Lessons in Africa



Boris returns from Tanzania to conclude that the lady who threw the cat in a wheelie bin should experience a safari camp with a pride of lions                                                                                                               

Like all leading moralists of the age, I have spent the past few days brooding incessantly on the lady who threw the cat into the wheelie‑bin.

Unlike my rivals, I have come up with the perfect punishment. In the grand tradition of the British criminal justice system, I propose we pay to send this miscreant to some holiday destination – say, Tanzania, the very place, in fact, from which I have just returned.

What was the most striking thing about her behaviour? Was it the duplicity with which she petted the poor critter before she binned it? Was it the artful way she checked to see if she was being watched? Was it the sweet innocence with which she turned her back on the green plastic cat-prison and trotted off to continue making tea at the vicarage or working with the deaf, or whatever blameless life she leads when she isn’t persecuting cats?

No, I’ll tell you what struck me most. It was her sense of power. In her swift and easy assertion of the dominance of the human species, she perfectly expressed the wickedness of the way we treat nature; and if you fly to Dar-es-Salaam, you will see what I mean.

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Nelson Mandela and the holy quest

Poor old Dawkins. Poor old Hitchens. You know who I mean: the writers who make a mint with those blockbusters proclaiming that God is dead. They yearn for a human race composed entirely of scientific rationalists, and look at what they get.

You can mock the tenets of Christianity, you can drive people out of churches, you can claim that religion is bunk. But you will never eradicate the superstition in the human heart. Even in this supposedly godless age, we have a deep need to categorise things as holy or unholy; and if you want to understand how the search for holiness still drives our simple souls, look at the magnificent photo that appeared in the paper the other day.

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Why does Atatürk Havalimani* have all the money?

* havalimani :  airport

Ataturk-check-in

Istanbul’s gleaming and expanding airport is a symbol of a nation going places …

… Heathrow is not,
argues Boris Johnson.

Heathrow-check-in

The other night we were filling in time at Istanbul airport, and I was watching an official dart around on one of those new Segway gizmos.  Have you seen one?  They are extraordinary.  It was as though his feet had grown wheels.  This way and that he sheepdogged the passengers, twisting and curvetting and generally running rings round them like some Spanish midfielder.

“What a poser !” I exclaimed.  “He’s just showing off.  He doesn’t need that thing at all.”  And then he pushed down the stick and he shot off into the distance like Usain Bolt – and we understood why he was equipped with electric feet.

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