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At some point we seem to have accepted that, as peasants, if a bank or other large company imposes on us a penalty fee, for instance for paying a bill slower than they’d like, that as long as the company does it following the company’s own rules, we should find it fair for them to charge it. The historian of the future must see us as sufferers of Stockholm syndrome – as forlorn hostages who’ve somehow come to feel they owe something to their captors.

Have we forgotten how we got here? While you and Daisy ran hand-in-hand in the garden, ecstatic in the rain, they set about to laying claim to all the best flowerbeds and fencing them off. Now they charge you for the flowers and have convinced Daisy’s mother that if you don’t send seven a week, you don’t respect her. The Shamshiel they’ve posted at the gate doesn’t even have a flaming sword, just a valium of meaningless apologies. Continue reading

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      WHEN THE DOVES DISAPPEARED Sofi Oksanen, translated by Lola M. Rogers Atlantic Books, May 2015, RRP $27.99 When the Doves Disappeared is a thoughtful glimpse into Estonian life during occupation by Nazi Germany, and the subsequent USSR rule.  It is a study in the meaning of political conviction; passion; loyalty; and love, … Continue reading