Worshippers frequently and variously accommodate highly structured prayer practices to unyielding circumstances. But when they don’t, the juxtaposition and conflict are vivid. Ethiopia’s ‘ Salat Man ’, who in 2013 prayed while surrounded by riot police in Addis Ababa, became a symbol of the conflict between the country’s Muslim minority and the government. The throngs of worshippers prostrating themselves in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011 reproduced the conflict between the pious and the civil authority on a massive scale. The power and legitimacy of a secular state shrank when contrasted with a communal ritual that is pitched, literally, beyond time and space.
The end of the war brought a return to normalcy in terms of trade, and the renewing of ties of friendship and family. The end also brought out, in often poignant terms, the tragedy that such a conflict could have arisen between peoples so closely bound. But some things were different. Great Britain, preoccupied with its European and world concerns after the defeat of Napoleon, had learned a new respect for the United States. For its part, there would be no more talk of a “mere matter of marching” to conquer Canada in Washington’s corridors; the tough and dogged defense that had blunted American invasion efforts ensured that. And for the British North American colonies, the blurred lines that had marked the border with the United States had now become clear. The war ensured that there would be a different society to the north, following its own lights, and having fought for its existence -- as had its neighbour thirty years earlier. Out of that would grow mutual respect and an enduring friendship.