight of the oil truck lumbering from house to house -- from the image of a oil merchant traveling with barrels big enough to fit thieves.

In the story of Ali Baba is targeted because he stole from the thieves -- he found their treasure trove and took some of the wealth for themselves. I read that in Iraq, American Servicemen are referred to by the slang term, "Ali Babas."

One thing I've noticed is that it is much easier to find current reliable information -- I guess when it comes to history, books are still the place to go. That's kind of comforting, and kind of worrisome -- I think it probably means a lot of history is going to be lost.

It's crazy the things that are on the web. For one thing, an ex-military guy paid some Navy Seals to waterboard him on video, so that people could really see what it was. I couldn't watch. Also, there's a video of a Malaysian martial arts ritual where people wash their hands in boiling oil. I couldn't watch that, either -- I guess maybe I'm a little sensitive today.

A woman in South Mississippi killed her husband last year by (allegedly) pouring boiling oil over him while he slept.
Sanders is accused of pouring two or three quarts of boiling cooking oil on her husband, Sherman, on July 28. She fled with her two children in a white Pontiac Grand Prix, Garber said. Attorney Brian Alexander was appointed to represent Sanders on Thursday. Alexander also worked on the James Boswell capital murder case in 2005. He said Friday he believes his client will be acquitted when she has her day in court.
"When all of the facts are brought forth, it will be clear that Edna Mae's behavior was justified in light of the circumstances," he said. "She only acted in a way any reasonable, prudent person would have acted under similar circumstances." Link
When Marjaneh saw him depart, she went to bed, satisfied and pleased to have succeeded so well in saving her master and family.

I'm sort of interested, too, in the idea of the weapons of the women revolving around their home duties -- lighting the lamp -- cooking. We use what we have, I suppose -- what we have access to.

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