Sunday, July 02, 2006

Freedom of. . .Freedom for. . . In the novel "A Bend in the River" V. S. Naipul writes from the point of view of a man of South Asian background in Africa.

Comparing the various groups active around him, he says that the difference between the British and everyone else is that the British act exactly like everyone else, with focused and sometimes viscious self-interest, but they want to tell a different story about what they do and put up a statue to themselves after they do it.

Well, yes. That is my country also. During the 1991 Gulf War I talked to a man about how so much depended on young people believing the promises of adventure and doing the pure good thing that war promoters put forth.

He said, "No other demographic group would fall for it. But there are always a lot of them ready to believe."

I can't mention V.S. Naipul without saying he is a phenomenally good writer and awful about Africans and women and maybe other groups I haven't noticed. Part way into a book by him, I'll think I must read everything by him, he's so smart and has been so many places, but then his fist will burst through the pages of the book and hit a woman or an African as hard as he can. Then it's a long time til I read another book by him.

Freedom is a constant struggle. So is accuracy. These struggles are related.