Historical fiction is a special and important genre. It can bring history to life, but more importantly it can allow us to put ourselves in the lives of those of another time, another context. There is a strong tendency in the United States toward historical amnesia. This is perhaps one of the biggest character flaws of the country. Floating in a constant now there is a complex, but highly malleable, context that disappears in the moment. This can drain the richness from our lives, set us on paths both personally and societally destructive, and perhaps most importantly, totally erode the concept of free will replacing it with faux will.
Last weekend I was on Iranian TV being asked about the meeting in Tehran at which the presidents of Iran and Russia had refused to agree with the President of Turkey to stop bombing people in Syria. I said Iran and Russia were wrong.
Through much of history the abnormal has been the norm. This is a paradox to which we should attend. Aberrations, so plentiful as to form a terrible normality of their own, descend upon us with frightful consistency.
We have blind men, one-eyed men, squint-eyed men, men with long sight, short sight, clear sight, dim sight, [and] weak sight. All that is a faithful enough image of our understanding; but we are barely acquainted with [men of] false sight. — Voltaire, The Philosophical Dictionary, Knopf, NY, 1924
Vicious fanatics are trying to kill us and destroy our country. They’re blowing up our soldiers overseas. They’ve infiltrated our country. We must defend ourselves against these mad-dog berserkers before it’s too late.
John Bolton’s career of pushing for bombing countries like Iran and North Korea, and his having played an active role in the Bush/Cheney regime’s criminal war of aggression that destroyed Iraq, makes him a clear and present danger to our country and world peace. He is about to become Donald Trump’s personal national security advisor with a staff of 400 right next to the White House. He must be stopped!
On February 12, 2018, I debated Pete Kilner on the topic of “Is War Ever Justifiable?” (Location: Radford University; Moderator Glen Martin; videographer Zachary Lyman). Here is the video: Continue reading →
Before I go any further with this let me state that I’m not a Trotskyist, or a Leninist, or a Stalinist or a Maoist (but I might have been all of the above, with exception of Maoist, at one time or another). However, I might be a Zapatista, at least in spirit, but I’m definitely a Socialist Revolutionary (or is that a Revolutionary Socialist?). I’m not sure if I’m a Marxist either, but I’m definitely an admirer of the old man, he was a great artist and thinker, and possibly, along with Charles Darwin, the greatest mind of the 19th century. Whatever you call it, we need a socialist revolution and we need one now, we are running out of time!
If you have you ever seen a monkey hanging from a tree by its tail and showing its red ass to onlookers, then you have seen the animal kingdom’s representation of war. According to French playwright Jean Giraudoux, the pacifist and Légion d’onore holder in WWI, war looks just like that monkey’s ass. In 1933, on the eve of WWII, Giraudoux in his famous anti-war play, The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, the imminent author penned his memorable words: “When he shows us his red bottom, all scaly and glazed, encircled by a filthy wig, that’s exactly what war looks like. That’s its real face.” (Included in my novel, The Trojan Spy). Giraudoux’s play was first published in English in 1956 as Tiger At the Gates.
Gar Smith / World Beyond War #NoWar2017 Conference,
September 22-24 at American University in Washington, DC.
War is humanity’s deadliest activity. From 500 BC to AD 2000 history records more than 1000 [1,022] major documented wars. In the 20th Century, an estimated 165 wars killed as many as 258 million people — more than 6 percent of all the people born during the entire 20th century. WWII claimed the lives of 17 million soldiers and 34 million civilians. In today’s wars, 75 percent of those killed are civilians — mostly women, children, the elderly, and the poor.
On Oct 2, 2017, 20 of us gave 4-minute TED talks in Charlottesville and I won, allowing me to give a TED talk at the upcoming November 3, 2017, event at Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. This was my 4-minute talk on “Why End War.” #TedXCville
A five-meter tall resplendent Quadriga sculpture tops the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Wellington Arch in London, The Bolshoy Theater in Moscow, the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome, and other important structures elsewhere. Quadriga is a Latin word (quad=square plus yoke or iugum), the name of the two-wheel chariot drawn by four horses (not three as the Russian Troika) yet harnessed abreast, one beside the other, projecting an image of unusual power. The four-horse Quadriga was used in chariot races by Greeks, Romans and Byzantines and its drivers, the charioteers, were popular heroes like Formula One race drivers today. Some were even driven by gods and the Quadriga image was used also on coins. So the Quadriga became a symbol of war, victory and also the peace following a military victory.