July 23, 2003

Rants and writings …

Yes, it’s been quite a while :p I’ve switched hosts, moved servers and at the same time been so swamped by real-life events that I haven’t had much time to write here or to do much maintenance except for the bare minimum on the site. I might not have written this entry either except for the fact that I’d just gotten up in irritation after reading what caused this entry to emerge and then sat down at the computer to do something else. But be that as it may, here is my rant :p

I’ve been reading Robert Ludlum for close to twenty years now and I’ve always enjoyed his work. I started with "The Bourne Identity" and was almost immediately hooked and have since then read all of his books in print (except for the last few in his collaborative "Covert One" series …) and have almost all of them in my collection. I just started reading his latest – "The Janson Directive" and I must say that the prologue left me less than impresed .. in fact, in full rant mode :p This probably is due to the fact that Ludlum struck pretty close to home in many fronts but still, I just am not amused by the tack he’s taken. The opening is about a terrorist attack in a fictitious island in the Indian Ocean close to Sri Lanka. However, what irks me is that he’s modeled this island after Sri Lanka but has made certain changes which irk me. In Sri Lanka, there is an ongoing ethnic conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalese but what does Ludlum do but put the conflict in his story between Hindus and Muslims and of course, the Muslims are the terrorists .. is that because "everybody" knows that Muslims are terrorists or is that because that would sell more books? I don’t know …

Then of course, Ludlum decides to move Adam’s Peak which is in Sri Lanka, to his fictitious island and call it Adam’s Hill but with the same kind of history and here of course, he mentions Tamils and Buddhists as being part of the island’s population – though they never get mentioned anywhere else in the prologue. Then there is the whole matter of this bogus island’s history – it had been ruled by the Dutch (not the British mind you since the Brits might still object to how things go in the book – but the Dutch are safe enough to vilify I assume ..) up to fifty years ago and the Dutch governor at that time had been shot by an independence fighter. And I will not even go into the usage of the word "kurakkan" (which is actually a Sinhalese word used to describe a kind of grain grown in Sri Lanka) to mean root crops .. though I guess I just did.

I know, all of this might seem trivial things to anybody who is not from the area and who probably isn’t a Muslim but it all points to a certain type of mindset and a certain form of vilification by "established" authors. I am from Sri Lanka, I love my country and don’t want it to be used by some idiot somewhere to model his fantasy playground upon. If he wants to do it, then let him use the truth but then again, I guess that would be too much to bear … Ah well, yes, I know .. I get upset at trivialities perhaps .. but that’s just me :p

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Posted by Fahim at 7:42 pm  |  2 Comments