Tuesday, August 20, 2013
the last book I ever read (Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us, excerpt seven)
from Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking:
On the afternoon of June 6, just as they had been promised, Holder and Kerkow were driven from the Hotel Aletti to the presidential palace, a pristine Moorish villa guarded by saber-wielding soldiers in long white capes. They were met by Salah Hidjeb, the secret police chief who had welcomed them to Maison Blanche Airport three days earlier. He escorted the couple down a narrow marble hallway to a wood-paneled office with exquisite antique rugs. Beneath a gold-framed painting of praying Algerian peasants sat a stern-looking man with an aquiline nose and a bushy mustache. A dark cloak was draped around his slim-fitting suit. Though so skinny that his cheekbones nearly jutted through his flesh, he exuded the air of supreme authority.
President Houari Boumédiène rose to shake Holder’s hand, though he ignored Kerkow. Without offering any further greeting, he began to converse with Hidjeb in Arabic so that the hijackers couldn’t follow a word. After a few minutes of this discussion, Boumédiène signaled for Holder and Kerkow to be taken back to their hotel. He had decided their fates based on a single glance.