Monday, June 21, 2010

Excellent Reads

1) The Thieves of our Lives    ....Even a pacifist doesn’t buy bullets for his enemy’s gun. That act of folly is reserved not for those who will not fight, but for those who do not even understand that there is a fight.....

....Suppose a businessman walks into the Credit Lyonnais bank seeking a loan of 100,000 Euros. The bank will carefully examine whether he is a legitimate credit risk. They will demand to see all sorts of papers and documents to show that he can be trusted. And then the bank will offer a loan with a high interest rate. Or perhaps the loan officer will shrug, and wish him better luck finding the money somewhere else.

But now suppose that a robber from the street comes into the bank, armed and wearing a sizable bomb strapped to his chest, and demanding 100,000 Euros. No one will ask him for documents or proof that he is credit worthy. He is not at all credit worthy. And that is exactly the point. But instead the Bank President himself will step out, and try to negotiate with him. He will not send him packing, the way he did the legitimate businessman. Instead he will offer him a deal. Take 50,000 Euros. Half of what he is asking for. Interest free. No questions asked. Just as Chirac offered to agree that the roots of Europe are equally Muslim and Christian.

Robbers have a way of getting what they want. Whether they are robbing banks or entire countries. The normal laws of citizens do not apply to them. Through violence they make their own laws. And the society on which they have been inflicted either vigorously defends itself against them, or seeks to negotiate some form of compromise with them....

2) Country that is like Heaven: An elegant man in his 50s with a passing resemblance to the actor David Suchet enters the room at the Refugee Council in Leeds. With his urbane manner and air of authority, he could easily be mistaken for the boss.

Instead, Said has come to tell me the story of how he once was a lecturer in educational psychology at Kabul University and a happy family man, but became an asylum seeker forced to pay a human trafficker to take him to safety.

One day, he returned from a trip to Herat to his home in Kabul and found his family had disappeared. None of the neighbours could say what had happened. It was in 2001, when Afghanistan was in the iron grip of the Taliban......

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.