Be Near Me

Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan Read Free Book Online

Book: Be Near Me by Andrew O’Hagan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrew O’Hagan
dropping science about shit he knows nothing about. He does it in Modern Studies as well. Like, "I love foreigners."'
    'Stop Xeroxing me, bitch,' said Mark. 'I'll walk Cameraman down by myself, no problem. All his shit about camel jockeys.'
    'Please,' I said. 'I won't have names in here.'
    'Awright, Father,' said Mark. I saw him winking at the girls over my shoulder; I saw he knew how to use his brown eyes. 'But you've got to admit,' he said, 'terrorists are terrorists.'
    'They're not terrorists,' said one of the other boys. 'They just believe in their own religion.'
    'Exactly,' said Cameron. 'These people, many of them, their ancestors were building temples, inventing things. You know, making carpets and stuff, when people in America and in this country were still running aboot in the swamps.'
    'Aye,' said his friend. 'It's Christians that are responsible for most of the world's greatest atrocities.'
    'Get a grip, Eval,' said Mark. 'It's not Christians or Jews that go flying planes into people's offices.'
    'No, you get a grip, McNuggets,' he said. 'It's Christians that put people into gas ovens. It's Jews that bomb people out of their own houses in Palestine...'
    'Oh, get lost,' said Lisa.
    'No, you get lost,' he said. 'It's Americans that burned babies in Vietnam. It's Catholics that put bombs into bloody chip shops in Northern Ireland.'
    'Exactly,' said Cameron. Mark stood up.
    'Shut it, Cameraman,' he said. 'It's no people from this country that drive planes into people's offices. It's no people from here that take folk hostage and cut their heads off. It's no Americans that gas their own folk. Why don't you and yer wee boyfriend there just go and live together in fucken Gayland or wherever it is you get yer ideas from.'
    'That's quite enough,' I said. 'We won't have that kind of language in here. Do you understand?'
    'Whit language?' said Mark, his face crimson. 'The Scottish language?'
    'No,' I said, 'that's fine. Let's just do without the expletives.'
    'That is our language, Father,' he said, smirking and including us all in the wealth of his joke. Lisa looked at him through her clumpy mascara and smiled. It was clear that Mark was the hero of the form. Lisa did more than smile: she glowed through her cheeks; she loved him.
    'Any road,' she said, 'I hated that mosque place we went to. They're jeest into killing people for nothing.'
    'That is not very tolerant,' I said, feeling quickly unctuous. 'The people you are speaking about, those terrorists, are, I believe, a small minority, and the people at the mosque wouldn't hold those views.'
    'They're always going to those countries,' Mark said. 'Weird places in the Middle East where they learn about bombs.'
    'It may be just a violent minority,' I said.
    'It's all violence in those countries,' he said.
    I tried again. 'Civilisation takes many forms, and, as Christians, we must use our faith to help bring peace to the lives of those people who have none.'
    'Not just peace,' said Mark. 'More than that. Democracy.'
    Old political notions tugged at me, 1960s notions, but I thought there was something in what Mark was trying to say.
    'Perhaps we have a duty in that direction,' I said. 'Many people think so. But we mustn't indulge in insults by saying these people are only terrorists. There are many good people. They have beautiful traditions.'
    'But we did it in English,' said Lisa. 'They chop women's heads off for going with men. They bag them up and wipe them out.'
    'That wasn't in English,' said Mark. 'You saw it on Fox.'
    'Shush, McNuggets,' she said, blushing. 'It was me that told you about it.' Lisa had the quick temper that often elicits admiration among young people. 'You dogged that class.'
    'My da told me,' he said. 'They just want to get weapons and do in all their enemies, and you've got to say "no way" to that shit.'
    'These arguments are interesting,' I said. 'As Catholics, we often find that mercy is the key to our dilemmas. You went to the mosque in Glasgow. These

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