So there I was, enjoying a breakfast of coffee and croissants with the Compte de Rienville on the balcony of his chateau. The enjoyment came to a sudden halt, however, when I came upon an item in Le Monde. Furious, I slapped the paper down, hitting a croissant at a certain angle, and sent it spinning in the air. The croissant was snapped up on the fly by the Compte's Irish setter Cardinal Richelieu, indicating that the dog was aptly named: that is, one who would take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.
The Compte looked up, breaking away from some arcane treatise he was reading on the Bayeux Tapestry. "What on earth was that all about?" he asked.
I retrieved the newspaper, and said, "Just listen." I then began to read the article, the gist of which follows.
According to the article, an eight-year-old girl was recently kidnapped in Islamabad by some crazed followers of Allah The Merciful, who then forced a suicide vest upon her, and sent her off to attack security forces.The girl, one Sohana Javaid, then proceeded to act in a far more sane manner than her Islamist captors.
"They put a suicide vest on me," she said, "but it did not fit. Then they put on a second one. I threw away the vest and started shouting for help as I came close to the checkpost and the security forces rescued me."
"Now I ask you," I said heatedly, "what sort of religion seeks to blow up young girls? It is disgusting, appalling, not to be borne. I just wish I had the power to round them all up and distribute them to the world's zoos as examples of evolution gone amok. They could be called, oh I don't know...."
"Homo idioticus," suggested the Compte.
"But, mon petit chou, what sort of world would we then have?"
"One a damn sight better than it is now. And I am not a cabbage."
"A term of endearment, ma cherie." He put down his article. "So. The world would be a better place when...when what?"
"The world would be a better place when...." And I proceeded to tell him.
1) When religion and civic governance are well and truly separated;
2) When, in the United States, elected officials realize that regard for country supersedes regard for party;
3) When Canada abolishes the Senate (that's a no brainer) but also abolishes The Indian Act, thereby allowing First Nation Peoples to assume their own destiny as property owners and Canadian citizens without being under the thumb of Band Chiefs;
4) When Russia and China approach Canada and Australia with a view to adopting a similar Federal approach in their own countries;
5) When a Saudi woman, resplendent in a short, sequin-covered skating dress, wins the Ladies Competition at the Olympics, with a similarly-dressed win in Dance by an Iranian dance team who are not married nor brother and sister;
6)And finally, when an Afghan woman is elected President of Afghanistan, and immediately calls for a National Holiday in which the burning of all burkas will be mandatory."
"I have more," I said, "but that will do for now."
The Compte looked at me with those penetrating grey eyes of his. "I am impressed, cherie. Impressed. There is, however, a small problem."
"As Margaret Thatcher once said --"
"You couldn't stand the woman."
"Not her per se. That infernal handbag. But she did make an excellent point when addressing her Cabinet when dealing with a particularly difficult situation. If I remember correctly, she stated,' Don't tell me what. I know what. Tell me HOW!'"