Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

90 years ago today

Ahhhh… Those were the days… And it all led to this:

“our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators. Since the days of Halaka your city and your lands have been subject to the tyranny of strangers, your palaces have fallen into ruins, your gardens have sunk in desolation, and your forefathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage. Your sons have been carried off to wars not of your seeking, your wealth has been stripped from you by unjust men and squandered in distant places.

Since the days of Midhat, the Turks have talked of reforms, yet do not the ruins and wastes of today testify the vanity of those promises?

It is the wish not only of my King and his peoples, but it is also the wish of the great nations with whom he is in alliance, that you should prosper even as in the past, when your lands were fertile, when your ancestors gave to the world literature, science, and art, and when Baghdad city was one of the wonders of the world.

Don’t you just love over-simplified historical parallels that make the current situation in Iraq look like even more of a mismanaged disaster?

(And now we return to our regular, Iraq-free broadcasts…)

One Comment


    They shall not return to us, the resolute, the young,

    The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:

    But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,

    Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?

    They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain

    In sight of help denied from day to day:

    But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,

    Are they too strong and wise to put away?

    Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide –

    Never while the bars of sunset hold.

    But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,

    Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?

    Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour?

    When the storm is ended shall we find

    How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power

    By the favour and contrivance of their kind?

    Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,

    Even while they make a show of fear,

    Do they call upon their debtors, and take counsel with their friends,

    To confirm and re-establish each career?

    Their lives cannot repay us – their death could not undo –

    The shame that they have laid upon our race.

    But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,

    Shall we leave it unabated in its place?

    Rudyard Kipling, July 1917.

    Yes, as you said…