Getting to Know the General Kindle Ê Know the eBook

Getting to Know the General Kindle Ê Know the  eBook I ve been reading quite a few books by Graham Greene over the past few years Getting to Know the General The Story of an Involvement was one of his later books and the 3rd book of non fiction of his that I ve read It is about General Omar Torrijos Herrera, the leader of Panama in the 70s, who was killed in a plane crash in 1981 Greene was invited to Panama to meet him, in 1976 and the two became friends over the next years As well, it is also a book about Torrijos, friend and confidante, C I ve been reading quite a few books by Graham Greene over the past few years Getting to Know the General The Story of an Involvement was one of his later books and the 3rd book of non fiction of his that I ve read It is about General Omar Torrijos Herrera, the leader of Panama in the 70s, who was killed in a plane crash in 1981 Greene was invited to Panama to meet him, in 1976 and the two became friends over the next years As well, it is also a book about Torrijos, friend and confidante, Chucho, who is the go between and constant companion of Greene on his visits to Panama Greene has a wonderful way of telling stories, whether fiction or non fiction You can feel the genuine affection he feels for the country and Torrijos and Chucho He travels considerably during his brief visits to Panama, often accompanying Torrijos to other countries or representing him to Nicaragua, Cuba, even the US I m constantly amazed at the access that he gains in this book and the places he has visited over the course of his life Most interesting book I found this story Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene quite interesting andso because I was living and working in Panama when the events were happening So, I have a little story of my encounter with General Omar Torrijos Herrera one bright sunny tropical day while going to pick up a visitor who was coming to inspect an automated inventory system I was installing in our operation of the Army and Air Force Exchange Panama but it really sets the whole tone of what happen during I found this story Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene quite interesting andso because I was living and working in Panama when the events were happening So, I have a little story of my encounter with General Omar Torrijos Herrera one bright sunny tropical day while going to pick up a visitor who was coming to inspect an automated inventory system I was installing in our operation of the Army and Air Force Exchange Panama but it really sets the whole tone of what happen during Mr Henley s visit So, here goesthe day I had my close encounter with General Omar Torrijos Herrera.First a little bit of history about the General General Omar Torrijos Herrera 1929 1981 was born in the province of Santiago He took part in the coup that deposed Presidente Arnulfo Arias in 1968 He became commander of the National Guard and soon emerges as the strongman of the new regime He exercised full control, ruling by decree an imprisoning or exiling all his opponents until his untimely death in an airplane crash in 1981 Here is my little story It really happened which at the time seemed unbelievable that it was happening to me Now, picture if you will a sunny morning in Panama with the time almost 10 O clock and you are running late in picking up an inspector from the States So, you are trying to make time by racing You are in a small blue VW heading in the direction of the Metro Theater on a narrow street one over from Balboa Avenue You are about to pass the intersecting street up from the Cafe del Boulevard When suddenly out of nowhere a monstrous green Mercedes with its engine racing cuts in front of you You react quickly by slamming on your brakes and leaning on your horn As your tires scream like a banshee on the plains of Zimbabwe, you notice that a man in uniform occupies the back seat of the Mercedes He is smoking a large Cuban cigar Your eyes meet his briefly and his large Mercedes accelerates He must be late for his appointment too The chase car has his bodyguards who at this point are just trying hard to keep up with the general s car The whole incident takes a few seconds, but your whole life, as you know it flashes before your eyes The bodyguards are brandishing submachine guns As they speed by you quickly pullover to the curb and then stop the VW.As you sit there thanking your lucky stars that you stop for some chance tickets at La Loteria building and a Raspado Crazy Italian Ice for the roadyou say softly, Thank you God After a few moments you continue to the International Hotel located on the Plaza de Cinco de Mayo The story would end therebut no there is.As you all remember close parking to the International is at a premium at almost any hour of the day As you get closer you spot a large green Mercedes in front of the entrance The bodyguards are deployed You go around the Plaza and notice that there is only one parking spot available but one of the general s bodyguards is standing in it You have already gone around twice so, you, beep your horn He looks your way swings his machine pistol in your direction but steps out of the way as you ease into the parking space You are wearing a white Pana Brisa and you are sweating bullets, no pun intended You get out of the VW, which you have nicknamed Herbie 2 from the movie of The Love Bug Some people when they are very nervous, they talk to themselves Well, I am carrying on a full conversation First with Herbie 2 as I leave him in the parking space and later with myself, as I rush to meet my party staying at the International Hotel I had tried to put him up at the Tivoli Guest House, but his stateside travel agency had made his reservations I enter from the bright sunshine to a somewhat cooler interior of the lobby and proceed to the courtesy phone I ring the visiting fireman s room from the main office He picks up on the first ring and tells me that he will be right down I walk over to the bank of elevators and notice that one is already descending The doors open suddenly right in front of me Guess who No, it is not the Headquarters Manager that I am to pick up and bus to Fort Clayton No, it is General Omar Torrijos Herrera in the flesh As he heads toward me, his bodyguards swarm around me like killer bees Again, my whole life flashes before me I do what anybody else would do in such a situation and say, Buenos Dias mi General He grunts a greeting as he passes me and heads for the doors And at that very moment the elevator doors open and the person I m to pick up steps out into the lobby He sees the general departing and says, Louie, that is the general, did you see him I answered, Yes, I know Well, he continues with, Now I ll have something to tell the people back at the home office And I think, someday I ll have to tell my little story.Well, his inspection tour of our operations goes well He stays about a week Then after some sightseeing and shopping I take him to the airport And he is gone until his next visit I never have another close encounter with the general A year later I transfer to San Francisco, California Sometime later in a stateside newspaper I read of the general s untimely death in an airplane crash Over the years when I think about that close encounter, I say to myself that everything in life is a matter of timing My being a little late at that intersection saved me from my final curtain call I thank God that he was watching out for me that day It could have been different, and I may not be here at this keyboard relating to you an incident that when I was going through it appeared like something out of the Twilight Zone and in very, very slow motion Again, time marches on.Graham Greene s book goes into some background information and events that did not come to life until the General passed in a tragic airplane accident Some of the accident is still cloak in mystery The inspectors after much analysis reach the conclusion that it was not engine failure, so it must have been the terrible weather the plane was flying in to get over a ridge of mountains or pilot error I strongly recommend that all who are interested to read the book and draw your own conclusions I think Graham Greene was 80 when this book was published Early on, maybe in the introduction, he says that the book isabout getting to know Omar Torrijos s security guard, the improbably named Chuchu, than it was about getting to know the general himself Though Chuchu and Torrijos are invariably charming, it s the narrator, in the gloaming of his life, who steals the show I am certain that was unintentional But only through the eyes of someone capable of immense charm, adventure, and, I think Graham Greene was 80 when this book was published Early on, maybe in the introduction, he says that the book isabout getting to know Omar Torrijos s security guard, the improbably named Chuchu, than it was about getting to know the general himself Though Chuchu and Torrijos are invariably charming, it s the narrator, in the gloaming of his life, who steals the show I am certain that was unintentional But only through the eyes of someone capable of immense charm, adventure, and, most of all, love, can a reader experience those things in his characters.Anyway, I ended the book sad and in love with all three of them Plenty of politics, but in a soft, background way At one point, Greene posits that socialism is just what happens when good hearted kids grow up and get power My favorite paragraph has to do with a bird that sings only when with its mate I wrote a letter to Graham Greene in my head I ll be waiting forever to send it. Greene s account of a five year personal involvement with Omar Torrijos, ruler of Panama from and Sergeant Chuchu, one of the few men in the National Guard whom the General trusted completely It is a fascinating tribute to an inspirational politician in the vital period of his country s history, and to an unusual and enduring friendship 19761976 I was a young kid when I read this book okay 25 and what I thought was Greene was such a rebel He gets an invitation to visit General Omar Torrijos of Panama in 1976 and gets to know him This gets him kicked out of the U.S and treads on dangerous grounds for his travels But Greene was just that sort of character.and that is what makes this such a good read. Fear can be easily experienced, but fun is hard to come by in old age Ez egy kudarcb l kov csolt k nyv Greene tervezett egy reg nyt tban hazafel c mmel, melybe bele rta volna a sz v hez oly k zel ll Panam t, m ism tl d utaz sai sor n olyan k zel ker lt az orsz ghoz s egyben az orsz g vezet j hez, Omar Torrijos Herrera t bornokhoz , hogy az m r lehetetlenn tette a fikci v transzform l st De ha a fikci f stbe ment is, az rt maradt m g egy t meg rni az eg szet mint dokumentumreg nyt Ami ugyan j sokat levagdos az r i fant zia sz rnytollaib l, s alap Ez egy kudarcb l kov csolt k nyv Greene tervezett egy reg nyt tban hazafel c mmel, melybe bele rta volna a sz v hez oly k zel ll Panam t, m ism tl d utaz sai sor n olyan k zel ker lt az orsz ghoz s egyben az orsz g vezet j hez, Omar Torrijos Herrera t bornokhoz , hogy az m r lehetetlenn tette a fikci v transzform l st De ha a fikci f stbe ment is, az rt maradt m g egy t meg rni az eg szet mint dokumentumreg nyt Ami ugyan j sokat levagdos az r i fant zia sz rnytollaib l, s alaposan cs kkenti a sz veg g rd l kenys g t is, ugyanakkor hiteless get k lcs n z a m inform ci tartalm nak Aminek szint gy r l nk.Greene abba a Latin Amerik ba kalauzol minket, ami ekkoriban a 70 es, 80 as vekben a hidegh bor egyik g cpontja volt, s egyben az amerikai k lpolitika egyik sz gyenfoltja is az USA ugyanis a marxista rezsimekt l val f lelm ben t mogatta D l Amerika jobboldali katonai junt it az olyan dikt torokat, mint a nicaraguai Somoza, a chilei Pinochet, vagy a paraguayi Stroessner , a nekik juttatott fegyversz ll tm nyok s p nz sszegek pedig piszkos kis h bor kban s t meggyilkoss gokban lettek felhaszn lva Meg persze a dikt torok szem lyes banksz ml in landoltak Panama a t rs gben kulcspoz ci t t lt tt be a ter let n h z d Csatorna vezet jogi hovatartoz s r l kellett marakodnia a mindenkori amerikai eln k kkel, mik zben vezet je, Herrera t bornok r gy pr b lt egyens lyozni a jobb s baloldali diktat r k k z tt, hogy saj t n p t is kiel g tse, de a gring kkal se z rd lj n ssze j v tehetetlen l Greene szemmel l that an b rja Herrer t nagyon meleg szavakkal br zolja t rekv s t, hogy emberk zpont szoci ldemokr ci t hozzon l tre, ahol a vez r gondol egyet, s helikopterrel megl togatja a jukkatermeszt ket, hogy konzult ljon vel k , s nem gy zi dics rni Latin Amerik ban val ban szokatlan vonzalm t az olyan demokratikus rt kekhez, mint a sz l sszabads g Egysz val a t bornok Greene szerint j ember szinte, rzelmes, higgadt, egy igazi bar t amit persze kezelhet nk fenntart ssal, hisz pontosan tudjuk, a dikt torok milyen szimpatikusak tudnak lenni, ha akarnak p ld l dzhatn nk Castr val, Kadhafival , mik zben saj t h zi ellenz k kkel az rt nem lacafac znak.Ugyanakkor e k nyvben nem csak a t bornokr l s Panam r l tudunk meg sokat, hanem bizony Greene r l is s nem csak arr l, hogyan igyekszik anyagot gy jteni ez ttal sikertelen l egy tipikusan greene es tr pusi t rt nethez sok kalanddal, k mked ssel, emberi gyenges ggel s politik val ami bizonyos helyzetekben az emberi gyenges g szinonim ja , hanem valamir l, amir l Greene tal n nem is tudja, hogy besz l saj t alkoholizmus r l A k nyvben refr nk nt ism tl dnek a mor zus puffog sok arr l, hogy ezen meg azon a mucsai vid ken nem lehet rendes gint kapni, azt se tudj k, mi a rumpuncs, meg m g a s r is harmatgyenge, hogy arra m g a gyan tlan olvas is felkapja a fej t h , ez tiszt ra egy v n pi s hangja Mondjuk ha pi s, ha nem, Greene rni az rt tud J , h t Panama nem egy nagy orsz g sszesen annyi lakosa van, mint Budapestnek Pr b ln meg ugyanezt mondjuk Indi ban megcsin lni Greene elmond egy des sztorit minden este elmegy Herrera nyaral ja el tt egy r szeg hal sz, s teli sz jjal szidja a t bornok urat meg a pereputty t K zben a t bornok r meg a torn con fekszik a f gg gyban, s r h g rajta Mi ez, ha nem sz l sszabads g J , h t d l amerikai v ltozatban

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