Djinn and Healthcare in Bangladesh



Kitab_al-Bulhan_---_devils_talking




The anomaly known as the “frequency illusion” or the “Baader-Meinhoff phenomenon” occurs when a fact you just heard of all of a sudden seems to crop up everywhere. Bruce Jenner changed his gender and appeared in a white dress on the cover of Vanity Fair, perhaps motivating Melanie Trump to copy the outfit at the Republican National Convention. Suddenly, trans people seem to be everywhere. Bradley, now Chelsea Manning leaked documents, went to prison and changed his sex; North Carolina is in an uproar about unisex bathrooms. Opponents point out  the fact that American homes lack gender-restricted bathrooms and the country hasn’t gone to hell (or maybe it has, as some would reference Trump’s election as proof). But no matter, the bathroom issue is about the survival of the Republic. The Texas trans mayor of the aptly-named town of New Hope, pop. 640, appeared on CNN to argue for tolerance. 

But then there’s Bangladesh.

In the same Bangladesh where bloggers’ lives are at risk, police confiscated a πέος used in a fake sex-change scam. A Bangladeshi family claimed that it had harnessed the powers of a djinn, who had intervened to change the sex of their fifteen year old daughter, who was now their son. The djinn had even kindly arranged to perform a circumcision, in accordance with both Islamic and Jewish traditions. 

Villagers flocked to the family and their djinn with pleas for help with medical and marital problems. Crowds amassed and disorder developed: the police became aware of this unusual addition to the health care system and dispatched officers to investigate. The officers took the new trans man to a physician, who determined that the girl had hidden what the Spanish call a consolador tied to her waist under her clothes. The girl and her family were arrested and charged with fraud. The distraught villagers would have to seek medical care from allopathic physicians after all.

The frightening aspect of this story is how easy it was for the family to fool people. In the Gregorian year of 2017, a man in Bangladesh could announce, “a djinn changed my daughter’s sex” and people believed him. Not only did they believe him, they rushed to his home to obtain favors from the djinn. It is easy to discount the villagers as naive and uneducated, but is this really so different from the struggle against #fakenews? 

Imagine if you were a lawyer tasked with defending the family. Wouldn’t your first defense be, “how could anyone believe this nonsense? How can this possibly be fraud?” The only way that these acts could constitute fraud presumes the existence of djinn that perform medical miracles. 

In a way, the family was lucky to be charged only with fraud. If the πέος had turned out to be real, if they in good faith had attempted to command djinn, they might have been charged with sorcery instead. There is but one penalty for sorcery under Islam and that is the same penalty suffered by too many bloggers in Bangladesh. 

This article was first posted to LinkedIn, a family-friendly, SFW site. Thus, I have used the Greek term πέος above instead of the English word. The graphic shows the ruins of an ancient temple in Indonesia dedicated to πέος worship. The source for this story is https://tribune.com.pk/story/1320628/bangladesh-family-arrested-fake-penis-scam/. Republished at:
https://medium.com/@al_mu7ami/djinn-and-healthcare-in-bangladesh-39f2e3f9fb48