It's great to be here.
We'll name our new military airport
after your most famous son,
the great mathematician
who lived in the ninth century
of the Christian era --
sorry, the Common Era.
We'll build Firebase Algorithm,
a word derived from his last name.
The book he wrote, Kitab Al-Jabr,
christened the field of algebra.
Whoops! We should have said
Al-Jabr was its basis.
We'll add a lot more bases.
Your social problems might multiply
as we search for X, then Y, then Z,
the unknown quantities,
the solutions to our problem,
but we're grateful for your support,
glad that al-Khwarizmi
developed the “calculus of two errors.”
It will help us differentiate
terror from infinite justice --
make that “enduring freedom.”
We give thanks that al-Khwarizmi
launched the decimal system,
so we can keep easy body counts,
flash results on television,
and when the Great Game ends
post the scores in Arabic numerals:
Muslims, zero. Christians, zero.
by Peter Desmond