Within about a twelvemonth [of the Roman legions being called home to defend Rome] the barbarians had swept across France: they were in the vineyards of Bordeaux: they were encamped beneath the Pyrenees. All France, said St. Orientius, "smoked like a funeral pyre." This was in 406: four years later, Alaric was in Rome, and she was taken that had taken all the world.
--Helen Waddell (1889-1965) in "Poetry in the Dark Ages," a lecture she gave on 28th October 1947.
If it's an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen.....
--Ron Paul, a obstetrician-gynecologist and Republican candidate for the presidential candidacy who is against abortion and wants a law saying human life begins at birth, in a TV interview. By the way, estrogen would not prevent pregnancy in a rape victim.
Of course, ordinary people don't want war [...] But in the end it's the leader of a country who determines its politics, and it is always easy to get the people to go along, whether in a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a Communist dictatorship.... It's quite easy. All you have to do is tell the people that they are under attack, and accuse the pacifists of lack of patriotism and of putting their nation in danger. This method works in every country.
Natürlich, das einfache Volk will keinen Krieg […] Aber schließlich sind es die Führer eines Landes, die die Politik bestimmen, und es ist immer leicht, das Volk zum Mitmachen zu bringen, ob es sich nun um eine Demokratie, eine faschistische Diktatur, um ein Parlament oder eine kommunistische Diktatur handelt. […] Das ist ganz einfach. Man braucht nichts zu tun, als dem Volk zu sagen, es würde angegriffen, und den Pazifisten ihren Mangel an Patriotismus vorzuwerfen und zu behaupten, sie brächten das Land in Gefahr. Diese Methode funktioniert in jedem Land.
Pan Am flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, killing 270 people, including 11 on the ground
A curious thing happened in the Gambia which I have often thought about since. Very soon after the Lockerbie disaster, an ex-Interpol detective came to dinner with us. He was in the Gambia investigating some kind of fisheries fraud for the EU. Over the meal we discussed Lockerbie and he said, "Oh it will all come out soon. That plane was carrying drugs to the US as part of a deal over the American hostages in Lebanon." He went on to tell us that in order for the drugs to get through unimpeded it was arranged that the cargo if the Pan Am plane would not be inspected. What happened then, he said, was that, via the Lebanese/Hezbollah/Iran connection, the extraordinary fact that the plane's cargo would travel unchecked, came to the ears of Iranians seeking revenge for the shooting down of an Iranian civilian airliner by the US not long before; somehow they arranged to put a bomb on board.
Though the detective said that this story would be all over the papers in the following months, it never was. I have told it to every journalist I know, but no paper has ever taken it up-- although there was a book published years ago called The Octopus Trail, which told more or less the same tale. Last year, not long before he died, I happened to tell Paul Foot the story and he urged me not to let it lie-- which is why I am putting it into this book.
The conquest of the land of Canaan was accompanied with so many wonderful and with so many bloody circumstances, that the victorious Jews were left in a state of irreconcilable hostility with all their neighbors.
In July came the Allied counter-offensive, and now in her moment of approaching triumph France knew to the full her great desolation, as it lay revealed by the retreating armies. For not only had there been a holocaust of homesteads, but the country was strewn with murdered trees, cut down in their hour of most perfect leafing; orchards struck to the ground, an orgy of destruction, as the mighty forces rolled back like a tide, to recoil on themselves-- incredulous, amazed, maddened by the outrage of coming disaster. For mad they must surely have been, since no man is a more faithful lover of trees than the German.
Stephen as she drove through that devastated country would find herself thinking of Martin Hallam-- Martin who had touched the old thorns on the hills with such respectful and pitiful fingers: "Have you ever thought about the enormous courage of trees? I have and it seems to me amazing. The Lord dumps them down and they've just got to stick it, no matter what happens-- that must need some courage." Martin had believed in a heaven for trees, a forest heaven for all the faithful; and looking at those pitiful, leafy corpses, Stephen would want to believe in that heaven.
When fear crawls out in the evenings from all four corners, when the winter storm raging outside tells you it is winter, and that it is difficult to live in the winter, when my soul trembles at the sight of distant fantasies, I shiver and say one word with every heartbeat, every pulse, every piece of my soul-- liberation.
--From the diary of Elsa Binder, a young woman in the Stanislawówghetto (1942). Her diary was found in a ditch where the Jews of that city were massacred.
The revolutionary spirit is mighty convenient in this, that it frees one from all scruples as regards ideas. Its hard, absolute optimism is repulsive to my mind by the menace of fanaticism and intolerance it contains.
What shall we do for timber?
The last of the woods is down.
Kilcash and house of its glory
and the bell of the house are gone;
the spot where her lady waited
that shamed all women for grace
when earls came sailing to meet her
and Mass was said in that place.
My cross and my affliction
your gates are taken away,
your avenue needs attention,
goats in the garden stray;
your courtyard's filled with water
and the great earls where are they?
The earls, the lady, the people
beaten into the clay.
Nor sound of duck or of geese there
hawk's cry or eagle's call,
nor humming of the bees there
that brought honey and wax for all,
nor the sweet gentle song of the birds there
when the sun has gone down to the West
nor a cuckoo atop of the boughs there
singing the world to rest.
There's a mist there tumbling from branches
unstirred by night and by day,
and a darkness falling from heaven,
and our fortunes have ebbed away;
there's no holly nor hazel nor ash there
but pastures of rock and stone,
the crown of the forest is withered
and the last of its game is gone.
I beseech of Mary and Jesus
that the great come home again
with long dances danced in the garden
fiddle music and mirth among men,
that Kilcash the home of our fathers
be lifted on high again
and from that to the deluge of waters
in bounty and peace remain.
-- Translation by Frank O'Connor (1903-1966) in The Wild Bird's Nest: Poems From the Irish (publ. Cuala Press, Dubln, 1932).
Not many people today realize that much of Ireland was covered with a vast oak forest until the 1700s. The name elements "derry" or "dare" mean "oak grove" in Irish--dóire; "-kill-" means "forest"-- coill.
Holly, hazel and ash were considered holy or lucky.
During the Penal Laws era, between 1695 and 1800, the British rulers of Ireland cut down most of the trees and shipped them away, both to build ships for the British navy and to prevent native outlaws from hiding in the forests. Most of the trees were cut down within two generations, leaving the bare green sheep-grazed hills that the Irish landscape is known for today.
This poem is an anonymous Irish lament of the era when the native Irish earls had fled, the old aristocracy that had supported Irish bards had been dispossessed by the Anglo-Irish, the old castles were in ruins, and the trees were falling fast. The sale of the Kilcash timbers was announced in 1797 so it is probable that the song dates to about that time. For more information about this poem:
The mostly treeless countryside around Kilcash today
Caoine Cill Cháis
Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad? Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár; níl trácht ar Chill Cháis ná ar a teaghlach is ní bainfear a cling go bráth. An áit úd a gcónaiodh an deighbhean fuair gradam is meidhir thar mhnáibh, bhíodh iarlaí ag tarraingt tar toinn ann is an t-aifreann binn á rá.
Ní chluinim fuiaim lachan ná gé ann, ná fiolar ag éamh sois cuain, ná fiú na mbeacha chun saothair thabharfadh mil agus céir don tslua. Níl ceol binn milis na n-éan ann le hamharc an lae a dhul uainn, náan chuaichín i mbarra na ngéag ann, ós í chuirfeadh an saol chun suain.
Tá ceo ag titim ar chraobha ann ná glanann le gréin ná lá, tá smúid ag titim ón spéir ann is a cuid uisce g léir ag trá. Níl coll, níl cuileann, níl caor ann, ach clocha is maolchlocháin, páirc an chomhair gan chraobh ann is d' imigh an géim chun fáin.
Anois mar bharr ar gach míghreanni, chuaigh prionsa na nGael thar sáil anonn le hainnir na míne fuair gradam sa bhFrainc is sa Spáinn. Anois tá a cuallacht á caoineadh, gheibbeadh airgead buí agus bán; 's í ná tógladh sillbh na ndaoine, ach cara na bhfíorbhochtán.
Aicim ar Mhuire is ar Iosa go dtaga sí arís chughainn slán, go mbeidh rincí fada ag gabháil timpeall, ceol veidhlín is tinte cnámh; go dtógtar an baile seo ár sinsear Cill Chais bhreá arís go hard, is go bráth nó go dtiocfaidh an díle ná feictear é arís ar lár.