Sonntag, 25. Mai 2008

No Martyrdom

"Things were going fine until one of the guests took a particular interest in me. With his long, ungroomed beard and armband that read "We Crave Martyrdom", he made me nervous. After staring at me a few seconds, he asked, "What brings you to Baalbek?"

Rather than drag out the classicist spiel I'd used before, I went for the big lie. "I'm Belgian. I work for an aid organisation," I said. I kept my fingers crossed that no one spoke French or, worse, Flemish. I didn't speak a word of Flemish, and my French was definitely rusty."

"I was kept in a holding cell at the airport for approximately 24 hours. It wasn't a Belgian bed-and-breakfast, but it wasn't Auschwitz either. I had several unpleasant moments with the guards at the airport and in the holding cell, but since martyrdom is not my cup of tea, I'll spare you the details," Finkelstein said.