Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene

«God doesn’t learn from experience, does He, or how He could expect anything from a man? It’s the scientists who add the digits and make the same sum who cause the trouble. Newton discovering gravity – he learned from experience and after that…»

«I thought it was from an apple»

«It’s the same thing. It was only a matter of time before Lord Rutheford went and split the atom. He had learned from experience too, and so did the men from Hiroshima. If only we had been born clowns, nothing bad would happen to us except a few bruises and a smear of whitewash. Don’t learn from experience, Milly. It ruins our peace and our lives.»

(pag. 32)

He began to realize what the criminal class knows so well, the impossibility of explaining anything to a man with power.

(pág. 66)

There was always another side to a joke, the side of the victim.

(pág. 72)

«Did you torture him?»

«Captain Segura laughed. No, he doesn’t belong to the torturable class.»

«I didn’t know there were class-distinctions in torture.»

«Dear Mr. Wormold, surely you realize there are people who expect to be tortured and others who be outraged by the idea. One never tortures except by a kind of mutual agreement.»

«There’s torture and torture. When they broke up Dr. Hasselbacher’s laboratory they were torturing him?»

«One can never tell what amateurs do. The police had no concern in that. Dr. Hasselbacher does not belong to the torturable class.»

«Who does?»

«The poor in my own country, in any Latin American country. The poor of central Europe and the Orient. Of course, in your welfare states you have no poor, so you are untorturable. In Cuba the police can deal as harshly as they like with émigrés from Latin America and the Baltic States, but not with visitors from your country or Scandinavia. It is an instictive matter on both sides. Catholics are more torturable tan Protestants, just as they are more criminal.»

(pág. 151)

It is easy to laugh at the idea of torture in a sunny day.

(pág. 152)

The Spanish, the French, the Portuguese built cities where they settled, but the English just allowed cities to grow. The poorest street in Havana had dignity compared with ths shanty-life of Kingston

(pág. 158)

They can print statistics and count the populations in hundreds of thousands, but to each man a city consists of no more than a few streets, a few houses, a few people. Remove those few and a city exits no longer except as a pain in the memory, like the pain of an amputated leg no longer there.

(pág. 183)

A family feud had been a better reason for murder than patriotism or the preference for one economic system over another. If I love or if I hate, let me love and hate as an individual.

(pág. 186)

I don’t think even my country means all that much. There are many countries in our blood, aren’t there, but only one person.

(pág. 190)

That fool dressed up as a Colonel said something about «your country». I said «What do you mean by his country?» A flag someone invented two hundred years ago? The Bench of Bishops arguing about divorce and the House of Commons shouting Ya at each other across the floor?…

(pág. 217)

, Penguin 1988


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