As you will have noticed I’m a big fan of the BBC, and regularly pick-up stories from there, as well as referring to Melvyn Bragg’s incomparable “In Our Time” series. I only recently came across Laurie Taylor’s “Thinking Allowed” series on social science subjects, and I’ve been listening to old editions. Too many good topics to list.
Today I saw this news story and listened to this edition of “Thinking Allowed” from 20th June this year. The importance of alcohol (and other stimulants) to intellectual endeavours of times past and present was interesting enough, the association of beer with agricultural settlement too, and the unlikely British accented Felipe Fernandez-Armesto bemoaning sherry being forbidden at student tutorials at Tufts in the US positively surreal.
The Bavarian Oktober-(well September to avoid beer during Ramadan)-Fest in a Palestinian West-Bank village was heartwarming enough but this quote especially interesting …
At one point, a young man who has come from Ramallah confides to me that he is a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant offshoot of the Fatah faction.
This shy young man tells me why he – a Christian – wanted to join the quasi-Islamist group, branded a terrorist organisation by Israel and its allies for a string of suicide bombings in Israeli cities.
Then he looks down at the glass of beer in his hand, and around at the smiling crowds, and says it is the first day he has been truly happy for many years.
Same day as this happens of course. Slow progress.