The Tiger Claw: Love and Espionage
March 12, 2006 Sunday 3PM CT
Noor Inayat Khan (Noor IN-ah-yat Khan) was a Sufi Muslim who spied for the British during World War II while searching for her lover through Occupied France. For this true story of love and espionage, join Jean Feraca and her guest this hour on Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders.
- Shauna Singh Baldwin, novelist and short story writer, author of "The Tiger Claw"
Comments from Listeners
Shauna and Jean,
I very much enjoyed the show today. It was a delight to hear Chapter 1
read aloud, and to listen as you talked about Noor's journey.
Under the heading of œI Always Think of What to Say After The
Moment to Say It Has Passed, I think I didn't make myself very clear
when I called. What I really appreciated about the word mischlinge
was in spite of its connotations at the time.
For me, one of the most telling messages of the book was the notion
that to be mischlinge, "mixed, a hybrid," made a person the ultimate
Why? The answer I took away from Noor's life is that when we are
"mixed," we are called to think critically in order to live within the
competing and conflicting pulls of our affiliations. When we can't
mindlessly embrace one group or country or religion as perfectly right, above all others, we are called to develop compassion and
understanding. If we choose to do that, we find a deeper way to
pursue the path of life, both practically and spiritually.
The ultimate threat Noor alludes to can then be understood as the
fraternal twins, compassion and critical thinking. When we are mixed,
with a foot in more than one camp, rite, tribe or country, we can't
embrace easy answers. (To use a current example, "You're either with
us or you're against us.") To be mixed, then, is to be the nemesis of
absolutism of all stripes.
That this was the ultimate threat is a powerful and subversive
message, one the world desperately needs, from the U.S. to the
Middle East to Africa to the Korean peninsula. And, I'm sure, most
places in between.
So the ugly intention of the word is, for me, transcended by its
perfection in pointing to the "mixed-ness" we must embrace if we are
to be fully human, and to save ourselves from the increasing demand
for œall or nothing� ideas and solutions in the world today. That's how the word spoke to me in the context of Noor's story.
Jean, as always, your shows lead me to deeper consideration of my
world. Shauna, your book is a potent story I hope others in the U.S.
will someday soon have access to.
Best to both of you,