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Chapter 6

Not Yet Kijamet 


“Do the bees still swarm?,” two angels are said to ask every hundred years. In a story I often heard while working on this project in and around northeastern Bosnia, angels inquire about animal welfare as part of their ongoing endeavor to listen for signs of the near end of the world (kijamet). The chapter investigates close connections between personal, individual death and the planet’s final collapse that are made in local as well as cosmopolitan Sufi and Islamic lore. Throughout, it pays attention to the worldwide and place-specific predicament of the x species and to their swarming in particular. The chapter wonders about forms of empathetic listening and close record-keeping that may be properly attuned to looming death and the loss of the planet.