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of FATMI Mounir

MOROCCO, FRANCE, 2004, 00:06:07

Production : FATMI Mounir
Genre : Video art
Keyword : Allegory, Politics, Religion, Society

Summary :

Against a background of chants and prayers, the image of a minaret, emerging from amongst satellite-clad roof terraces, is repeated in a swift staccato montage. Accelerated clouds cross the sky behind it, and gradually envelop and overlap the sacred building. Pre-Islamic Arabs thought that rainfall came from the movement of stars.
In the folklore of subsequent times, the power to be able to make rain fall was conferred to a certain “wali”, an opening in the dome of his tomb would symbolise this power. He had such prestige amongst the people that everyone hoped to have at least one “rain maker” ancestor in their family line. Islam has a sixteen minute long collective prayer intended to make rain fall.
As, for the believer, rain represents God's blessing, which he grants or refuses to men in his supreme mercy. Since rain controls the regeneration of the plant kingdom, it is an archetypal gift of God.
Against any critical temptation, the teaching of the Hadith, reporting how God fulfilled the rain's wishes, draws pious men's attention to the fact that whatever the direct cause of a natural phenomenon like the rain, it is necessarily and finally God who commands everything.
And yet, in 1988, the ministry of religious affairs in Bangladesh revoked mass rain prayers after torrential rain showers killed almost a hundred people.

Rain making requires critical reflection on the fatalistic understanding of phenomena, and on the relationship and the resistance of the believer to science, intertwined with which are economic and political considerations. Isn't believing that rain depends on divine will a way of taking refuge in the “asylum of ignorance” described by Spinoza? But then isn't this refuge exactly what a theocrat intends to keep believers? Spinoza also said that for God's interpreters “to destroy ignorance, is to destroy (...) their only way of keeping their authority*”. Using modern meteorology to then appeal to  someone to solicit rain, in order to establish the legitimacy of power, or to justify economic difficulties, comes from a political strategy of absolute cynicism.

Translation: Caroline Rossiter.
*Spinoza- Appendix of Ethics Book I, prop. XXXVI

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Original language : _wordless
Original format : video
Aspect ratio : 4/3
Chroma : Couleur
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