Woke up this morning totally oblivious to what day it was. It was while watching a local show on the subject that I realized it was April Fool’s Day though so far, I haven’t been victim to any prank. Two things were quite disturbing. First was a myth about the day’s origin that the show and people calling in stated as fact and something I decided to research. Second was the way it is celebrated here.
For any western event celebrated here, people come up with all kinds of origins, with Muslims or Asians portrayed as victims. April Fool’s was apparantly a result of the killing of a huge number of Muslims by trickery in some event that wasn’t made clear.
That didn’t sound right so I headed over to Wikipedia and got the answer I expected. Though disputed, none of the possible origins seem to be connected to Islam and most are from before the advent of Islam (in its final form).
Though I’m used to living with these myths, it is the difference in how this day is treated that is cause for concern. While in most parts of the world the pranks are harmless and amusing, here they can be quite cruel and insensitive. I find it quite amusing to read some of the annual prank emails, supposedly sent by Linus himself, to the Linux Kernel Mailing List. Even the news items posted by Slashdot are sometimes funny and I remember the BBC show I once saw about how pasta grows on trees.
I still remember the anonymous call we got, some years back, about my uncle being in the hospital as a result of an accident. My mother, auntie and myself immediately rushed there while everyone else at the house was in a state of shock and praying for him, including my aged grandmother. It was quite relieving, as well as very infuriating, to find him well at his work place. We never found out who made the call. Most other pranks here border along the same lines and off course, it is the Jewish and white conspirators that get blamed for the consequences.