Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Every place I have traveled, I have seen each nation's war heroes immortalized in their frozen statues, their unflinching gazes--equal in their bucolic and sophisticated settings.

From parks to plazas, history books to oral legends ('I cannot tell a lie; It was I who chopped down the cherry tree')--we want to believe that the warriors of our history were more noble, wise, and good--that they were some how more justified in shedding blood than their adversaries.

Whether victor of victim, the defeating one or the defeated, each tribe elevates their soldiers to the status of infallible demagogue.

But what makes us so certain that we have the right story?

As Mr Orwell observed: Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

At times, the heroes whom we honor and esteem so highly make us destined to repeat what made them so noble. Would that we honor a hero who, instead of wielding sword and might army, allowed himself to be run through so that killing--in whatever way and under which ever cause--would finally be put to death!

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