Further to my last post, I wanted to mention two more things that I couldn’t fit in.
Our Kind of Traitor
John le Carré’s story takes place against the backdrop of the banking crisis in 2009.
Of course, we know le Carré as a spy writer, but after the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War ended he had to move with the times.
This morning’s Daily Telegraph carries a story about British troops being sent to Estonia to reassure the Baltic state(s) that NATO is serious about defending it from Russian aggression.
Coupled with Vladimir Putin’s activities in the Ukraine and Middle East it suddenly feels like the Cold War is making a comeback. Maybe rather than spending time with le Carré’s post-Berlin Wall books I should go back to his classic spy novels.
T. E. Lawrence’s Letters
A few days ago I read the very good news that an Arabic dagger and robes belonging to Lawrence had been purchased by the National Army Museum. I suggested to a friend on Twitter (you can follow me @secondachilles if you like) that the dagger should be taken into school and used as a prop to tell the story of how the Middle-East came to be in its current shape. Lawrence helped define it, after all.
I was rightly reminded that there might be an issue with taking a blade into a school but not to be deterred I said if it was down to me I would have the school children re-enacting the Battle of Aqaba.
No, I am neither a parent, nor a teacher nor – as you can see – very sensible. That aside, T. E. Lawrence does have so much to say to us regarding the founding of the modern Middle-East it’s a shame that his story is not more widely told in schools and beyond.