A few weeks ago, I read and reviewed Ilana Mercer’s Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. A week or two after that, my grandmother passed away.
Considered in themselves, each of these events is entirely distinct from the other. But, interestingly, reflection upon the loss of my beloved grandmother has deepened my reflection upon the loss that Mercer relays in her book, the loss of her beloved homeland. Although the death of which Mercer’s compelling Cannibal is an account has occurred sometime ago, the fact of the matter is that it is a death that its author mourns, the death of a country—her country, her world.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists on the United States, and the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, vague invocations of “the Crusades” have gained a new relevance. Both sides of the conflict have sought to link the current series of wars to those of the Crusades — either by way of justifying or denouncing of their current course of action. History is one of the victims of the current conflict, as the much-maligned and ill-remembered Crusades have been recast time and again to serve various agendas.
When parents are told that their child is having a “reading problem” in primary school, they usually accept the teacher’s explanation that little Johnny or Suzie have some sort of learning disability. The fact that these little rambunctious kids came to school having taught themselves to speak their own language is proof positive that they don’t have a learning disability. In fact they are quite learning able. Children who teach themselves to speak their own language virtually from birth are little dynamos of language learning. And when they enter school, no one expects them to suddenly have a learning problem. It doesn’t make sense, unless you understand what is being done to them in that school.