What We Are Reading Today: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

Updated 23 February 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Irish nationalists, the Catholics, and the unionists, the Protestants, in a time described as The Troubles.

Say Nothing is an excellent account of the Troubles; it might also be a warning, Roddy Doyle stated in a review published in The New York Times

“The book is cleverly structured. We follow people — victim, perpetrator, back to victim — leave them, forget about them, rejoin them decades later. It can be read as a detective story,” the review added. 

Doyle said: “The book is full of the language of my youth, phrases I heard every day — ‘political status,’ ‘shoot-to-kill policy,’ ‘dirty protest,’ ‘legitimate target.’ And it is full of names, names that are more than names — Gerry Adams, Bobby Sands, the Price sisters, Burntollet Bridge, Bloody Sunday, Enniskillen, Margaret Thatcher, Ian Paisley — the names of people and places, events, that carry huge emotional clout, that can still silence a room or start a fight.”

Doyle added: “If it seems as if I’m reviewing a novel, it is because “Say Nothing” has lots of the qualities of good fiction, to the extent that I’m worried I’ll give too much away.”


Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

Updated 19 May 2019
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Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

DUBAI: No question was off limits for curious tourists and foreign residents of Dubai wanting to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Emiratis make up less than 10% of those living in Dubai, the most populated emirate in the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates federation, making it hard for foreigners to meet them.
Dubai goes to great lengths to market itself as open to different cultures and faiths as the Middle East’s financial, trade and leisure center, and a government cultural center is inviting visitors to find out more about Emirati life.
“There are no offending questions,” said Emirati Rashid Al-Tamimi from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
“How do you worship, what is the mosque, why do you wear white, why do women wear black ... is everybody rich in this country?“
Emirati volunteers gathered at a majlis — the traditional sitting room where the end-of-fast iftar meal is served at floor-level — were asked about dating and marriage, what they think of Dubai’s comparatively liberal dress codes for foreigners, and aspects of the Muslim faith.
“We learn from them, they learn from us. (Foreigners) have been here a long time and I feel they see themselves as Emiratis, and we are proud that they do so,” said Majida Al-Gharib a student volunteer.
Visitors broke the day’s fast with dates and water, before sampling Emirati cuisine, including biryani and machboos rice and meat dishes.
Seven-year-old Anthony from Poland, who goes to school in Dubai, said he came to find out more about the breaking of the fast meal because many of his friends at school do it.
2019 has been designated the Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates and there is a minister of state for tolerance.