Not only does Tara want the wonderfully vague and innocent-sounding Shapes, but she also wants us to go out and actually take pictures of them rather than scrolling through our archives of pictures.
Well, sorry Tara, I'll give you shapes, but I didn't take the pictures this week. The most exotic place I've been this week is the bathroom showroom and I forgot my camera anyway, so these are a few months old, but the thoughts are recent, so I hope that counts.
Because we had a holiday in Tunisia last October, and one of the things I loved most about it (because I wasn't that enthusiastic about the resort) was Tunisia itself: how friendly the people were, how happy they all seemed, and how safe a country it felt. One day B and I put the children into childcare for the morning and went off to Carthage with a guide. Just us and her. We talked a lot about modern Tunisia, and why it works and what the political system is, and why hasn't Islamic radicalism taken over, and what is the position of women, and how does the electoral system operate and what's the major source of income and and and, and I came away thinking "Tunisia works"....
Only, apparently it doesn't. Or didn't. And apparently everyone knew that actually former President Ben Ali was horrid, that opposition was suppressed, that elections were rigged.
Well, I didn't. And I didn't until two weeks ago. And I didn't know that the same was true about Egypt either, where we'd also considered going on holiday.
And I consider myself, if not as well informed as I was when I had time to read a newspaper every day, and could actually listen to what John Humphries was saying rather than interrupting him with, "Will you just eat your rice krispies and no, you can't have any more apple juice", at least relatively politically aware, and, perhaps more importantly, politically responsible.
So why didn't I know? Why weren't we, as a nation, being encouraged to boycott a country that imprisoned journalists and other dissidents and falsified purportededly democratic polls? Why are we being told not to visit, say, Burma, because in so doing we are supporting the junta there, but not given the same advice for Tunisia, or Egypt, or probably, presumably, others?
I get it, of course I do. It's not in our interests to interfere in a country which, however unattractive the government, is stable and which, perhaps more importantly in Egypt's case, has influence in areas in which we want to have a say. The British (and US) governments needed Tunisia and Egypt, and so they turned a blind eye, and that meant that the media also turned a blind eye, and people like me, who perhaps didn't do the full research they should have, didn't know.
But nonetheless I feel really stupid. I feel like I should have known. I feel as though I've been misled, and I feel cross that I allowed myself to be. That I took what I was told at face value.
Now, I accept that had we gone to Portugal (not a dictatorship, as far as I know) instead, it wouldn't have made the blindest bit of difference either to the ruling groups in Tunisia, or to the (I now discover) oppressed majority, but I wish I had known. I wish I had been able to make my own choices and decisions in full possession of the facts.
None of this really matters now, Tunisia and Egypt will change, for better or worse, and what I did or didn't do is hardly going to influence that, but for myself it has made me suspicious, and much more sceptical about what I am told. Where Wikileaks failed, Tunisia has succeeded. And that may not necessarily be a bad thing.