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.
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
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,
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
mnemonic: 'Body needs liver to survive
even one day.'
Info from Taka
of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary