Monday, August 23, 2004
Never again will I tell one friend of another "you'll love him/her". No, sir! I will make no assumptions that friends with things in common will get on with each other. Not after last weekend when, thinking I was delivering the gift of potential friendship, I brought two interesting friends together as houseguests, only to see them go for each other's jugulars in a steamy dinner table argument about, of all things, the atrocities that King Leopold inflicted on the Congolese. Friend A, who has lived in Africa, attempted to tell the Friend B that some of the techniques of utter cruelty used by Leopold's minions were adoped from Congolese tribal punishments and that colonial Africa and colonies generally had been rife with brutality and genocide. Friend B took this as an expat Third World colonialist apologia for Leopold and went into a state of deepest, grim hostility - from which he refused to emerge. And thus was our jolly weekend a complete disaster.