?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Poisonous Holy Water - Warren Ellis [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Warren Ellis

[ website | warrenelliscom ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Links
[Links:| warrenellisdotcom myspace badsignal ]

Poisonous Holy Water [May. 5th, 2011|09:45 am]
Warren Ellis

This story is all kinds of fascinating to me and my paranoid writer’s mind (write crime or horror or sf, and you need a paranoid mind):

Holy drinking water contaminated with arsenic is being sold illegally to Muslims by UK shops, the BBC has found. Zam Zam water is taken from a well in Mecca and is considered sacred to Muslims, but samples from the source suggested it held dangerous chemicals. Tourists can bring back small amounts from Saudi Arabia, but it cannot be exported for commercial use. An undercover researcher found large quantities of bottles being sold in east and south London, and in Luton…

…and it’s full of poison.

Secret recordings captured the vendors describing customers who drank it daily. “They depend on it, they don’t drink anything else,” said the owner of an Islamic bookshop in Upton Park.

So has someone poisoned fake holy water that Muslims consume by the gallon?  That would be an interesting, horrible, paranoid story.  But it gets worse:

The BBC asked a pilgrim to take samples from taps which were linked to the Zam Zam well and to buy bottles on sale in Mecca, to compare the water on sale illegally with the genuine source. These showed high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria, and traces of arsenic at three times the permitted maximum level, just like the illegal water which was purchased in the UK.

The holy water was poisonous all along.

(Automatically crossposted from warrenellis.com. Feel free to comment here or at my message board Whitechapel. If anything in this post looks weird, it's because LJ is run on steampipes and rubber bands -- please click through to the main site.)
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: charlycrash
2011-05-05 04:49 pm (UTC)
How metaphorical.

One of the best places to catch leprosy back in the 14th c. was religious hostelries on pilgrimage routes, as lepers were amongst the more frequent pilgrims and the brothers or sisters running said hostelries weren't that fussy about cleaning the sheets of the often shared beds.

One has to wonder why God doesn't protect any of these people.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: phoenixredux
2011-05-05 05:00 pm (UTC)
One has to wonder why God doesn't protect any of these people.

I know, right? It's almost like God is just a myth perpetuated by those who stand to gain power or wealth to enslave those who believe. Crazy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: charlycrash
2011-05-05 05:07 pm (UTC)
BUT BUT BUT

1. Bad things happen.
2. ???
3. PROFIT GOD EXISTS!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: djinnthespazz
2011-05-05 06:29 pm (UTC)
So wrong. Totally drinking the KoolAid.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: dewline
2011-05-05 10:21 pm (UTC)
Horrific for any number of reasons. And I wonder what the implications for Riyadh might be.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: avieyal
2011-05-05 11:54 pm (UTC)
One thing I've never figured out about zamzam water is why it tastes different in Mecca and at home (in Malaysia). I've had it from the source and the taste difference is so huge. Once its transported, no matter what the container, it ends up tasting different (a not-tasty different, compared to the relative clear sweetness if you drink the from the source, but I don't say this out loud because at the very least that would be rude.)

Could it be that there are arsenic components that somehow band together to become poisonous due to pressure change during transport? But airplane cargo are all pressurized too, aren't they?

Saudi needs to check their filtration devices -_- THOUSANDS of people drink that daily, especially the residents since zamzam is free.

(Reply) (Thread)
From: tariq_kamal
2011-05-06 08:03 am (UTC)
What I'm a little horrified with is the fact that there are Muslims who "depend on it" and "don't drink anything else".

FELLOW MUSLIMS. HELLO. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS.

And you know, I've always associated the difference to the effect of the place. I mean, come on, you're in Mecca. To say that it has zero effect? Come on.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: avieyal
2011-05-06 10:23 am (UTC)
Well yeah, but something must've happened to it on a molecular level. Then again I seem to be the only one to taste the difference. Everyone else goes "oh its the plastic container aftertaste" and leave me feeling bad for not liking the taste of transported water.

Its usually for special occasions or to accompany any particularly dire dua, but other than that we don't drink it. Those non Mecca residents that depend on it, I suppose it fulfills some spiritual need in them. Some of the terminally ill find solace in drinking it daily alongside any medication they may be taking. The healthy ones...gotta admire their determination I suppose. I'm under the impression that putting yourself in hardship to buy it for everyday use is not condoned. Or practical. But they have to do what they have to do I guess.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: tariq_kamal
2011-05-06 12:15 pm (UTC)

Then again I seem to be the only one to taste the difference.

No, no, you’re not the only one. I’ve heard my relatives who’ve gone to Umrah and those who have performed the Hajj who say that the taste is different.

And to be honest, I don’t know if there was a change or not in a physical sense; all I know is that I can’t eliminate purely psychological reasons for it. I mean, it’s not as if they’re visiting Kota Bahru or something — they’re going to Mecca. That in itself — that holds incredible mythical hold on Muslims, at least the ones in KL who decide to go.

Its usually for special occasions or to accompany any particularly dire dua, but other than that we don’t drink it. Those non Mecca residents that depend on it, I suppose it fulfills some spiritual need in them. Some of the terminally ill find solace in drinking it daily alongside any medication they may be taking. The healthy ones…gotta admire their determination I suppose.

See, that’s the thing. I don’t. I’m kind of horrified, still. That 1) there are people who depend on this because they mistrust the infidel so much as to not trust anything “Islamic” and 2) that there are Muslims out there who are willing to fuck with the lives and health of their own brethren for fucking money.

Fuck, I’m not horrified any more. I’m pissed off.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: avieyal
2011-05-06 10:27 am (UTC)
Oh sorry, I didn't look at your LJ before replying. I suppose I didn't have to explain our practices then ^_^"
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: tariq_kamal
2011-05-06 12:16 pm (UTC)
LOL. It's cool. At least your explanation helps someone who doesn't have an idea what's happening.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)