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How to Cure a Fanatic by Amos Oz.
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How to Cure a Fanatic is more booklet than book, but Oz get his message across — and does so quite nicely. The book consists of edited versions of two lectures Oz originally gave in Germany inand is padded and brought somewhat up to date by an interview conducted in September The first piece is Between Right and Rightand in it Oz argues that it is futile trying to frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one between good and bad guys. Both sides, he believes, have valid claims to the disputed land, and both sides have been victims — and both have acted unwisely.
Contra El Fanatismo
cojtra There can be no satisfactory winner-take-all scenario. The solution, as he sees it, is to treat it like a divorce — acknowledging that it will be a difficult one, “because the two divorcing parents are definitely staying in the same apartment” and have to work out who gets what rooms, etc.
The second piece, How to Cure a Fanaticis a more far-ranging one, tackling the problem of modern fanaticism. In fact, he doesn’t offer much of a cure and even begins by admitting fl maybe containing it is the best one can dobut he does suggest some ways to counter it.
Oz places his hopes in imagination and literature, and especially in humour. But that’s where fajatismo and humour serve one of their vital purposes: Even when you are percent right and the other is percent wrong, it’s useful to imagine the other. The reductive relativism may not appeal to all why bother imagining anything about Bin Lidan, or Hitler, or the like?
Of course, addressing an educated audience — either in that auditorium in Germany, or among book buyers who pick up contr handy Princeton University Press edition — fanaismo unlikely fanatksmo be reaching those who are most in danger of falling into destructive fanaticism The September interview that rounds out the collection is also of some interest — especially since it more directly addresses the situation on the ground in Israel.
Amusingly enough, just a few months after it was conducted, it already reads completely out of date. Ariel Sharon’s departure from the political scene and the success of Hamas in the Palestinian elections have yet again completely changed much of the situation.
Amos Oz Research Papers –
In faatismo interview Oz praises Abu Mazen’s new, less violent language — but in early it is the far less conciliatory Hamas party-line that dominates. Still, the interview is a useful summary of Oz’s thoughts on and involvement in the peace process.
The lectures read very well — crowd-pleasing stuff, well-presented, anecdote- and idea-filled. Oz sticks to basics, making only a few arguably controversial statements for example, his insistence that the issue of the Palestinian refugees is the most urgent one to deal with. His ‘cure’ for fanaticism does seem a bit like intellectual wishful thinking, but in discussing the issue perhaps at least brings people to think about it from different perspectives which would surely please him.
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Perhaps more thought-prodding than provoking, How to Cure a Fanatic is a worthwhile little collection, a modern writer addressing some of the significant issues of our day with a reasonable approach.
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