Up betimes and at my blog; a busy day lies ahead - as usual I seem to have bitten off rather more than I can chew - which is why I am sitting hunched over a keyboard in the pearly light of dawn, mug of coffee to hand, typing this!
Friends gave me a copy of “Suite Française” by Irène Némirovsky as a birthday present, and I read it this week. (Curiously, my mother and my sister had each been given copies of the same book for their birthdays.)
It is not a complete book, the author, a Russian Jewess living in France, who had already written several acclaimed novels started writing it in 1941. She intended the finished book to be in five parts, like an orchestral suite of music, but was seized by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz in late 1942, having written only two of the five parts. These two parts, together with her copious notes on what she was writing and her planning for the remaining three parts of the book, miraculously survived in a small suitcase which her two small daughters had with them when they fled the Nazis and went into hiding. As adult women, Iréne Nèmirovsky’s daughters decided to transcribe what they had thought was her daily journal, and discovered that it was a book, or part of a book. “Suite Française” is a collection of the two parts she had written, all her notes, letters between herself and her publishers and friends about her books, and then the frantic correspondence between her husband Michael Epstein and anyone of influence in occupied France whom he thought could save his wife after she had been arrested.
Her writing is exceptional, light, delicate and intimate. She conveys the horrors of the Nazi invasion of Paris so well that you live through the nightmare and the panic as you read.
Her account of rural life under the German occupation is superb; she views everything and everyone with an unsentimental clarity. It is not too exaggerated to say I found her writing on a par with Flaubert. What a terrible loss to French literature.
I am quite unable to do justice to this book in a few words, suffice to say I thought it was simply wonderful, and urge everyone to read it, particularly teenagers. It is a beautiful and chilling reminder of what happened in the mid 20th Century, and what we must guard against ever happening again.
There has been much huffing and puffing about profiling in the past week. At present all airline passengers are considered equally likely to be terrorists and are all subjected to the same treatment whether they are little old ladies, frequent business flyers, or young asian men in Islamic dress. Consequently the security queues at airports and elsewhere are taking longer than ever. Personally I think this is a crazy way to proceed. Last week the cartoonist Matt who draws for the Daily Telegraph had a brilliant cartoon which sums it up; I hope he and they will not mind me including it here.
We spend our normal lives catagorising things, situations and people, why should this not apply to security too?
Of course security proceedures should not rely solely on profiling, but it should certainly be one of the methods in use. The Muslim Council of Britain is vehimently opposed to any form of profiling, saying it would not be fair, and would antagonise the innocent asians who were subjected to it. That might be, but at least they would be safer. The other arguement put forward by the MCB is that the terrorists would switch to recruiting tall blonde Scandinavian women to carry their bombs or whatever. Oh really? and how are they going to do that ?
Many groups in our society have been at the forefront of profiling - a case in point is the situation some young male cancer sufferers have found themselves in. Chemotherapy has caused hair loss, and bouncers at clubs and gigs in Birmingham and elsewhere have been refusing to let them in, assuming they are skinheads and will cause trouble. Have they been whining about it not been fair that profiling young bald males as probable skinheads has caused them to miss out on some relaxation and fun? no, they have found a way to sort it out. Take a look at this example of a card that they now carry to persuade the club security teams that they are hairless because they have cancer.
This is a great recipe for a mid week supper as I can prep it the previous evening if I am in court the next day -and come home knackered - it is all ready to cook.
JERK PORK CHOPS
4 thick pork chops
1 onion peeled and finely chopped
4-5 spring onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme
1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
1 level teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon grated Nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
Place chops in a shallow dish.
Whiz all the remaining ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor to make a purée.
Mix 2 heaped tablespoons of this mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the mixture over the chops, cover the dish and leave to marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Grill or braai the chops for 10-15 minutes, turning once, until cooked through. Garnish with a little chopped red chilli or fresh thyme. Serve with rice and peas.
The remaining jerk marinade keeps well in the fridge for at least one week.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
2 years ago