|»Vivek Kaul's Diary|
What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into...?
2 AUGUST 2016
OUZILLY, France - Rarely have we seen unanimity among our readers.
On Friday, we wrote that Muslims - and even radical Islam - probably did not pose a serious threat, neither to the governments of the West nor to Western Civilisation.
But reader opinion was almost unanimous: Muslims are up to no good.
But let us turn to the here...the now.
Let us open our eyes and ears...
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We remember the feeling of desperate panic that came over us.
We had been in the house for about two weeks - long enough to take the measure of the project. We had come down with severe bronchitis - caused by the mould and fungus that had been growing undisturbed in walls and woodwork for hundreds of years.
In bed with a fever, we questioned aloud: 'What have we gotten ourselves into...?'
But we were still young and vigorous. We soon recovered from our illness, marshalled our forces, planned our strategy...and were ready to put the house in order, with the help of our six children, and an alcoholic gardener with a mental problem.
Twenty-two years later, the world has turned... Now, your editor's joints creak and his vents wheeze...but the house is in fairly good shape!
Now, like many of the houses in the area, whose owners live and work in Paris, it is closed in the autumn, and reopened again in the spring.
On Friday, the shutters were thrown open. Cobwebs swept away. Water turned back on.
Then we took inventory. A broken pipe had damaged a ceiling and a wall. The wallpaper curled down; a piece lay on the floor. The shutters on the library need to be repainted. The front door frame has come loose from the wall.
Out in the garage, the Citroën 2CV - a little car that is so typically French - wouldn't start.
Yesterday, we spent the whole day moving furniture, suitcases, books, and boxes. There were even some cookbooks, still soaking wet from the flood in the hall. They had been left piled up. When we arrived, they sat in the living room, reproaching us like an unmade bed.
And now...day by day...the family gathers. From California. From Virginia. From Florida. Six children. One son-in-law. One fiancee. Two girlfriends. Three grandchildren.
Friends are coming too - from Germany...from Australia.
But we're ready for them. We got out the paint brushes. We found our tools. We'll put them to work...
Yes, it's time for another summer campaign!
First, we'll attack the hall ceiling.
Then, we'll charge the library shutters; a simple coat of white paint should do it.
Finally, we'll mount a raid on the wallpaper...scraping the wall underneath, sealing it with some type of stabiliser, and then regluing on the wallpaper.
It won't be perfect. But that is thing about an old house: Like an old person, it can't hide its age; it can only try to preserve its dignity, as best it can.
Meanwhile, there is a world of dots in front of us. They need to be connected, one with another. Even during vacation season.
As for the threat of Muslim terrorism, dear readers must be looking at different dots.
In their letters, they note that even though Muslims have no serious armies, they are nevertheless invading Europe. They are few in number at first, but they have more children.
When there are enough of them, the hypothesis goes, they will impose their own government, their own religion, and their own culture.
But then, we have no experience with it.
We've known a few Muslims; as far as we know, they harboured no malevolent intentions.
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