This is not meant to be a line from a popular romantic song fielded in the 1950s in a film called ‘Annie get your Gun’ by Howard Keel to heroine Annie Oakley played by Doris Day. Keel of course played the famous Wild West hero Buffalo Bill. And herein hangs my tale.
During a hectic period of enforced bed rest I had plenty of time to muse about bombs thrust upon us by such as the leader of North Korea, and such as the leader of North America, or Tweety Pie as he is popularly known. Why is it that certain races can’t give up guns and bombs, even when the evidence points ever more to the alarming fact that by and large they end up killing or maiming children?
Is it, I ponder, because guns make the weak feel that they are in control? Monarchs of all they survey? Certainly in the Dark and Middle Ages force was much admired and, may I add, feared.Public executions were the norm and to watch a thief being hanged, drawn and quartered seemed to be worth sacrificing a day’s wages to ensure a prime viewing position near the scaffold: for the whole family!
Not that such savage entertainment ended with the Middle Ages, not at all! In 1789 we have the classic example of the ‘Tricoteuse’: the women who knit their family woollys while surveying the action of Madam Guillotine as aristocratic head (man woman or child) after head rolled into the basket placed to receive them! Of course those who were lucky might receive a gold pin or ring that the guards had failed to strip off the prisoner. Gruesome indeed!
But then, we’re more civilised today aren’t we?
With time on your hands, so to speak, and nothing to really do but avoid the same old programs on TV, you do brace up the grey cells and think, hard sometimes.
How more civilised does one have to be to justify gassing innocent civilians (even if one argues that the adults are not innocent but treacherous and conniving, how about the children?). I am asking a serious question here that no one ever seems to answer.
Oh well, it seems to be the sum of most
official answers that you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and some
things have to be sacrificed to the greater good! But I venture to ask whether
the greater good includes destroying hundreds if not thousands, of years of
I remember, as a child. Listening to my father’s tales of Egypt, and the pyramids: the size of the huge blocks of stone that went into their creation; and how they were moved and by whom? One anecdote sticks in my mind but it might not be fact.I say this because of late I have begun to question many things I took as fact in the past. The anecdote concerned Napoleon Bonaparte. Before leaving Egypt he had his artillery shoot the nose off the Great Sphinx-so that people would realise he, Napoleon, had been there.
It seemed a silly thing to do, but then a couple of centuries down the road we have the Taliban destroying the Buddhas of Bamiyan.This time around, of course, justification being that images are blasphemous.
Are we moving backwards in time instead of forwards? The Bamiyan incident has been followed by other irreplaceable features of human patrimony being destroyed wilfully by ISIL or Daesh. Much of what remained of Babylon no longer exists but had it, one doubts it would have survived the onslaught on Iraq.There’s no end, of course, to the justifications of the narrow-minded. Religious differences are the most frequent culprits. Hence, the situation in Myanmar shouldn’t have come as a surprise: except -----of course it surprised and disappointed liberal groups across the world which had wholeheartedly lent their support to Aung Sung Suu Kyi when she was under house arrest year after year. Her husband died without her having a chance to see him: her children, now young men, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf. Her husband’s family supported her, made every effort they could to procure permission from the junta to visit her……and then…?
Well and then the Elections and Suu Kyi’s Party won its way into power.
Suu Kyi became the power behind the throne of a gentleman guaranteed to respect her guidance.
People around the world were delighted. Now Myanmar would move forward to democracy.A gentle Buddhist nation ----and here I take an aside to point out how mistaken an assumption that can be!! How gentle were the Buddhists of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge?
The presumption that the teachings of a particular Faith guide our human actions has often proved to be wrong. The famous ‘turn the other cheek’ hasn’t really worked out in practice. Christians are almost infamous for the wars they have started (for God and my Right as it boldly says on the arms of the British, ‘Dieu et mon droit’). Whose to say whose God and whose right?
So, now the Rohingya of Myanmar are being hounded again by the junta, while the much lauded ‘lady’ Nobel Laureate says nary a word.
What a disappointment to western liberals, some of whom are calling for her Nobel prize to be retracted;although this seems silly when you think of the other ‘barely’ deserving who received the Nobel for something or other.
Now we should consider, perhaps, that behind the scenes, a fierce argument is going on between ‘the lady’ and the junta. Let’s not forget that they could behave more deplorably than they have behaved so far!
I for one believe that to be the case but all the same to leave the Rohingya to stew in unpleasant circumstances after all the hou ha and protests and children’s bewildered, frightened faces is more than we can digest perhaps.
The world has too many juntas and too many factions trying to get rid of them. It would be marvellous to wake up one spring morning to learn that ‘boom’ they’ve all been cleared from the face of the earth! That would be wishful thinking, wouldn’t it?