I read Bech in 'The Holy Land' yesterday and one comment really struck me:
"The tricky thing about peace," Bech suggested, "is that it doesn't always come from being peaceable."
That is the sort of comment that would be perfect for Belfast, and even though Updike maybe visited Jerusalem 20 years ago and based his story on that visit, it is perfectly true for that situation too. It is perhaps something that is very difficult to learn.
I haven't really had much of a chance to do any serious reading lately. I bought another book today. 'The Liberation of Guine' by Basil Davidson. It seems almost an adventure novel about a journalist who made friends and supported the revolutionaries in Guine in their struggle against the Portugese. So far, it is quite exciting. I had no idea that the Portuguese were so brutal. One of the reasons that Africa is so poor is that the colonial powers degraded and demoralised the indigenous peoples and then stepped away. Angola is another one of Portugals colonies and it is probably in a worse state. Portugal had enabled the education of 0.5% of the population of Guine. And then out of that 0.5% they were expected to be the leaders. I can only admire people who come in and try to build their country with so little resources. Most of the 0.5% had traveled to Portugal to be educated and were culturally persuaded to forget their African heritage and become Europeans.
Anyway it is quite a good book.