Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at any time, madame: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other animals.

— Beaumarchais

A writer must sit down to write every day, pick up his pen and write something, anything, on a piece of paper.

— Naguib Mahfouz, the celebrated Egyptian novelist, 1911-2006.

From the New Yorker, the story of Fadl, code-name 'Junior', an Al Qaeda defector, who charmed, frustrated, and infuriated his FBI handlers. A rogue, a scamp, a "problem child," who defected from Al Qaeda not because of a change of heart or loss of faith, but because he had skimmed a bunch of cash from Osama's bank accounts and was on the lam.

I found this interesting:

For Fadl, jihad was less a spiritual quest than “a socially acceptable form of bad behavior.” As Coleman put it, “You get to blow stuff up and kill people, and your colleagues and peers think you’re good. It’s fun, and you can be a hero.” Coleman acknowledged that most Al Qaeda members were deeply committed to Islam, but he said that it had been a breakthrough to realize that some were more like ordinary criminals, and could be manipulated in ways familiar to law-enforcement officials.

There is an interesting intersection between ideologically-driven revolutionaries and criminals. The FARC, for example, which is nominally a Communist revolutionary group, nowadays seems scarcely distinguishable from other narco-traffickers. I wonder if Al Qaeda will drift in the same direction.

To please the lonely Fadl, the FBI brought his wife over from Africa. It did not go well.

When the agents gave her lobsters as a Fourth of July treat, she accused them of trying to poison her family with “water spiders.” Once, she cooked dinner for them, placing a pigeonlike bird directly over the burners of a gas stove. “It was brutal,” Cloonan said, but he added that he politely ate his meal. When Nadia first arrived, Fadl asked to have her undergo a ritual cleansing that involved covering her in mud and then placing her over warm embers in a back-yard pit. “Suffice it to say that we did not allow Junior to smoke Nadia in a pit,” Cloonan said.



meaning: liver, gall, courage

落胆== rakutan == (noun) discouragement, despondency, dejection
胆石 == tanseki == (noun) gallstones

Left radical is 'flesh/of the body' (肉). Right radical was originally an obscure character acting phonetically to express 'jar'. The 'body's jar' is a description of the liver (possibly because it holds gall?). Henshall suggests taking the right radical as 'one' (一) and a 'day' (日), and as a mnemonic: 'Body needs liver to survive even one day.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary

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