Sikh This

by John O'Sullivan

Before the Danish cartoons episode, there was the withdrawal of a play about Sikhs in Britain following a Sikh demonstration against it that degenerated into a violent riot. Christie Davies, the witty sociologist (yes, his existence proves the possibility of such a creature), has a superb posting on the episode, its aftermath, and much else on the Social Affairs Unit site–see it here. Christie manages to be absolutely fair to all sides–which in relation to the author, the arts establishment and the Minister of Culture means being scorchingly critical. The Sikh community comes better out of it than I expected when I began reading even though Christie is clear that the riot was a disgrace. And it is beautifully written. I liked in particular “a massive police absence” and (about the author) she may get into Madame Tussauds but “her wax will wane.” Altogether the piece is a wonderful illustration in miniature of all the cultural absurdities and crimes that now beset us. As with Ted Dalrymple, however, Christie makes our pain a fruitful and funny experience. Thanks to Clive Davis for directing me to it. Clive incidentally is wrong but decent on the cartoon issue.

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