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The Lawless Roads by Graham Greene

Discuss about the Conflict Reporting of Life Threatening Risk.

The two books that are to be discussed are the Age of Jihad and the Lawless roads, both the books are based on the reports of the conflicted areas, one in Mexico and the other in Middle east. The writers of the books have given the accounts of the incidents through their own personal experiences in those places. They travelled from their place to other place as journalists. It is very difficult to report in conflicted areas, but Patrick Cockburn and Graham Greene made it possible by their efforts. They took the risk to be present in the conflicted areas, it was indeed a life threatening risk for both of them and they have successfully gained fame from their works. Age of Jihad written by Patrick Cockburn, about ISIS in Middle East. Graham Greene’s work Lawless roads focuses on church demolition and the murder of the priests in Mexico (Epstein 2013).

In the late 1930s, Graham Greene was sent to Mexico for reporting the scenario of the place and the reaction of people living there towards the cruel anticlerical purges of President Calles. In the book “Lawless Roads” Graham Greene presents the findings of his investigation and the thrilling experience of that trip. His quest took him through the tropical states of Chiapas and Tabasco, where all the churches had been either demolished or shut down and the priests were driven out or murdered.  This incident served as the setting and background for one of his greatest works, “The Power of Glory”. The Lawless Roads” is an interesting work because of the real story it tells about what happened when Graham Greene travelled to Mexico in the year 1938, just before the Second World War has started. The Catholic Church sent him there on commission because they wanted to find out more about the state of religious persecution in the country. The book focuses on two specific issues which makes it difficult to read as well as more intriguing. The first is its references to religion, which does not make much sense unless one is a Catholic. The same can be said for Mexican words and place names unless attention is paid, they all more or less sound the same. The religious persecution was not evenly regulated; in Tabasco every church or priest of the Church remained. In other places it had been a case of opposition, of priests intentionally bearing and spending life, hiding in an unfriendly and dangerous area. The corruption of the priests was inevitable.  The priests in those places were exploiting the poor people by taking undue advantage of their fears. They charged a high amount for the services. It was difficult not just for the Mexicans but also for the foreigners. People who revolted against the corruption snatched all the assets of the priests’ and they were left stranded like creatures are left after a receding tide. They had to live in an unfriendly place surrounded by people who hated them, and there was no way to escape the crisis. Graham Greene also had to face some of the hostile behavior during his journey to Mexico (Low 2017).

The Age of Jihad by Patrick Cockburn

The book is by an award-winning author of book The Rise of Islamic State, the essential story of Middle East disintegration. The Age of Jihad shows the conflict of modern Middle East and the destructive role played by the West has played in the area from 2001 till today. Starting from the invasion of US on Afghanistan, Cockburn investigates the big geopolitical fight between the Sunni-Shia of Middle East. The clash has taken the shape of the war on terror, western military had to intervene, an insurgency was started, the civil wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, the Arab Spring, the decline of regional dictatorship, and the rise of Islamic State (Garza 2014). 
Cockburn shows the arresting in full detail, Islamic State did not come into existence in Syria in from the Arab Spring, rather it has been emerging slowly. The organization has  started many years and have occupied Iraq, before it grew to a point where it threatened the stability and harmony of the whole region. Cockburn was the first Western journalist who warned of the world about the dangers posed by Islamic State and future it might get worse. The  originality of the work and broad vision make The Age of Jihad the most detailed account of the regional conflict and crisis situation in the Middle East till date (Watts 2014). 

It is not possible for a Westerner to make people understand the the tragic war in the Middle East. Patrick Cockburn who has written this book made this possible. He was a journalist in Chechnya and Afghanistan for a quarter of a century now. He is a better guide than who can show the happenings of Middle east to the people of other part of the world.  According to Patrick Cockburn “There are eight wars now being fought in Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa”. He was present there and has reported, analyzed the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. He was one of the first reporters who have given an account on the rise of ISIS and has described the nature of its horrific occurring. This book needs to be read by everyone to understand the disaster. It should be a must reading for politicians, diplomats, defense chiefs and the academic think-tanks whose members make confident predictions, usually confounded by what follows (Epstein 2013).

Both the books are completely different what makes the both different is the place and different scenarios. The common thing between the both books is that they are based on war conditions. The lawless roads is based on the Church demolition in Mexico and Graham Grene was send to the place to investigate further and report about the war conditions in Mexico, he was sent by the Church. The next book written by Patrick Cockburn who is one of the first journalist to report about the rising terror of ISIS. The age of Jihad is a book that focuses on the conflict between the Shia and Sunni community of Islam (Watts 2014).   It is based on completely on Islamic terror and a much bigger issue that still prevails in the present time as well. While lawless roads accounts on the happenings of Mexico and that does not occurred later. The lawless roads can be said that it is basically based on Vandalism. The lawless roads show the corruption of priests who charged high amount for their services. This made the people very angry, the agitated people lynched the priests some managed to stay alive while others were dead. So, this is a situation of Anarchy for a good cause but the Age of Jihad is based on terrorism, although it has not been reported as terrorism because it was not a severe issue then (Byman 2016).

The same cannot be said for the age of Jihad because it is based on terrorism, it initially was an uprising that occurred because of the clash between the two sects of Muslim community, that small conflict today has taken the shape of threatening war condition. This is also one of the points where both the works differ, the writer has taken the pain to describe the incidents by being present in conflict areas. Their efforts and pain taken for this writing is same and hence cannot be compared. They have successfully gained the interest of readers because of they given the exact account of the incidents (Watts 2014). 

Conclusion

War is a greatest threat to the world, no matter where it takes places, it affects other countries as well. It affects the lives of the people. Uprising of threat like ISIS is one of the greatest threats to the society today. The people of Middle East are living a life of terror. It would be difficult to know these incidents if the two reporters would not have taken the pain to travel across the two places for reporting. The other book the lawless roads is based on the corruption of the priests of the Church and thus got punished for their wrongdoings. It cannot be denied that the accounts of war in the books and the details are very intriguing. It would give goose bumps to the readers who are sitting in their armchair miles away. It would have not been possible for the people to get such detailed information of the conflicts of the areas if the writers would have not taken the risk to travel and be present in conflicted areas.

References

Byman, D., 2016. Understanding the Islamic State—A review essay. International Security.

Epstein, R.A., 2013. Tushnet's Lawless World: A Response to Mark Tushnet, Book Review, Epstein's Best of All Possible Worlds: The Rule of Law, 80 U Chi L Rev 487 (2013). U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue, 80, p.1.

Garza, C.R., 2014. A Network of Holes. World Literature Today, 88(1), p.33.

Low, M.C., 2017. The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East by Patrick Cockburn. The Middle East Journal, 71(2), pp.329-331.

Watts, C., 2014. A preface to Greene. Routledge.

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