Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ancestral voices prophesying war!

I have three interesting war related pieces I came across:

Harry Lamin fought in World War I and you can read the letters he sent home, exactly 90 years after his family received them. Unfortunately, the tension increases because he did not survive the war. Just like his loved ones, you never know if the next missive will be the dreaded telegram beginning "We regret to inform you..."

In a similar vein but a different century, US Army Major Andrew Olmsted's posthumous blog post. In July 2007, he arrived for a 18 month tour of duty in Iraq and started publishing a blog for the Rocky Mountain News of Denver. On January 3, he was killed by small arms fire north east of Baghdad and his friend posted the entry he had written just in case. Powerful.

From my "170 Chinese Poems Collection" translated by Arthur Waley (not that great a collection by the way):

Protest in the Sixth Year of Ch'ien Fu
by Ts'ao Sung (879 AD)

The hills and rivers of the lowland country
You have made your battleground.
How do you suppose the people who live there
Will procure firewood and hay?
Do not let me hear you talking together
About titles and promotions;
For a single general's reputation
Is made out of ten thousand corpses.

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