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  1. Key Member
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    #1

    Freedom, part three

    Would you please correct the third part of my text?

    The delegation moves then to the local mosque, where people have to take their shoes off, included the Prime Minister who is sporting red socks that match the tie and the party badge on his lapel. He shakes hands with the young bearded imam, who shows him around. The Prime Minister does not hide his admiration for the richly decorated interior: calligraphic inscriptions of verses from the Quran, fine intarsia and carvings, stained glass windows, massive chandeliers and thick hand-woven carpets. The mosque must have cost plenty, but he does not dare to ask where the money has come from for fear of causing an international backlash. Swedish companies have to sell weapons, steel, cars, electronic equipment and other products to the Middle East, and it is advisable not to annoy the rich potentates, who can turn their backs on you and find friends somewhere else.

    The imam asks him if he believes in God, and the question puts the Prime Minister in an awkward situation. He only believes in his party’s programme and the present. He is so busy with implementing it that he has no time to think about the afterlife, but he cannot disappoint the imam when he needs his vote too.
    “I am agnostic,” he says and blushes. He is angry with himself because he is unable to control his sympathetic nervous system which betrays him whenever he is lying.
    The blue-eyed imam is calm; his fingers joined in a steeple before him. “Do you know anything about Islam?” he asks in a soft voice and looks into the Prime Minister’ eyes. He blushes more when he says, “Not much, I’m afraid.” He cannot tell him he already knows that Muslims pray five times a day, which he thinks is a waste of time. He also knows that they do not eat pork nor do they drink alcohol – two activities he indulges in almost daily. He cannot imagine breakfast without his bacon butty, and he likes to spend an evening with a glass of two of red wine and a wedge of cheese. The best is to stay silent and not say anything more otherwise he is risking of disgracing himself or offending his host.

    From the shelf, the imam picks up a leather-bound book and hands it to the Prime Minister. “Would you like to read the Quran?” The Prime Minister has already dozens of them, which gather dust somewhere in his office, but he does not dare to turn down the kind man, and he takes the book and thumbs through it, pretending to be interested in the holy text.
    The imam picks up more copies of the Quran and hands them out to the ministers, who accept them and thank him profusely. They scamper on the thick carpet, happy like children being given candy. They have already played this game many times and they have learnt how to feign interest and excitement. The party has taught them acting just as well as a drama school can. They should always wear a mask of kindness and solicitousness, avoid dramatic gestures, and have appropriate diction. They must persuade people to trust them implicitly. Only a vote for their party leads to a bright future; a vote for others means a terrible disaster.

    The visit ends at the premises of the Somali association. At the entrance, the Prime Minister meets a large family. A short, plump couple and their ten children stand in line, ready to great the leader of the country. His grey eyes glimmer with satisfaction as he shakes hands with the proud parents, who look confused and hardly understand what he is telling them. He then proceeds to shake hands with all their children, beginning with the oldest son, who is 16 and ending with a little girl, who is just three years old. As he squeezes their small hands with his podgy fingers, his pragmatic mind is calculating how much profit these children will generate for the state. He will have to write off their parents, who seem to be illiterate, but the ten future taxpayers will be a great asset for the country, which will need more taxpayers to finance welfare-state expenditures.

    “Look at this humble couple,” the Prime Minister says to the pack of journalists, “they should be a role model for all of us. Children are our future and our treasure we have to take care for. I’ll like to use this opportunity to tell you that under our government child benefit will rise by 20 percent. Moreover, we will open more day-care centres and employ hundreds of new teachers because we are the party of hard-working parents.” He is enjoying every second of this. Clicking shutters of cameras, flashes, microphones, voice recorders and excited journalists make him expand like a balloon. He, a simple worker who has never read a book in his life, has reached the top of political career. Like a magic carpet, his party has carried him to the unimaginable heights, and today he can look down and scoff at his critics who called him incompetent and uneducated.

    The Prime Minister and his entourage are invited to traditional Somali lunch. Everyone is excited to partake of foreign food and enjoy the fruits of multiculturalism. As they sit down, the leader of association wearing traditional African clothes welcomes them to taste great Somali cuisine, and apologises in advance because they were unable to find camel meat, as the original recipe recommends. Instead, they have used Swedish beef, which certainly tastes likewise excellent. The Prime Minister thanks him and says that despite his white skin, inside him he often feels like an African man – a remark which goes well with people around him who grunt approvingly and nod. He blushes again and feels relief as he sit at the table.

    The rice with meat tastes exotic; a blend of different flavours and smells which tease his palate and increase his appetite. Without journalists in sight, he gobbles down his food to the pleasure of his host, who asks him how it tastes. “Excellent,” he manages to say between mouthfuls. A brown sauce shimmers in a sauceboat beside his plate. Its smooth texture makes him salivate, and he dips his spoon into it and takes a mouthful. In a moment, an intense burning sensation spreads from his mouth into his throat and stomach. He feels his body is on fire, and he grabs a glass of water and drinks it up, but the effect is the opposite of what he expects. He hardly manages to hold himself from screaming. “Maybe the sauce is too hot?” his host asks him, his brown eyes looking at him kindly. “No, no,” he croaks and thinks that as soon as he comes home he is going do drink two bottles of wine to sooth his palate.
    About an hour later, the visit comes to an end. The Prime Minister and his colleagues get into their limousines, relieved that everything has gone well, and that nobody has made any gaffe. They are leaving the frontline of multiculturalism and returning to their beautiful homes where they will never have an opportunity to see neither refugees nor immigrants. They will return to this gloomy suburb first four years later, and they will tell the inhabitants the same stories, put up the same show, and repeat the same rituals just like a well-trained circus troupe do.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Freedom, part three

    First paragraph. Say:

    The delegation then moves to the local mosque, where people have to take their shoes off, including the prime minister....

    And:

    ..but he does not dare to ask where the money came from....

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Second paragraph. Perhaps:

    He cannot imagine breakfast without bacon -- bacon and eggs, bacon and pancakes, bacon and French toast -- always bacon!

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Say:

    It is best to stay silent and not say anything more. Otherwise he risks disgracing himself or offending his host.

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Third paragraph. Say:

    The Prime Minister already has dozens of them....

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    #6

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Fourth paragraph. Say:

    ...the ten future taxpayers will be a great asset to the country....

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Fifth paragraph. Say:

    Children are our future and a treasure we have to care for. I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you that under our government the child benefit will rise by 20 percent.

  8. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Say:

    He, a simple worker who has never read a book in his life, has risen to the top of his political career.

    Or "reached" as in the original.

    And:

    Like a magic carpet, his party has carried him to unimaginable heights, and today he can look down on and scoff at his critics who called him incompetent and uneducated.

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Sixth paragraph. Perhaps:

    The Prime Minister are invited to join the Somalis for a traditional Somali lunch.

    And:

    As they sit down, the leader of the association, wearing traditional African clothes, welcomes them to taste great Somali cuisine and apologizes that they were unable to find camel meat....

  10. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Freedom, part three

    Say:

    He blushes again and feels relief as he sits at the table.

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