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Where does it all begin?

November 27, 2012

Novelist Louis de Bernieres on history

Novelist Louis de Bernieres, perhaps best known for his book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, has a somewhat depressing view of history. Unfortunately it seems to ring rather true when applied to today’s messy murderous world.

“History has no beginnings, for everything that happens becomes the cause or pretext for what occurs afterwards, and this chain of cause and pretext stretches back to the palaeolithic age, when the first Cain of one tribe murdered the first Abel of another. All war is fratricide, and there is therefore an infinite chain of blame that winds its circuitous route back and forth across the path and under the feet of every people and every nation, so that a people who are the victims of one time become the victimisers a generation later, and newly liberated nations resort immediately to the means of their former oppressors. The triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism and religious absolutism effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race, and is shameless and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done by any other.”

– Louis de Bernieres from Birds Without Wings

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