John Lilburne's journal about John Le Carre.



About John Lilburne







1611 K Sat 20 Oct 2001

I have read quite a few of John Le Carre's books over the years. Not the last two or three, but nearly all the ones before that. I also have "books on tape" with him reading the stories, which I often listen to.

Earlier this year I saw him give a talk in Melbourne, partly about his most recent book, but also about his life. The problems of colonialsism was his main on going theme.

Today he has an article in The Australian, which seems to have been written on 8 October 2001. It has his copyright at the end, with his real name, David Cornwell, so I will try to keep to "reasonable use" in quoting some extracts. He refers to headlines about "Battle joined" and asks with who, and how will it end:

How about with Osama bin Laden in chains, looking more serene and Christlike than ever, arranged before a tribunal of his vanquishers ...

But he sees hope in the showmanship of bin Laden in the efforts to find him. He expresses a lot of admiration for Tony Blair:

Watching Blair, and listening to him, I can't resist the impression that he is in a bit of a dream, walking his own dangerous plank.

In saying what he is doing may not be the stuff of electoral victory in a few years I think he is complimenting him. Le Carre describes the perils and yet:

It's not a new world order, not yet, and it's not God's war. It's a horrible, necessary, humiliating police action to redress the failure of our intelligence services and our blind political stupidity in arming and exploiting Islamatic fanatics to fight the Soviet invader, then abandoning them to a devastated, leaderless country. As a result, it's our miserable duty to seek out and punish a bunch of modern-medieval religious zealots who will gain mythic stature from the death we propose to dish out to them.

And when it's over, it won't be over. ...

I think it is a good expression of the dangers of the situation and yet the necessity of it.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 20 October 2001.