Monday, August 07, 2006


I remember back when I was in school (way back in the 1960s and ‘70s), and learned that the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 caused the First World War. I was astonished – and perplexed and stupefied – that the peoples of the earth would allow one man’s death to escalate into a world-wide war.

It was then – and has remained to me – an astonishing sequence of events. How (I asked myself) could they allow it to get so far out of hand?

But now, as I hear the terrible stories of Israel and Lebanon, it feels like history is repeating itself. As I understand it, Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. So Israel starting bombing Lebanon. And Hezbollah is retaliating by bombing Israel. And both sides are ratcheting-up the violence as quickly as they can. Other nations seem to be “holding the coats” of the two sides, if not actively abetting them. And, meanwhile, hundreds of innocent civilians on both sides are dying.

I read about such madness in my youth, looking at the causes of the First World War. I thought that madness was like “science fiction” which could never be repeated. But now a similar saga is playing-out in front of our eyes. OK. I see. Insanity does not have expiration dates. Governments can be stupid in all ages.

Which leaves somebody like me – a little nobody out here in the Midwest – feeling indescribably powerless. And sad. And very, very small, as I wait to see whether the Governments of the World will pull back from this insanity. So far as I can tell, there is nothing we little people can do but monitor the insanity via television and radio.


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