[ilds] terror

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sat Aug 18 08:02:56 PDT 2007



        *On 8/18/2007 10:21 AM, Richard Pine wrote:*
>         Bill I think you are missing the point. And I don't understand
>         what you mean by saying that Durrell's description is
>         'adequate' - in fact, it strikes me as very cinematic in its
>         suggestiveness, and definitely of a qualitatively different
>         genre of activity from your 'traveler/terrorist' nexus. You
>         don't agree?

            *Bill wrote:*
>
>                 Very good. Apparently the list is working -- at least
>                 a little bit. I think Durrell's description is quite
>                 adequate. The slender chain of trust upon which all
>                 human relations are based is broken.  You are no
>                 longer a traveler, but a suspected terrorist. Off with
>                 the shoes, and your belt  (hold your pants up), and
>                 then hobble to a place where you can dress.
>
>>                         *Durrell writes (via David):*
>>                           
>>                         "one needs about a month to catch the
>>                         particular flavour of terrorism which is made
>>                         up of quite intangible fears - feet running
>>                         down a road at midnight, a silent man in a
>>                         white shirt standing at a street corner
>>                         holding a bicycle too small for him, a parked
>>                         car with no lights, a factory door ajar, the
>>                         flick of a torch in a field. terrorism
>>                         infects the normal transactions of life. The
>>                         horror of deliberate murder, or ambush or
>>                         grenade, is at least purging - the pity and
>>                         the terror are in them, and the conciseness
>>                         of actions which can be met. But the evil
>>                         genius of terrorism is suspicion- the man who
>>                         stops and asks for a light, a cart with a
>>                         broken axle signalling for help, a forrester
>>                         standing alone among trees, three youths
>>                         walking back to a village after sundown, a
>>                         sheperd shouting something indistinctly heard
>>                         by moonlight, the sudden pealing of a
>>                         doorbell in the night. The slender chain of
>>                         trust upon which all human relations are
>>                         based is broken - and this the terrorist
>>                         knows and sharpens his claws precisely here:
>>                         for is primary object is not battle. It is to
>>                         bring upon the community in general a
>>                         reprisal for his wrongs, in the hope that the
>>                         fury and resentment roused by punishment
>>                         meted out to the innocent will gradually
>>                         swell the ranks of those from whom he will
>>                         draw further recruits."
>>

I might be able to take both Richard's and Bill's points in order to 
hear more from both.  In my original response to David, I said something 
like Richard does when he invokes the special terms of "cinema."  (I 
believe that I wrote about Durrell leaving us with a clutch of old 
snapshots which imply much activity outside of the frame.)

And Bill (I think) is calling attention to the germ of fear spread by 
terrorism.  Richard's point about how the Masters of Our Different 
Century use terror and new media in an accelerated and exponential way 
might be considered as related to Bill's point:  all innocent travelers 
now must recognize themselves as "suspects" when they pass through 
airport security.

A note in the wake of Carbondale 2007:  the /Bitter Lemons/ materials 
are Carbondale are somewhat unique in that unlike most other major 
Durrellian works, these working notes and drafts and photos are not 
spread far and wide among different archives on different continents.  
Bill and I took some time reading through the FO/Government reports on 
Cyprus that Durrell had held back for himself.  A number of the reports 
(naturally) are concerned with terrorism, but Durrell's underlinings and 
annotations show that this topic was one of the prime concerns while 
writing /Bitter Lemons/.   Anyone following up David's original 
suggestion about /Bitter Lemons/ being a classic and prescient text of 
terrorism would need to look through that material.

Charles

-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
**********************

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