The Orange Grove Larry Tremblay, trans. from the French by Sheila Fischman

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Living in Somalia where it is tribal country where you have hundreds of people who you can claim they are your cousin and they are your shelter when everything around is crumbling.

At one side being tribal it means you have cousins who will help you in marriage,cousins who would help when disaster or death struck you family as they are your only social security

but this model also has negative sides to it , if you were unfortunately killed by people from other nation or tribe you can be sure that your tribe would eventually take revenge for you, and those who will help you seek justice or revenge are your fellow cousins from your tribe

this social model has led my nation to go through 25 years of civil war where you don’t know where this cycle of violence has started  but you sure it would continue for long time.

this social model is also what made the America to be stuck fighting 17 years with tribesmen all way from Mali to Somalia to middle east to Afghanistan and it seems there is no end to this endless war

this is short which is almost 174 pages which explores the nature of terrorism and extremism,how young children are recruited to be killing machine and how religion can be corrupted and used to explain the horrific things humans can do to each other.

this novel starts with the twin who lives happily in their orange farm where suddenly a missile launched from the other side of the mountain struck the twin grand parents

Amed and Aziz found their grandparents in the ruins of their house. Their grandmother’s skull had been smashed in by a beam. Their grandfather was lying in his bedroom, his body shredded by the bomb that had come from the side of the mountain where every night the sun disappeared.

after that unfortunate incident the family is approached by three men who want to condole the family for their tragedy but also see if they are ready to take revenge of the people who launched that missile into their grandfather home

but before the one of the twins are chosen to be martyr or to carry out suicide attack they are visited by their older friend who is 15 and was about carrying suicide into the people from other side of the mountain.

here comes Soulayed who is recruiting this children to their demise and here is how he is convincing Halim the twin older friend to not be sympathetic with the enemy

Your softness weakens us and brings us shame. Where is your anger? I do not hear it. Listen to me, Halim: our enemies are dogs. They are like us, you think, because their faces are faces of men. That’s an illusion. Look at them with the eyes of your ancestors, and you’ll see what these faces are really made of. They are made of our death. In a single enemy face, you can see our annihilation a thousand times

eventually he

crossed the frontier. Soulayed told him how. He passed through a secret tunnel. Then he climbed onto a crowded bus. At noon, he blew himself up.”

this book tries to explain how people fall into terrorism hands and how they become radicalized and how even childhood is lost is corrupted when you are in a war

To kill time, they played at blowing themselves up in the orange grove. Aziz had stolen an old belt from his father that they weighted with three tin cans full of sand. They took turns wearing it, slipping into the skin of a future martyr. The orange trees also played war with them. The trees became enemies, endless rows of warriors poised to launch their explosive fruits at the slightest suspicious noise. The boys worked their way between them, crawling and scraping their knees

eventually even after one the twins are selected to carry out the suicide operation and the death one the twin the book leaves us with this question

He was asking himself the same questions about evil. It was too easy to accuse those who committed war crimes of being assassins or wild beasts. Especially when those who judged them lived far from the circumstances that had provoked the conflicts, whose origins were lost in the vortex of history. What would he have done in a comparable situation? Would he, like millions of other men, have been capable of fighting for an idea, a scrap of earth, a border, or even oil? Would he, too, have been conditioned to kill innocents, women and children?

it is quite amazing book to read especially if you are a Western who are baffled  and incapable of understanding why war in this region continues for so long and most of the time.

 

 

11 Comments

    1. it really is Karen an important book to read.
      it doesnot only show the stupidity of war but also how justice or revenge cannot solve the conflict but prolonging the war and making new victims only, and in order to stop that cycle of violence you only need for one side to forgive

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice review. I have had this book for some time and really must read it soon. It is interesting, as usual, to have your African response to a Western novel (Canadian in this case) taking on a subject like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for your compliment, it means a lot for me since it comes from a person who i admired a lot .
      i think the novel takes place in Israel and it deals with Israeli-Palestinian conflict but the problems of extremist and endless cycle of violence doesn’t belong to that conflict only, you see the same pattern in Iraq and in Somalia where the notion of honor is still contaminating these nation and forcing them to endless wars.
      hopefully soon i will read your magnificent review of this novel

      Liked by 1 person

    1. it really very harrowing book, but watching Europe now with all of it is problems the idea of Germans and French people at peace can teach humanity no matter what every side says people who fought each other for centuries can live and coexist with each other peacefully

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is very true. We’re still going through the process in Ireland, where there was so much violence and terrorism for years but which has now been more or less peaceful for twenty years or so. There are still problems though – it’s a long process…

        Liked by 1 person

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