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17th November 2018 - Wholesale killing is hideous

Armistice Day first came into being one hundred years ago on 11 November 1918,  when the utterly senseless killing of each other by the two sides (I almost wrote teams!) engaged in the slaughter, cried “Enough!” By then over a million souls had perished in four horrific years!


Actually “souls” was the last word you would have chosen, in the movie we sat down and watched” around dinner time, for what we saw had nothing to do with souls, but everything to do with human forms tortured and degraded beyond sense, belief and humanity!

And in any case those responsible for the outrages (did any of them worry about the carnage they had caused a mere three decades before) would clearly have had no compunction in the matter, for they went right ahead and planned it, and executed it. What right would they be supposed to enjoy being members of humanity? Verily to call humans animals is a careless contradiction in terms! When in time beasts learn to record their disgust of being compared to humans in a way understood by the latter, humanity will perhaps have started on the necessary improvement!

The movie showing us the innumerable decaying forms of former fighters (in the sense that fallen combatants stop being fighters the moment they expire) did not spare a single second in showing how badly they had deteriorated; however I quickly forgave this (if “forgive is the right word!) for what War is must never be perfumed. But without a question it’s obvious that against particularly horrible circumstances wars are much better than the running away from them.

Incidentally if one of its better qualities is the way this film (They shall not grow old) uses words and voices from the actual dead, for a reason which I cannot bring myself to believe to be true, by the manner of their speech they seem to have all been drawn from what used to be known as “the working class”. But it is a fact that all the classes went to war. Perhaps most of the Officers were from what used to be called the “Upper Classes”, but it stuck in the craw to seem to say that the people who perished, and therefore were in the middle of it all, were from the one background. Otherwise this was a must film to see. And here’s another thing: I was completely amazed and somehow disappointed to be devouring a sandwich minutes after the film ended!

Only a week before we had in the same house eagerly devoured a film about Churchill, in which he was the only person standing against Herr Hitler. (Of course that was the view of pro-British supporters; you can bet your bottom Mark that in, say, Berlin, the boot was on the other foot!) Personally, think of me as you will, I much preferred dear old Winston to the violently anti-Black and anti-Jewish Adolph, even though we know his Mother was Jewish. Besides, Churchill wrote beautifully about Uganda, whereas Hitler walked out of the Berlin Olympics in 1936 rather than shake the hand of a Black American (Jesse Owens) who had won triple Golds
My personal top pair of Ladies at the highest level in our Universe are HM Queen Elizabeth ll of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama, who lead up to the new occupants of the White House, the Trumps, where the wife at least tries to do good. (Of the husband the less said, as usual, the better!)

Mrs Obama has written a just-published book of her time as America’s First Lady, which people are most thirsty to peruse, and with good reason. Those who had been alive at that hour (which your columnist certainly was) hurried to the part where the First Lady was seen hugging Her Majesty the British Queen. To some (nay, very many!) this was seen as the height of familiarity: “simply not done”! Obama has given the full tale. Her Majesty and the First Lady's feet were killing them both!

From there to Michelle putting a protective arm around the Queen of Britain was automatic and fully reciprocated, in as far as the Queen’s arm could reach around her guest. But I recall a further occasion when the Monarch attempted to hug the First Lady: much laughter followed the fully expected failure, but not the warmth of the attempt.

The last few words concern another great lady Sarah Ntiro, and her recent departure from this earth. She, like the Queen, was 92. She came from minor royalty in Bunyoro, once a great Empire in East and Central Africa. She was a revolutionary with a smile. But the fights fought were won. It was a wonderful thing to read about her in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, surely the world’s best Obituary newspaper, along with the New York Times. Even in Death we are in Life! 

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