18.8.08

The Quiet American

"Death was the only absolute value in my world. Lose life and one would lose nothing again for ever. I envied those who could believe in a God and I distrusted them. I felt they were keeping their courage up with a fable of the changeless and the permanent. Death was far more certain than God, and with death there would be no longer the daily possibility of love dying. The nightmare of a future of boredom and indifference would lift. I could never have been a pacifist. To kill a man was surely to grant him an immeasurable benefit. Oh yes, people always, everywhere, loved their enemies. It was their friends they preserved for pain and vacuity." - The Quiet American, Graham Greene.

What will we do in a few months when our great enemies are gone? Perhaps we'll have John McCain, but hardly will he be as suitable an enemy as our current Jacobean characters. Just a silly man with a flimsy grip on matters of life and death. At least Bush's assuredness of the just nature of his cause will make good fodder for literature someday (and make prescient older literature such as the above).

Also from The Quiet American:

"Innocence always calls mutely for protection when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it: innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm."

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