The War to end all wars, still on after one hundred years…
GavriloPrincip’s name doesn’t mean much today. We can guess that neither will the names of Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in a hundred years from now. Princip killed an archduke and that was enough, through a spiral of treaties, to get into another war. This one to end all the others.
We are still fighting it. A couple of decades ago, it was Bosnia. Remember. Well, this is where Princip came from and he was fighting for a nationalist group from there. Now it is that Western invention, Iraq and Syria; Created after the war to end all wars by the Brits and the French.
Needless to say, neither cared about Shiites, Sunnites and Kurds. Or who was in charge. Let’s put the most corruptible guy in charge for us and let’s reap the benefits. Which brought us the latest in the cohort, Nouri al-Maliki, the one chosen as the least dangerous by the Americans. That he was a nobody doesn’t count much in these situations. So was a young unemployed Austrian named Adolph Hitler, who, according to pundits of the day, never stood a chance of being the leader of Germany. In a way they were right: he never got a plurality of votes before becoming dictator. Democracy works in strange ways.
Last night, as a perfect example, our American friends voted in an election that saw to it that money and big business rule. More or less the same system that got Hitler to power and saw a couple of tens of thousands of people die, including those that we will remember this week and on Remembrance Day weekend.
Now, Mr. Hitler, as a former Canadian Prime Minister called him once, was also a law and order type who saw to it that the Weimar excess be brought under control, giving more power to the police being high on the list. Useful when you legally want to herd people to ‘work camps’ as they were enemies of the nation.
Meanwhile, in the Western drawn Middle-East boundaries, Canadian F-18s, on their last legs it must be said, are contributing to the continuation of World War One. To no effect, ISIL as it MUST be called, not ISIS, the last S being for Syria while the group clearly says Levant, is winning on the ground. Trying to bring the frontiers where they were a century ago.
That people died then is sad, that some will die now is even sadder. That Canada, the country that invented the Blue Berets, whose sole Noble Peace Prize winner Lester Pearson invented the concept of the United Nations intervention as a go-between and peace broker, is involved militarily in this mess is a shame.
Inlate September, Karen and I did a cruise on the Seine River and then spent a few days exploring Paris. I couldn’t get over the many parallels between our experiences in France and our routine at the cottage. Here are some examples. France – In Paris at the d’Orsay Art Museum, I saw a huge display of sculptures chiseled and polished by master craftsmen from across Europe. Cottage – In Magog at the Canadian Tire, I saw a huge display of Mastercraft chisels and floor polishers from across China. France – In meandering streams at Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, I saw dozens of lily pads shimmering in the after- noon light. Cottage – In the drainage ditch in our back woodlot, I saw dozens of gallons of swampwater shimmering in the afternoon light when a backhoe ripped out a blocked culvert pipe down the road. France – I brought a smile to my wife’s face when I kissed her one night beneath the twinkling Eiffel Tower. Cottage – I brought a smile to wife’s face when I remembered her first name and didn’t say “Hey you” for at least a week. France – On the sundeck of our cruise-boat, I sipped a glass of Bordeaux as gentle breezes made cats’ paws on the Seine below us. Cottage – On our front deck, I cut short my afternoon beer-break when gale-force winds whipping across the lake started tearing off our roof shingles. France – With our guidebook, I navigated the Paris underground to get us to a nightclub where beautiful women (and men) sang and danced their hearts out. Cottage – With our flashlight, I navigated on my hands and knees in the crawl-space under our floor-boards to chase away ornery squirrels (and chipmunks) that were chittering their brains out. France – Over brunch at our hotel on our last day in France, I talked about how our trip had ignited a renewed sense of romance in our relationship. Cottage – Over warmed-up leftovers for lunch on our last day at the cottage, I talked about how I repaired the igniter switch on our gas barbeque.
Kicking of the Maison Aube-Lumiere’s annual Poinsettia fundraiser were (left to right): Sébastien Morin (Immex); Danny St-Pierre (honorary president); Élizabeth Brière (Maison Aube-Lumière president); Line Dargis (Sears); Mélanie Grégoire (Serres St-Élie); Marie Bécotte (director of La Maison Aube-Lumière).