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The Throne of Weapons

June 1, 2012

The Houla massacre again brings into focus the inhumanity of the human being. All wars are bad, and use of terror, worse.

The perpetrators of terror must have a psychological payoff, a sick mind that revels in the abject fear and helplessness of the victim. Did General Dwyer enjoy his handiwork? Did all the armies in history that have pillaged, enjoyed the loot and the massacre?

National governments add the concept of “patriotism” to remove the guilt from the soldier’s mind when he has to kill with calculated precision.

All wars are bad. The merchants of arms are the cynics who profit from the strife and suffering. Villas in the Riviera? Yachts?

Mozambique had more than 7 million assault guns introduced into the country. See below this Throne of Weapons made from parts of decomissioned guns in Mozambique. Displayed at the British Museum.

There is also this Tree of Weapons displayed there:

The British Museum has artefacts, sculptures from all over the world. The power of Empire together with the available scholarship and enterprise have resulted in the magnificent collection.

Was it right to take away, in a way steal the culture, from all over the world? The way some people have treated there own cultural past (think of the Bamiyan Budha) makes it difficult to answer the question. While I would have liked the Koh-i-noor to have stayed in India and not in the Tower of London, I am wondering whether Delhi or the Golconda has a right over it.

The British Museum has done a good job of keeping humankind’s heritage in tact. Would this Assyrian bas-relief have stayed safe in Iraq?

Tailpiece: May be I should not be making judgements about anyone. I am told the Hermitage in St Petersburg is even better.


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  1. Setty permalink

    As you rightly said ( and is it Oscar Wilde who said ) patriotism is the last refuge of the
    scoundrels ?
    In all history,before modern times,wars were justified to redeem sins,reach heaven,avoid hell and rescue religious places.That is how the Popes goaded the princes of Europe to launch the crusades in 10 to 12 th centuries and everyone joined in the holy war and for the loot that sparkled in their minds,may be sub-consciously.Today it is patriotism and parochialism even if it hurts the very people it is supposed to serve.
    Yes, I agree who cares whether it is India or Iran or UK that keeps the antiques so long as they are kept safe.In India even Tagore’s Nobel medal is not safe,not to talk of more valuable things under government control where the keepers are the thieves.

    People today are less flexible in their beliefs than our times.I remember a mad person hitting or kicking a God in our small town out of his frustration with life or whatever and nobody bothered but today,may be,he will be lynched or there will be a riot.

    We should try to see good everywhere.There is.

  2. Induchoodan permalink

    I have a theory according to which colonialism had its own role to play. I think the much debunked 19th century idea of progress may not be all that incorrect. I think that the mankind is progressing towards a supra-being which may be called “world society”. Just like the bacteria coalesced to form multi-cellular being which ultimately ended up in the creation of the human species, the evolution is taking place in the next level. Here the macro-being is not connected biologically. The connections are through language and exchange of goods. An economic system is truly a macro-being.

    Here the role of the conquerors become evident. They are the men who make the formation of the macro-being possible. That is why we consider the most detestable mass murderers like Alexander or Gengis Khan as heroes. Their contribution towards the creation of the macro-being is much more important than the millions of lives extinguished by them.

    Such macro-systems created by the conquerors are fragile by nature. They crumble within a short span of time as it is impossible to hold together the diverse group of people by violence for long . Here the role of the law givers become very important. The law givers are the religious leaders. They teach the people to internalize the rules of the macro-being so that the system would hold together by rules and not by violence. So the demise of Rome was assuaged by the coming of Christianity. This means that the conqueror and the religious leader go hand in hand in constructing the macro-being.

    Viewed in this light, the colonialists were playing their historical role. They need not feel guilty for what they have done. You can here more of this idea from me later.

  3. Sivasankar permalink

    As you rightly pointed we need to propagate the concept of love all hate none. At least the entropy levels can be reduced in the system.

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