Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Mr. Clod and Leaf on the War Path




One fine morning Mr. Clod was surprised by a leaf who introduced himself as a Jihadi. He had a South London accent that marked him as a Brit and he said, “Clod, Is it not time to clean up the land?”

Clod who has been called Ali Baba said, “ Why don’t you clean up your house first?” Leaf was sure that they should not settle for anything less than a Caliphate .”

At that point Clod brightened up and said, “Caliphate! All you need to say ‘Open Sesame’ Syria and Levant shall be under our feet.” Clod pointed out to some rag that was blackened under the scorching sun and said it should make a flag. Mr. Leaf giggled and said, “Hardly have I made a suggestion before you are brimming with ideas.” They agreed to march to Syria in order to found their Caliphate.

On the way they discussed what needed to be done. Clod was all for rooting out music from the land. Mr. Leaf wanted to crucify the minorities and Clod was sure all women they won at the point of sword was to be sold as slaves and enemies slaughtered.

Mr. Leaf asked somewhat apprehensively, “Is it permitted by the Prophet?”

Clod said brusquely,”I have not heard any Imam forbidding them, So we shall do as we please.”

They called themselves As Is Where Is. “IS for short.” they shouted.

Thus they went on. Suddenly a storm arose and Mr. Leaf all shook up and said, “Wish we did some thing against Nature before we took to war on human nature.” No sooner than he said the clouds massed up. The hard wind carried the leaf away and the rain washed away the silly clod.


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A Roman emperor* as he was being murdered by his own soldiers said: “I live” Famous deathless words. We need not know his name but we know his quote shall pass on from generations to generation. Perhaps it may be attributed so many others. It is as famous as ‘Give me death or liberty’ Both have to be experienced in order to understand their quality. Alas we know liberty for all the praises heaped on it by patriots and scoundrels alike is a tough idea to live up to. But last words are like silver spikes driven into the heart of a vampire. The curse is laid to rest and a life has closed its doors.

Here are some famous last words.

1. Jack Daniel: “One last drink, please”

Jack Daniel (1850-1911)was an American distiller and founder of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey distillery. 

Daniel died of blood poisoning in Lynchburg in 1911. Rumor has it that he contracted an infection from kicking his safe in anger when he could not get it open. However, multiple biographers have refuted this claim.

2.Karl Marx: “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”

Karl Marx (1818-1883)was a significant German political theorist, philosopher and economist. He is perhaps best known for his works “The Communist Manifesto” (1848) and Das Kapital (1867).

Marx died of complications from a catarrh that he developed in 1881. He died a stateless person.

3. Richard Harris: “It was the food.”

Richard Harris was an Irish singer, actor and film star. He is known for his roles in films like Camelot (1967) and as Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harris died from pneumonia resulting from Hodgkin’s disease, and died in 2002 at the age of 72.

4. Walt Disney : “Kurt Russell”

Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an American business magnate, artist, cartoonist, screenwriter, philanthropist and voice actor. He won numerous accolades for his work, including 22 Academy Awards, four honorary Academy Awards and seven Emmy Awards. His name was also given to numerous theme parks around the world (Disneyland!).

Disney was also a chain smoker throughout his entire adult life. He was diagnosed with a malignant lung tumor in 1966. He died on December 15, 1966 of acute circulatory collapse.

His last words were scribbled on a piece of paper – “Kurt Russell.” The significance of this remains a mystery, even to Russell himself.

5. John Adams: “ Thomas Jefferson survives.”

John Adams (1735-1826) was the second president of the United States. He issued this statement about the destiny of the United States less than a month before he died:

My best wishes, in the joys, and festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall, in time to come, be shaped by the human mind.”

Adams passed away on July 4, 1826- the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After being told it was the Fourth of July, Adams responded, “It is a great day. It is a good day.” It is reported that his last words were “Jefferson survives,” although he did not know that Jefferson died earlier that day. 

6. This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

7. Dimebag Darrell:”Van Halen!”

Dimebag Darrell (1966-2004) was an American musician and virtuoso guitarist, known for being a member of the bands Pantera and Damageplan.He was shot and killed by a gunman named Nathan Gale while on stage during a Damageplan performance.

8. Kit Carson:“I just wish I had time for one more bowl of chili.”  

Kit Carson(1809-1868) is known as a famous American frontiersman. In this video, you’ll get an in-depth look at his life and his involvement in settling America’s frontier. He may have said this instead: “Goodbye doctor, adios compadre.”

9. Louisa May Alcott: “Is it not meningitis?”

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was an American novelist, best known for penning Little Women. She was a prolific writer and wrote until her death in 1888. Initially she and other biographers thought her death was caused by mercury poisoning, because during her Civil War service she contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound that contained mercury. However, more recent studies have found that she probably suffered from an autoimmune disease, leading to her death after a stroke. She passed away at the age of 55 in Boston.

10. Simon Bolivar: “Damn it! How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!”   

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was a famous South American political and military leader. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 47 in 1830.

11. Queen Marie Antoinette :

After she accidentally stepped on the foot of her executioner as she went to the guillotine the Queen said this:“Pardon me, sir. I did not do it on purpose.”

12. J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan: “I can’t sleep”

13. Humphrey Bogart: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

14. Dominique Bouhours, famous French grammarian: “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”

15. Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud, “Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me”.

16. Aleister Crowley – famous occultist: “I am perplexed. Satan Get Out.”

17. Carl Panzram, serial killer, shortly before he was executed by hanging : “Hurry up, you Hoosier bastard, I could kill ten men while you’re fooling around!”

18. Saki: “Put out the bloody cigarette!”

Saki said this to a fellow officer while in a trench during World War One, for fear the smoke would give away their positions. He was then shot by a German sniper who had heard the remark.

Mary Surratt,: Please don’t let me fall.

Mary Surratt for her role in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln was hanged. She was the first woman executed by the United States federal government.

19. Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan, “ Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.

20. Salvador Dali:“where is my clock?”  

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter, famous for works like “The Persistence of Memory” (1931) and “Swans Reflecting Elephants” (1937).

In 1980, Dali’s health took a turn for the worse when he started to develop Parkinson-like symptoms that caused his right hand to shake uncontrollably. In addition, his wife allegedly had been dosing him with dangerous cocktails of unprescribed medication that damaged his nervous system.After his wife died he lost much of his will to live, deliberately dehydrating himself to put himself in a state of “suspended animation.” He died on January 23, 1989 of heart failure.

21.Nostradamus: “You will not find me alive at sunrise.”

Nostradamus(1503-1566) was a French apothecary and seer, whose published prophecies became famous worldwide. Born Michel de Nostradame, he worked as an apothecary despite being expelled from university in 1529.

He lived while the plague was prominent in Europe. His wife and two children were killed by the plague, and afterwards he traveled Italy with a doctor to try and treat people of the disease. By 1550 he had moved away from medicine and more towards the occult, publishing several almanacs and becoming interested in prophecy.

Nostradamus had gout, which by 1566 turned to edema. He reportedly told his secretary Jean de Chavigny the famous last words: The next morning he was found dead next to his bed and a bench.

22. General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813. “Now why did I do that?”

Hey, fellas! How about this for a headline for tomorrow’s paper? ‘French Fries’!” James French, a convicted murderer, was sentenced to the electric chair. He shouted these words to members of the press who were to witness his execution.

23. “Bugger Bognor.”

Said by: King George V whose physician had suggested that he relax at his seaside palace in Bognor Regis.

24. “It’s stopped.”

Said by: Joseph Henry Green, upon checking his own pulse.

25. LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.

Said by: Aldous Huxley (Author) to his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.


“I am still alive!
” Stabbed to death by his own guards – (as reported by Roman historian Tacitus)
~~ Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor, d.41 AD

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Don’t be fooled to believe news media as true account of history. History is something else. Democracy after fall of Moammar was big news. Arab Spring gave way to something else and the situation in Libya is neither here nor there. Similarly in Egypt  those who wanted a decent life free from want and repression threw Mubarak regime. What did it bring but worse situation than before that the army had to step in. This cannot be history?

History is what people make despite what big money or grandiose Ideas throw about. Arab Spring and Friends of Syria trying to get their control over the Middle East have only created more mess. History is what people make from their needs and dream.

During the Crusades were ‘Jihadists’ or assassins organized by Old Man of the Mountains ( a classmate of Omar Khayyam). But Mongol invasion was a flood that cleared all. Where are they? We people are still here.

History can be compared to a mighty river of perennial supply into which the Crusades, Moslem empires, Mongol invasion,Black death are so many names or stones dropped. No sign of them. What of those great movers or shakers king of kings who carved their name in blood? They are all names written in water.

Water drops circulate between land and the air and keep the river running. History is movement of people and has nothing to do with ideas.

We need not be unduly concerned nor be impatient to change order of things either by violence or by thoughts of glory. Do not be concerned of violence that grips parts of the world. It isn’t history in itself but motion of peoples exerting to find their level.

It is foolhardy to think one can either by good intentions or force make history stop for him. Violence will be met with violence and peace shall keep peace neither realizing what other was all about.

We people shall make our homes as best and those who are cast out of their homes shall yet find their home. History clears way for us.


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The Isles of Greece! The isles of Greece

Wherefore this amnesia, drunk from Lethe?

Have you forgotten the warrior race

Whose swords smote down kings and forthwith

‘Here be warriors that knew no fear’

Went thus message post-haste far an’ near?

Sparta led and the hordes of foes

Before their tight phalanxes melted:

In Athens no less brave were demos

Before whose iron resolve tyrants fled.

Spartan or rich in tastes at best

Were men who deemed their own lives least.

What service has the Turks bestowed

That you let your blood and honor

Be trod and your wives as slaves sold?

Martyrs for faith in Asia minor

Lay forgotten as of no value.

For a slave race this’s nothing new.

Spare me your woes with Euro bail-out

Or the Golden Dawn spawn’d from hell.

How slaves for long living on hand-out

Are undone is a sad chronicle:

A land of slaves shall ne’er regain

Unless Greece unlearn past as one.


Original Version

THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Where grew the arts of war and peace,—

Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!

Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,

The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,

Have found the fame your shores refuse;

Their place of birth alone is mute

To sounds which echo further west

Than your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”


Place me on Sunium’s marble steep—

Where nothing, save the waves and I,

May hear our mutual murmurs sweep:

There, swan-like, let me sing and die;

A land of slaves shall ne’er be mine—

Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

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This day the Mother of all Wars was born. Britain declared war on Germany which wanted a war, not out of any solid reasons than spite. Sheer spite. This War was an unwanted baby that would show how wars in future shall be fought. Not for glory as in the times of Alexander of Macedon but for the sheer perverseness of peoples coalescing into the hands of a few. The Military Class in Germany and the Kaiser’s wilfulness closed ranks to make a war necessary. The English nobs that called the shots wanted to cut the Hohenzollern to size.

‘On July 24 1914 the British cabinet met to discuss the diplomatic situation in Europe, which had deteriorated rapidly since the assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, a month before. An Austrian invasion of Serbia now appeared imminent, threatening to spark a regional military crisis that might easily escalate into a general war between the Great Powers.
The sense of foreboding in London was captured in a letter sent by the prime minister, Herbert Asquith, to his confidante Venetia Stanley. The situation was “about as bad as it can possibly be”, he wrote, and Europe now stood on the brink of “a real Armageddon”. Nevertheless, Asquith felt able to reassure Stanley. “Happily there seems to be no reason why we should be anything more than spectators.”
Eleven days later, on August 4, Britain declared war on Germany.
In retrospect, Asquith’s words seem strangely complacent. At the time, however, his assumption that Britain might stand aside from the looming European conflagration reflected the hopes and beliefs of a majority of his political colleagues and supporters. This, after all, was a Liberal government which had won a landslide general election victory in 1906 under the slogan of: “Peace, Retrenchment and Reform” ‘.
By the same light we can see the sanctimonious approach to International politics by statesmen especially President Wilson who expressed the wish after the war was won that it was ‘a war to end all wars’.
(quoted from Mathew Johnson article /the Conversation/Aug.4,2014)

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Nazi Germany in the autumn of 1938 was not strong enough to fight a European war let alone win it on military strength. But Hitler maneuvered France and Great Britain into giving in at a cost neither France nor England would have anticipated. On October 5, on the House of Commons Churchill struck an ominous warning, “We have sustained a total unmitigated defeat.” The House rocked by thunderous applause given to the Prime Minister Chamberlain for having brought the country from the brink of war could well dismiss him. His was a voice in the wilderness excluded from the Conservative government. Little did they know that ‘the agreement was the beginning of a war that would consume the whole world one way or other and strip the island to bare bones when it was over. It proved to be the case and all the colonies, crown jewels of Great Britain too dear to be held, one by one was let go.

The principal Allies in their own way suffered from bad blood. France under the Third Republic was a divided house with the Press adding to the internecine war of ideologies. Great Britain on the other hand was ruled by a conservative government without any real sympathies for Europe or understanding. They were for Appeasement.


Great Britain and France were bound by a treaty to come to the help of each other in case of a conflict against Germany. Behind France’s back Great Britain and Germany entered into a Naval Treaty in 1935.

France and Russia were in turn bound to come to the aid of Czechoslovakia. There was no access to France except through Poland and Roumania. Both small nations refused entry on the fear that Stalin would not go back once given permission. It had in a way limited France from rendering any help to the Czechs though a treat existed between them. Edouard Daladier, the French Premier was virulently attacked in the Press and by the elements on the Right for siding with Russia than with Germany. Such was the aversion against Russia that Germany could well exploit it. France left Russia in the lurch while signing the Munich pact. As Field-Marshal Keitel later told the Nuremburg tribunal,”The object of Munich was to get Russia out of Europe.” It was achieved at the cost of France. According to their longstanding pact Russia had proved a dependable ally during the WWI. On October 4 the Journal de Moscou echoed the nation’s feelings,”Who will believe again the word of France? Who will remain her ally? Why would the French government, which has just annulled of her own accord her pact with Czechoslovakia , respect the Franco-Soviet Pact?”

Yes the Czechs were not given a hearing while France and Great Britain sat down with Hitler and Mussolini to determine her fate.It would prove a costly blunder and morally repugnant.

In order to avert a wider conflict a short term gain could be too costly when there is a moral opprobrium attached to it. The French Premier knew what a disgrace it was and it rankled him. When he landed back in Paris he saw a tumultuous welcome along his route back to the capital he turned to an aide and said, ”The imbeciles-if they only knew what they were acclaiming!”

In Berlin the German generals could breathe a sigh of relief. They were not sure if they could have penetrated the Czech fortifications. In the west their Siegfried Line was mere skeleton,12 divisions most of them half-trained reserves. As General Jodl expressed doubts if they could have stood up to 100 well-trained divisions of the French Army. Even Hitler was astounded after inspection of the Czech fortifications to comment,”The plan prepared by the Czech was formidable. I now understand why my generals urged restraint.” ( In fact there was an assassination plan hatched by some top ranking generals on the life of Hitler but was shelved since Chamberlain capitulated to the demands of the führer that prevented a war.)

For France her slide into inescapable disaster was now irreversible. In deferring from a punitive action in 1936 when Germany reoccupied the Rhineland she let the German guns come within reach of Strasbourg. In sacrificing the Czechs at Munich in order to buy time gave Germany far greater military advantage than her short-term gains. No more she could encircle Germany or pin down the enemy from the rear. The loss of 35 divisions of the Czechs was grievous. It also gave the Skoda works to the Germans who doubled the output of armaments and planes and when the war came Germany was ready. .

In diplomatic circles France was distrusted by her remaining allies. Warsaw, Belgrade, Bucharest would work out their own alliances and worse still Russia realized how futile was to depend upon Great Britain and France. It would pave the way for Stalin to seek an alliance with Germany in her own fashion.

The Pact proved what it is to have the honor of France tied to an ally that was for Appeasement. Chamberlain was treating France as a client state and deceit of Great Britain would prove the epithet of ‘perfidious Albion’ as apt. Earlier Great Britain and the US had stood as guarantor (Treaty of Guarantee of July 1919) and forced Clemenceau to relent on his hardline on Ruhr. Great Britain’s parliament later approved the treaty on condition that the US also ratify it. In effect it was merely an eyewash for the US Senate never ratified it. (Their deceit would have fateful consequences. Germany, even if under Hitler , would never have risked invading France again if her Allies had proved steadfast and honourable.) The US senate’s rejection of the Treaty would change the German perception. Later when the WWII broke out it would prove to be infinitely more costly in American lives and materials than it would have been, had a President’s word been honoured in the first place by the Senate. Complacency of policy of Isolation had blinded the nation who had no choice but to be part of the wider arena of international politics.France felt shafted by both allies which truly was the case, as Britain and the US found restoration of the German market in post WWI would boost their own sluggish economies.
The most important lesson France needed to learn was “no great nation could , and with impunity, allow its destiny to be decided largely by another with different interests and outlook,…” In the 1960s we may see how far this lesson had impacted in de Gaulle’s foreign policy. Also policy of Israel hinge on this principle (ack. William L. Shirer-The Collapse of the The Third Republic/pub. Pan books)



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Ukraine—with its rich black soil that would help it become a major grain producer—was continually carved up by competing powers. As a result their nationalism has two sides. Janus-like one looks towards the past and the other to the east.
Let us trace its history in a few sentences. In the ninth century, Ukraine, known as Kievan Rus, was becoming the early seat of Slavic power and the newly adopted Orthodox religion. But Mongol invasions in the 13th century curtailed Kiev’s rise, with power eventually shifting north into Russia to present-day St. Petersburg and Moscow. In the 16th century major swaths of the country were under the control of Poland and Lithuania, with Cossack fighters patrolling Ukraine’s frontier with Poland.
In the 17th century, war between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth resulted in more internal divisions. Lands to the east of the Dnieper River fell under Russian imperial control much earlier than Ukrainian lands to the west of the Dnieper. The east became known as “Left Bank” Ukraine and a center of industry and coal. Lands to the west of the Dnieper, or “Right Bank,” were to be ruled by Poland. A small part in the west, called Galicia, was allotted to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the last 19th century. The Austro-Hungarian empire ended at the end of World War I, but that small part of western Ukraine remained outside the Russian empire and was incorporated into the U.S.S.R. only as a result of the Second World War.
After the communist revolution of 1917, Ukraine was one of the many countries to suffer a brutal civil war before becoming a Soviet Republic in 1920. In the early 1930s, to force peasants into joining collective farms, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin orchestrated a famine that resulted in the starvation and death of millions of Ukrainians. Afterward he imported large numbers of Russians and other Soviet citizens—many with no ability to speak Ukrainian and with few ties to the region—to help repopulate the east. The fault lines dividing thus between east and the west we might say that the crisis in Ukraine was waiting to happen.
Tailspin: Nationalism in a sense is an impossibility considering its domino effect. By the same standards ethnic minorities on their cultural identity, belief shall demand their own spheres of control. We have seen it in Balkans demand for Khalistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Inversion principle determines such breakdown no matter how you set up nations.

(ack: National Geographic Magazine)

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