Monday, 18 April 2011

Conversation with a Minute Man

Parties, flowers, reunions with old friends, champagne, dancing...since the Registrar was published on April 1, life has turned into one big celebration. This morning I picked up the bouquets I'd put into storage after my launch party in London. They were so voluminous (see picture) that I had to take a cab home. As soon as the driver pulled out of Soho I began to boast about my book launch, and all the people who'd flown in from over the world, and my novel about migrants, and the beauty of it all...
The driver listened patiently, then revealed that he'd previously worked as a "minute man", a mercenary preventing Mexicans from crossing the US-Mexican border.  

His view on migrants: keep them out. If you can't keep them out, take them out.

I timidly pointed out that I was a migrant myself and did my best to contribute to my host country... And surely migration was, overall, a great contributor to economic growth and prosperity...

"Oh no," he said, waving one hand as if to sweep away my objection. "First-world migration is fine. I'm talking about third-world migration. I'm talking about letting in terrorists." Then he railed against European governments catching Somali pirates who attack European merchant ships off Somalia, and putting them on trial in Europe. I mumbled something about the rule of law being a good thing. He snorted derisively. The Russians, he thought, were dealing with the problem much more cleverly.

"So what do they do with the pirates?" I asked against my better judgement.

"I'd tell you but you wouldn't like it."

"Go on..."

"They sail up and down the Somali coast and take them out one by one. Like those big game hunts in Africa, you know?" Our eyes met in the rear view mirror. He grinned. "I told you you wouldn't like it."


  1. On behalf of my country, I apologize.

  2. The craziest thing is that he was actually Australian! An Australian mercenary. And he admitted that he had lived in the States illegally for a while... while working to keep out other migrants. The mind boggles.