I have written about how much I hate hypocrisy. I do not know enough to take sides in the squabble over Ukraine, but all parties are guilty of something and of being hypocrites.
Others have questioned in the media how the United States and the United Kingdom can criticize Russia over the Crimea. Up to now, Russia has done nothing, beyond military exercises across the border and behind-the-scenes finagling. There is a valid contract between Ukraine and Russia allowing Russian troops in the country. Until now, I believe that they have behaved well. Man, being a bad animal, has a few bad apples in every crowd.
The United States, who always touts self-determination, invaded Iraq on trumped up accusations. No one mentioned anything about protecting ethnic populations. England invaded Ireland and annexed a part into the United Kingdom (without referendum), not to protect ethnic Englishmen, but to safeguard the property of the aristocracy, who had plundered the country and owned large landholdings. These are merely two examples of fairly standard practices.
Now, these two nations are criticizing the people of Crimea for holding a referendum on self-determination and Russia for something that country has not done. And, both warn of consequences. Only the little guy will suffer, such as the people of Iraq or the soldiers that died were wounded.
Can someone explain to me the difference between the violence in Baghdad and the violence in Belfast, besides being different religions at work?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards me...in a pig’s eye. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth: kill the other guys before he kills you. Religion sanctions violence out of one side of the mouth, while preaching peace and tolerance out of the other. I call that hypocrisy.
Actual history...as opposed to the kind taught in schools, is extremely enlightening and, usually, rather surprising. Whoever write history textbooks must be stupid, lazy, deluded, or bribed.
In another of BBC’s excellent programs, I learned something interesting today: Dublin, Ireland, was founded by Vikings in 700 something as a slave-trading outpost. I’m not sure if current-day Dublin has progressed or digressed in stature/usefulness. Even if slavery was outlawed at some point during the next 1000 (!) years, many Irish folks ended up slaving away at low-paying, dirty, and unglamorous jobs around the world and even at home, under the heel of English landowners...who treated the locals as no better than slaves.
I also learned something that will not make Vladimir Putin happy: the name Russia (Rossiya) comes from Ros, which was Turkish for people from the north: what they called Viking traders that made it to Constantinople.
I learned much more, but that’s enough tidbits...
While we’re on the subject of the Irish, a people dumb enough to let themselves be abused by the Catholic Church for centuries...
I have never felt an urge to visit Ireland. There has been no cogent reason. My prejudices have always informed me that the land suffers from bad weather and mostly poor people. Tending to prefer the other end of the comfort scale, I spent my vacations in other countries, which offered less chance of rain and wide choice of luxury accommodations. For some strange reason, my sister is crazy about the place (or, perhaps, simply crazy), to the extent of even learning its dead or dying language.
Having nothing better to last night, needing a break from writing garbage, and finding no better alternative on the television I watched the film, Leap Year. Much of the tale takes place in Ireland. Production values were good, offering some scenic impression of the country, but the story was rather shallow and occasionally stretching credibility. But, I needed some light entertainment and wanted to avoid thinking deep thoughts, so shallow was just right. The film provided a good impression of the landscape, lifestyle, and characters on the loose, all of which confirmed my prejudices and my lack of desire to visit.
In earlier times, we often asked ourselves when planning a vacation, “why go to X, when we can go to France?” This question still works, when X=Ireland.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.