Noble causes

The cat, Gatsby, brought us a gift a few days ago. He sometimes does this when he feels he has been a bit neglected.
No point in scolding a cat, or trying to discourage it from doing this. It only makes things worse. It would be like punishing a little boy who has brought you a flower he plucked from the garden.

On accepts the gift, (Blackcap) and to honour both it and the donator one could make a little water-colour sketch of it, for example, which is what I, not too brilliantly, tried to do.

While doing so it brought once more to mind how fragile life generally is, and how immune one seems to become to regular reports of human slaughter. But there's always a point when the world must intervene and say, 'that's enough'. This point was reached in Syria months ago.

The Syrian people will never be able to forgive the regime for what it has done and is still doing, systematically. The fact that more and more enlisted soldiers are deserting the Syrian army to join forces with the opposition, spells things out clearly. They have made the ultimate commitment, attaining the point of no return. Obviously for them there's no peaceful solution.
Kofi Annan seems a poor choice as mediator under such extreme circumstances. He has never shown any particular skill in mediating,
or for anything else for that matter.

In view of ample visual proof, to continue to pretend that the regime is exclusively dealing with 'terrorism', adds insult to injury, and murder.
Assad's repeated dishonesty, unfulfilled promises and shows of pseudo democracy, seem to indicate that he's mentally unstable. Yet he must have been strongly influenced by his father Hafez al-Assad, who never hesitated in ordering the Hama massacre of 1982. It's estimated that between six and ten thousand people were killed during that repression, officially to crush militants of the Muslim brotherhood. His father would have thus established a 'norm' for his son. Perhaps had he been assassinated, it would also have been a norm. There must now be thousands of Syrians eager to put an end to Bashir al-Assad.

The mind drifts further east where yet another ignoble act recently took place. The American 'officer' who authorised the burning of the Koran should be court-martialled and sentence for involuntary homicide. Although assuming his rank indicates that he is doted with a brain that sometimes functions, premeditated homicide might be an even more realistic sentence. 
If choice and grade promotion reflect the priorities of the US army, then the problem would seem to be more deeply rooted, therefore even more serious.
Whatever, the long and delicate process of trying to establish a relationship of trust in Afghanistan has been disdainfully thrown to the flames in one thoughtless, cretinous act. Any advance made by those far more aware of the primordial importance of observing sincere cultural and religious respect, has been reduced to cinders by the latest stupidity of the US army. But the list is long since the end of the Afghan-Russian war, and the US authorities seem incredibly slow in learning anything from their numerous mistakes.

Personal commitment. Which also brings to mind the present situation in France. One might perhaps resume it as a tug of war between the die-hard ideology of French Socialism, and European/world realities. The former seems to be vainly trying to salvage itself, redeem its reason of being, instead of realising that it has to evolve and adapt to the rapidly changing world and the challenge that each European nation, especially those of the euro-zone, must now contend with. There's no longer any left wing or right wing way of solving problems, there's only the best way possible that the evolving circumstances, and the internal and external social and economic constraints permit.
(I know, I've written it before, but in French, so maybe its translation is acceptable).

The results are destined to make Europe the leading commercial world power, because the obvious obligatory competition is bound to gradually determine a standard of excellence, provided the challenge and necessary commitments are accepted and met, at least by the main contenders. It's possible that the best innovators determining the most successful companies, will gradually merger and become European. In the mean-time competition between European countries will be more direct than it has ever been.

Years ago I cut down a dead plane tree. In spite of the noise of the chain-saw, the vibrations, the movement of the thick trunk, when it eventually fell I was moved to discover that a Blue-tit had preferred to remain stoically sitting in its nest bravely intent on keeping its eggs safe and warm, in the top hollow of the old, dead tree, rather than abandon it in order to save itself.
A tragic end, and a noble sacrifice for a noble cause. Let this little soliloquy be a homage to noble sacrifices for noble causes.

Text and image © Mirino. March 2012

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