Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

RP 6: Friendship in Music, on the Playground, and in Our Lives

Part I: A Work of Art

I picked a musical piece for the work of art that I think represents friendship: a song called “Strangers,” a cover a song written by the Kinks but performed by Lucius. It was difficult for me to find a recording online, but this one isn’t too bad:


I chose this piece in part due to the lyrics, in part the harmonies, and in part because of how these two women perform together. The words to the song are deeply felt, pulling at the heartstrings of anyone who has ever experienced a friendship that transcends articulation:

And we will share this road we walk
And mind our mouths and beware our talk
‘Till peace we find, tell you what I’ll do
All the things that I own I will share with you

The harmonies are of the realm of a friendship of difference, complimenting each other beautifully as they move in separate directions, but coming into complete alignment of the same notes for the last couple of chords, demonstrating how friends may move on different paths, but at the end of the day, support each other.

Lastly, these two women, whenever they perform, always dress the same and face each other. There is something incredibly beautiful about the ways in which they demonstrate their equality through their clothing, and the way in which they constantly check in with each other by facing each other head on while they sing. They do not face the audience, further emphasizing that they perform not for a crowd, but to create art together.


Part II: Institutionalizing Friendship

How can we potentially institutionalize a state of being, a dynamic between individuals? Truly, at a baseline, I do not think we can. That being said, we can institutionalize certain ideas that lead to the formation of friendship. The first thing that comes to my mind is educational systems and school. This is where we learn at a young age how to interact with others, and how friendships and the skills needed to sustain them are frequently formed. One of the most significant arenas for friendship to develop at school is outside of the classroom during recess. As children get older, recess is something that falls by the wayside. My school stopped having recess when we reached sixth grade, which is early, although it is an almost universally lost concept by the time young people reach high school. Even if children are not playing in the classical sense, providing a space where relationships can build and be developed is just as crucial as they age. The best way to institutionalize friendship is to institutionalize permanent time and space where young people can take a break from intellectualizing and have an opportunity for socializing.



Part III:



WHEREAS friendship may be defined as the growing together of individuals; and


WHEREAS friendship is not bound by physical location, belief systems, race, sex, gender, sexuality, religion, or political stance; and


WHEREAS friendship bridges the gaps between those of differing ideologies to bring about empathy; and


WHEREAS friendship is a necessity for the betterment of individuals as well as the betterment of society; and


WHEREAS the presence of friendship enriches the livelihood, wellbeing, and physical health of individuals; and


WHEREAS friendship is a necessity to the human existence just as water, food, and shelter; and


WHEREAS friendship must be practiced as a right for all; and

WHEREAS the practices of friendship are applicable to the fostering of peace.


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we of Professor Mahallati’s Friendship Class have a duty to foster and protect friendship in our lives so that we may demonstrate to others how to build and nurture friendships, with the hope that peace will sprout from these practices. Let this day, and every day henceforth, be one in which we practice and celebrate friendship.



I affirm I have adhered to the Honor Code on this assignment. (Cat Potts)

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