Monday, November 27, 2006

A rare political post

From the Independent:
Within the first four hours of the ceasefire, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched 11 Qassam rockets at the western Negev. But Mr Olmert said that Israel would display "patience and restraint" for a few more days. "The government of Israel will not miss this opportunity for calm," he promised. "Even though there are still violations of the ceasefire by the Palestinian side, I have instructed our defence officials not to respond, to show restraint, and to give this ceasefire a chance to take full effect." But his spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, stressed that if the attacks continued, Israel would respond.
Aha, now I understand you: a "ceasefire" means that I don't fight back when you attack me.

I don't know why this burns me so, I'm neither Jewish nor Israeli (nor Palestinian for that matter). I think it's a side-effect of my foolish attempt to make sense of the world by comparing that which I see to the words which are used to describe it.

Actually, I do know what annoys me: the presumption on the part of those intentionally misusing language ("liar" is such a loaded term) that I will be deceived by their cunning plan. It's an insult to my intelligence.

In other news my mother recovers apace (as it were), she walked to the end of the block and back yesterday, ten days after her hip replacement. I still find this whole process just astonishing.

In other, other news I've found a Christmas present for myself (from a book review in the Independent):
Cartledge ... vividly reconstructs [the Spartans'] finest hour, first examining mobilisation and preparation, and then the broiling August day when 300 of their finest, under the command of Leonidas, took up their positions at the Hot Gates ("Thermopylae" in Greek) and fought to the death against a numerically vastly superior Persian army under Xerxes.

The tale has been told before, of course, but, where Cartledge really scores is in his subsequent overview of how this crucial confrontation between East and West came to occupy a central place in the West's view of itself, from antiquity right through to modern times. An epilogue and three quite brilliant appendices (which might simply have formed additional chapters in the book) examine in particular the genius of Herodotus, Father of History and chief source for this period. Cartledge shows how Herodotus's invention of a new, would-be objective and fair-minded form of reportage has been so vital to the West and to its capacity, at its best, to tolerate and understand other cultures. It also suggests why certain other cultures are so poor at developing a similar tradition of tolerance.

Twenty-seven down, three to go.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Savtadotty said...

...my foolish attempt to make sense of the world by comparing that which I see to the words which are used to describe it.

Picky, picky ;-)

November 27, 2006 at 1:24:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous antonia said...

hi udge...I feel a little responsible, was wondering -how is th violinconcert doing...am sorry that you had not such a nice experience....

November 27, 2006 at 11:12:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

Ach, Antonia, it's not that bad. I was going to write about it at the end of the week, after hearing it a few more times.

November 27, 2006 at 11:23:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger brooksba said...

Fighting/war is something I'll never understand. It just seems so illogical and a waste of intelligence.

Glad to hear your mom is recovering so well!

November 27, 2006 at 11:49:00 PM GMT+1  

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