Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "The Best Richness"

This poem came out of the July 16, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] curiosity, [personal profile] inky_magpie, [personal profile] lilliane, and Rocket. It also fills the "Nine of Vessels - Generosity" square in my 4-30-19 card for the Tarot Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [personal profile] fuzzyred. It belongs to the Aquariana thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some which are spoilers. It includes religious disputes, unrecognized states, ceding territory to create a new country, Somali pirates, touchy politics, too much money, but some problems are nice to have, the stateless Rohingya people, and assorted mayhem relating to them, guilt, half-assed concern from other countries, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider you tastes and headspace before reading onward.

"The Best Richness"

[Monday, January 4, 2016]

Mamadou Latheef was pleased with
the developments in the Maldives,
mulling over them as the ship
cruised gracefully westward.

The economy was more secure
now that the currency could not
be counterfeited by any means,
although they were still working out
how to handle the great increases
in demand due to that security.

The spaceport was well underway
on its own little island as nanites
turned sand and trash into rockets.

The search for astronauts to staff
the program got a surprising assist from
the Navy, since Steel and Moderato liked
astronauts and some of their friends
wanted to move to the Maldives.

After consultation and prayer,
the imams in the Maldives had
approved Aunt Flo's Flushies
for use by Muslim women,
setting it as "recommended"
since it avoided bodily emissions.

A majority declared that women
using them were not menstruating
for purposes of spiritual practice, as
no color appeared outside the body;
some disagreed, leading to fights
in the already fraught Middle East.

Construction had begun on
a floating lab and a factory for
Aunt Flo. The lab was completed
in November, and the first factory
should be done by September.

A study on how Flushies affect
endometriosis was also in progress
and due to conclude in March.

President Latheef now had
ongoing discussions with
the representatives from
several unrecognized states
including Sealand and Liberland.

Oceania had been enthusiastic
about advancing recognition for
nations based on artificial islands,
floating cities, or ocean territories.

He even had some contacts
in the Republic of Lakotah.
the Navajo Nation and
a few other tribes.

Best of all, however,
the Cabinet had approved
his proposal to cede territory
from parts of the Laamu,
Gaaf Alif, and Gaaf Daal
administrative regions.

Now Kraken held a space
between the Maldives and
distant Somalia, which they
had named Thalassia.

Antikythera Construction
was already hard at work on
an array of habitat structures,
some floating and others moored.

Sierpinski City had the advantage
of a fractal, modular form that could be
built and assembled one piece at a time.

Now it was slowly growing into
a snowflake on the ocean.

Antikythera also sent crews
to work offshore near Malé.

Little Sicily and Little Frisco
were already taking shape,
the Sloping Greenways model
mimicking the hilly terrain of
their respective homelands.

The Jules Verne had been
outfitted with an Islamic library,
a prayer room, and an ablution room
and was now -- he couldn't resist
checking its app on his smartphone --
chugging from Fuvahmulah to Vaadhoo.

As they docked at Sierpinski City,
President Latheef saw greenhouses,
apartments, and office buildings
rising high over their heads.

Someone had transplanted
palm trees, or possibly, boosted
the growth of coconuts instead.

Even unfinished, it was beautiful.

A guide led him to an office
whose walls seemed to be
made of computer screens.

President Latheef laughed.
"It suits you, my friend."

Captain Left emerged
from behind his desk for
a brief handshake.

"I'm glad you think so,"
he said. "I like it very much.
I can display video at life size, so
it works like meeting in person
only a great deal safer."

"That's good to hear,"
said President Latheef.
"I admit, security is a bit ...
delicate at the moment."

"My sympathies,"
said Captain Left.
"Meanwhile I've had
to set up a lottery for
who gets to go deal
with the Somali pirates."

"Has Steel tried to buy in?"
President Latheef said.

"No, we agreed that
the pirates would probably
run along our border, and
anything that falls off the edge
is fair game for him when he's in
the neighborhood," said Captain Left.
"When he's out of range, we'll just
put more effort into containment."

"That sounds like a good plan,"
said President Latheef. "How is
India taking the developments?"

"They're grumbling a bit for sake
of appearances, but I think they're
secretly glad to have someone else
taking some of the weight off them,"
said Captain Left. "Ships out of
Kandla, Mumbai, and Kochi
have gotten hammered."

"Sri Lanka is just happy that
we put you on the far side of us
from them," said President Latheef.

"Better for everyone, I think,"
said Captain Left. "You have been
incredibly generous, my friend."

"The best richness is the richness
of the soul," said President Latheef.

"I am not a devout man, but I could
grow to like Islam," said Captain Left.

"I hope so," said President Latheef.
"My nation benefits greatly from
all our new allies, but some people
feel uncomfortable with the changes,
fearing what could happen if we
lose a Muslim majority."

"Mmm," said Captain Left,
his fingers pattering over
his keyboard. "How is
your economy going?"

"It's doing almost too well,"
said President Latheef. "We have
a great deal of zakat pouring in,
some in superpowers. Women
are watching keenly because of
Aunt Flo's Flushies -- and that's
before the lab comes online
some time in September."

The keyboard chattered again.
"It says here that zakat may go to
the poor, the needy, those in bondage,
the traveler in distress, and the path
of Allah," said Captain Left.

"Yes, that is correct,"
said President Latheef.

"It seems to me that some or
all of those categories would apply
to the Rohingya. They are not
Maldivian, but they are Muslims.
There are about a million of them,
most living in exile," said Captain Left.
"There is your guarantee of majority,
if you want to go and get it."

"I have done what I can for them
over the years, but it's hard to help
from so far away," said President Latheef.
"Also, I have asked much of the Cabinet
and I don't wish to press them more."

"But now you have ships,"
Captain Left said gently.
"You have teleporters. You
have more money than you know
what to do with. You have allies.
Hasn't the Cabinet been hounding
you about the balance of religions?
Tell them you found some Muslims!"

"That could work," said President Latheef.
"Do you really think they would come?"

"I think the Rohingya will take any bolthole
they can get right now," said Captain Left.
"It's a great match though. They come from
a tropical, coastal area which is what you
have too. You're both Muslims. They'll
have to learn your language, but that
applies to anywhere they might go."

"All right, I can see the possibilities,"
said President Latheef. "But where
would we put so many people?"
There are more of them than us,
even if we only counted refugees!"

"We have options," said Captain Left.
"One is to add however many Muslims
you think you need to balance other faiths,
and spread them out the same as you do
with your other immigrants. Another is
to shame the United Nations into yielding
a portion of ocean territory to them."

"Like we did with you, but out of
the common territory instead of ours?"
President Latheef said, then shook
his head. "They'd never agree."

"Oh, I think that they might,"
said Captain Left. "Remember,
you aren't the only one watching
in horror. Other people have wished
they could do something, as long as
it didn't mean taking the refugees.
This would give them an out."

President Latheef thought about
what he'd seen of world leaders
dodging the issue of the Rohingya.

"Perhaps so, but that still leaves
the question of where they'd live,"
President Latheef said with a sigh.
"They can't just tread water."

"You could give them an island
or few; you still have plenty of
empty ones," said Captain Left.
"Or there's usually a resort going
bankrupt, which you could buy with
zakat for them. We could donate
some ships suitable for living, too."

"Hmm," said President Latheef.
"The average resort can hold
dozens of families plus staff, and
the large ones can hold between
one and two hundred families."

"Here's one for sale that has
180 villas of various sizes and
styles," said Captain Left. "Plus
clubhouses, restaurants, a dive center,
and other amenities. It even includes
a mosque! I don't see any stores,
but they're easy enough to add."

"So that's 360 people in couples, or
up to 720 at two children per couple,
just in the villas before considering
staff housing," said President Latheef.
"That would make a good start."

"Yes, and look at the map,"
said Captain Left. "The villas
stand in clusters. If we could
identify families that came from
the same villages, then we
could make them neighbors."

A flick of his hand displayed it
on the wall, an island shaped
rather like a swimming fish.

"Oh, I remember that one,"
said President Latheef. "It has
very bad currents around the head
and tail. There was a fatal accident,
a lawsuit -- the corporation lost
and had to give up the island."

He poked at his smartphone.

Captain Left cleared his throat.
"What are you looking up?"

"Just wondering how much it
will cost for adding a Wudumate in
every bathroom," said President Latheef.
"Nobody should have to wash his feet in
the sink, and a shower is awkward too."

Flick, flick and the numbers appeared
on the wall next to the resort map.

"The mosque and the apartments
already have some," Captain Left said.
"Do you want the classic or compact
to install in home bathrooms?"

"Probably classic in the larger ones
and compact in the smaller ones,"
President Latheef decided.

The numbers refreshed,
estimating how many of each
and totaling the prices.

The cost of the former resort
also appeared, along with
contact information for
the nearest zakat office.

"That's perfectly feasible,"
said President Latheef.

"I'll send you a copy,
and see about gathering
some ships," said Captain Left.
"Once we have a basic outline,
you can approach the Rohingya
and ask what else they need."

"Assuming they take the offer, and
I think they will, we can start moving
some to Mawaa. Then we'll try asking
the United Nations for sovereign territory,"
said President Latheef. "It's a plan."

"Excellent," said Captain Left.
"Now maybe you can help me. I've
got this dilemma -- once they see
the reefs, a lot of my people want
to take up coral farming. I don't have
enough shallows here for all of them, and
not everyone will switch to sea vegetables.
How much of that could you soak up?"

"Quite a bit, I expect," said President Latheef.
"Our coral reefs have taken a beating from
all kinds of threats. I'll have to talk with
my environmental staff, but I'm sure we can
work with this -- most of the islands have
a little coral garden now, but few of them
can afford to farm it on a large scale.
Paying for it is no problem at all."

A clock chimed an alarm.

Captain Left wrinkled his nose.
"Ah, that's my fresh air alarm.
I'm supposed to go outside for
ten minutes every few hours."

"That's a healthy habit,"
said President Latheef.
"Shall we walk around
your lovely new city? You
can show me what you've
done with those corals and
sea vegetables so far."

"Agreed," said Captain Left,
and led the way out.

* * *


"The best richness is the richness of the soul."
-- Bukhari

Late March 2015 -- Construction begins on floating facilities for a lab and a factory to produce Aunt Flo's Flushies and other products by the same creator. Additional facilities are planned to launch in stages.

June 2015 (3 months) -- After consultation and prayer, the imams in the Maldives approve the Flushies for use by Muslim women, setting this as "recommended" because Muslims just generally dislike bodily emissions of all kinds. The opinions divide on whether or not a woman wearing a Flushie "is menstruating" for the purpose of religious rules: a majority say that she is not, because the rules rely on blood appearing outside the body, which quickly stops with a Flushie on. Go do your cleansing just as if you had finished menstruating, and you are then spiritually clean. This parallels prior rulings on the topic of birth control pills that stop menses, except that Flushies do not require the husband's permission since they do not block fertility. Imams in other Muslim cultures vary in their opinions, but even some of the conservative ones are swayed by the option of not having to deal with all that blood. Some very sharp arguments break out because reading the source material makes it pretty clear that cleanliness is to be preferred when available, and those opposing Flushies are called anti-woman and not good Muslims; which predictably leads to fighting in the already fraught Middle East.

November 2015 (9 months) -- The new floating lab goes online, and Aunt Flo moves into it from her temporary facility.

March 30, 2016 (12 months) -- The preliminary study on how Flushies affect endometriosis is released with excellent results: it solves the problem for most women, reduces it for all of them, and causes nearly no side effects. Longer term and larger scale studies are launched for this and other conditions.

September 2016 (18 months) -- The first factory goes online, producing a modest supply of Aunt Flo's Flushies for beta testing. These can be purchased directly from the company or through select pharmacies, at first only by Maldivian citizens or others with special dispensation. Compassionate use categories include women with endometriosis or other menstrual malfunctions and women with disabilities.
Registration is encouraged but not required; in exchange for sharing personal data to track any positive and negative effects of Flushies, those users get a discount, first dibs on new releases, and other perks. Official safety studies begin now that a conventional supply is available. This marks the first big drop in black market value of Flushies.

Here you can see the design for the floating lab and factory, and a collage of related images.

Some events in this poem began in "Flowing into the Future" and "There I See the Kraken Rising."

Thalassia comes from θᾰ́λᾰσσᾰ • (thálassa). Loosely translated, it means "Ocean Country."

The Sierpinski hexagon is a fractal shape, for which the floating city is named. See an overview, side view, and underside of Sierpinski City.

Built near Malé, the floating cities of Little Sicily (top) and Little Frisco (bottom) take shape. Here is an underwater view.

Mawaa Island

noun مأوى mawaa
shelter, haven, asylum, sanctuary, house
-- Word Hippo

Name: Dhigali Island
Type of Development: Resort Island
Land area: 23 Hactor
Lagoon area: 49 hactor
40 Minutes from international airport
2 miles from nearest resort island

Total 180 Rooms

An overview of the island shows the cluster of staff facilities in the center. Apartment buildings here have efficiencies or 1-3 bedroom units. Most of the resort facilities go around the beach. Villas typically have only one bedroom, rated for 2 adults, although children are allowed. This map shows the villas and amenities. On this map you can see watersports areas.

This alternate map gives a good view of the center buildings that originally housed staff and support services. You can see where the garden villas get added inside the beltway that goes around the island. The spa village toward the right side of the island is where the medics and other caregivers live. The spa itself lies just to the left of center on the island. This vertical map shows the location of the mosque in the cluster of staff buildings, along with a few other facilities.

This apartment building offers efficiencies. There are 21 units per floor and four floors, for a total of 84 units. At two people per unit, that's 168 people. However, this would be the best place to put single people. There are two of these straight buildings on the horizontal map with center buildings, for a total of 168 housing units, or about 336 people if they are all couples.

Another type of apartment building has larger units. The ground floor has three retail units, two 1-bedroom units, two 2-bedroom units, and one 3-bedroom unit, for a total of 5 units. At two people per bedroom, that's 18 people. There are three upper floors, each with four 3-bedroom units (24), four 2-bedroom units (16) , and one 1-bedroom unit (2), which is 9 units per floor and 27 on the upper floors. There are 32 housing units per building. That's 42 people per floor, or 126 on the upper floors, for a total of 144 in the building. There are four of these L-shaped buildings on the horizontal map with center buildings, for a total of 12 retail units and 128 housing units; or about 576 people.

Maldives Mawaa has one of these T-shaped buildings too. The first floor has 8 two-bedroom units, 2 ADA units, and 1 one-bedroom unit. The second floor and third floor each have 12 two-bedroom units. That's a total of 35 units, or around 134 people at 2 per bedroom.

This map shows the spreading thread from Somali pirates.

Clearly the Rohingya fit several of the following categories:

Disbursement of Zakah
Issue 680: It is obligatory to disburse Zakah through the expenditure in one of the following eight (categories of eligibility):
1) and 2) The poor and the destitute. Both have neither the means to provide for themselves nor for the families within a year. The difference between the poor (Faqeer) and the destitute (Miskeen) is that the poor is one who does not ask anyone (for assistance) while the destitute is a needy person who has need to ask (for assistance).
He who has a vocation or real estate or a profitable venture that does not maintain his livelihood and is not sufficient is deemed as a poor (Faqeer) legally. He is permitted to take his remaining expenses from Zakah.
3) The Zakah collectors (Jaaba Az-Zakawaat). The collectors are the ones appointed in the presence of the Imam or his representative to collect Zakah payments or to persevere or for its accounting or to send it to the Imam, (peace be upon him) or his representative or to disburse it in a required expenditure. It is certainly allowed that the collector can take from the Zakah that which is appropriate for his effort and work.
4) To initiate alliances (with non-Muslims). They are the unsteady in faith and belief whose assistance is sought through giving Zakah to them in order to strengthen their belief and their desire for Islam.
5) Purchasing slaves and freeing them.
6) Debtors. Those who have undertaken a financial obligation (Dayn) and are unable to fulfill it.
7) The Path of Allah (Sabeel Allah). The Path of Allah is all of the paths of goodness that has religious benefit like building Mosques and, likewise, religious schools, propagation centers, to dispatch clergymen and the publication and distribution of useful Islamic books. In a few words, it is all that benefits Islam by whatever means it may be. In particular, Jihad in the Path of Allah.
8) The Wayfarer (Ibn Sabeel). The wayfarer is the traveler whose journey is disrupted and has depleted his funds. He becomes needy, then, it is permissible that he be given Zakah to the extent of his need although he may be well to do in his own hometown and without any need.

The Rohingya suffer genocide and other forms of violence.

Local-Maldives Population
Year 2016
Population 475,512
% Male 60.76%
% Female 39.23%
Density (km²) Population 1585.04
Rank 173
Growth Rate 4.53%

Wudumate is a bathroom fixture for performing purification rituals according to Islam. The modular version is meant for mosques and other public facilities. The classic version is what appears in most public toilets and some larger homes. The compact version will fit into small homes, or converted spaces in public buildings. Wudumates are safer, cleaner, and more accessible than most other options for performing wudu.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, ethnic studies, fantasy, fishbowl, life lessons, poem, poetry, reading, safety, spirituality, weblit, writing
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