Thursday, June 22, 2017

"I know what that is"






"This is not a good thing."





______________________





------------------ [excerpt from a new novel, You Belong to Me, by Colin Harrison] --------------


"This is not a good thing."


"We're going to have a talk with him."


If his nephew Ahmed were poor no one would care about this.  "No, that is not a good idea, Amir.  You say talk, but I know what that is.  This kind of conversation turns into violence.  You may offer him money to go away, if you like.  I will pay."


"What about honor -- ?"


"Honor is a hat!"


"Uncle Hassan, I do not understand."


"It can be put on and knocked off and put on again!  But you are too young to understand that!"


"Yes."


"No force, no violence!  This is a private situation!"  He remembered his heart and told himself to calm down.  "Ahmed is an American corporate executive.  At his level there is no tolerance for any kind of personal problem.  There has been too much family involvement already, too much risk."


"As you wish."


Hassan hung up, worried he would be ignored.  There hadn't been enough argument.  His nephews were young and confused.  They suffered the fallacy of perception:  They thought because they perceived something, such as "family honor," that it actually existed. 


They were inflamed by the constant news of war and terror in the Middle East, yet they lived in America and enjoyed its freedoms, the protection of its military, and the rule of law. 




Their Westernization was so complete they did not feel it. 


They paid for everything with American dollars,


ate American food,


drove German-branded cars built in America.... 


They followed the NFL. 


They played war games on their phones, pretending to be badass mercenaries.  They ate Mexican food. 


And yet all the talk was about when the theocratic regime would fall so they could go home to a place they had never been: 


Tehran in the seventies,


glitzy and cosmopolitan, casinos and theaters and hotels busy with oil money, an international, sophisticated city filled with Europeans and Americans smoking and drinking in the caf├ęs, business and pleasure and espionage being conducted everywhere.