Thursday, July 19, 2007
The Volunteer - Michael Ross (with Jonathan Kay)
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
African Proverb (from The Volunteer)
I don’t usually discuss politics on this blog. I prefer not to. However, in the case of this particular book, I feel I should be up front as to my stance vis-à-vis the Arab Israeli conflict. I’m pro-Israel and have been since studying history in high school and university.
Okay, that’s out of the way. My objectivity (or lack of) has been revealed.
And so? My opinion regarding The Volunteer? I loved it. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read - fascinating, engrossing and educational.
Canadian Michael Ross did the backpacking about Europe routine when in his twenties. He ultimately found himself in Israel where he, “…immerses himself in Israeli culture, converts to Judaism, and adopts his new country’s struggle for survival as his own, joining the Israel Defence Force and eventually Mossad’s most elite and storied covert-operations unit, Caesaria.”
Not only did I find reading about the life of a spy intriguing, I also gained an understanding as to the origins, workings and supporters (worldwide) of groups such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, etc. Although such knowledge may be frightening, it is something we should possess. Ignorance is not bliss in a world of suicide bombers, Islamic jihad and the like. Know thine enemy. (See proverb above.)
The following quotation illustrates just one of the many thought-provoking issues in this book. (And it’s one that stayed with me.)
“My experience in Africa is one of the reasons I have little regard for the ‘poverty equals terrorism’ theory, according to which suicide bombers are driven to explode themselves because of the poverty and repression they experience in their societies. If squalor and tyranny inspire self-immolation, then sub-Saharan Africa would be one big fireball.”
Mr. Ross shared his stories with the world because he believes, “A storm is coming...”
I think the storm is already upon us – we’re simply unaware as to how close and strong it actually is.