Peace in Our Time

November 21, 2015 § Leave a comment


“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
Thomas Jefferson

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”
Winston Churchill

“It is civilization and pluralism and securalism that need pitiless and unapologetic fighters.”
Christopher Hitchens « Read the rest of this entry »



November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

Ye sons of France, awake to glory,
Hark, hark what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives and white-haired grandsires.
Behold their tears and hear their cries!
Shall hateful tyrants, mischiefs breeding,
With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
Affright and desolate the land,
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?

To arms, to arms, ye brave!
The avenging sword unsheath,
March on, march on!
All hearts resolv’d
On victory or death!

Now, now the dangerous storm is rolling
Which treacherous kings confederate raise!
The dogs of war, let loose are howling,
And lo! our fields and cities blaze!
And shall we basely view the ruin
While lawless force with guilty stride
Spreads desolation far and wide
With crimes and blood his hands embruing?

To arms, to arms, ye brave…

With luxury and pride surrounded
The vile insatiate despots dare,
Their thirst of power and gold unbounded,
To mete and vend the light and air!
Like beasts of burden would they load us,
Like gods would bid their slaves adore,
But man is man, and who is more?
Then shall they longer lash and goad us?

To arms, to arms, ye brave…

O Liberty, can man resign thee
Once having felt thy generous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts, or bars confine thee
Or whips thy noble spirit tame?
Too long the world has wept, bewailing
That falsehood’s dagger tyrants wield,
But freedom is our sword and shield,
And all their arts are unavailing.

To arms, to arms, ye brave!
The avenging sword unsheath,
March on, march on!
All hearts resolv’d
On victory or death!

English versification of La Marsellaise


November 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Thought I’d do a review of the books that I bought from just to help those of you planning on buying from them. Since I only ordered second-hand books I’ll stick to reviewing them and not the selection of new books that they also offer. « Read the rest of this entry »

All hail, Macbeth!

November 12, 2015 § Leave a comment


“Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

There is perhaps no more timely occasion to re-read Macbeth whilst currently reading a book on Mugabe and having recently finished a biography of Stalin and two works by Solzhenitsyn. The Scottish warlord remains the prototype for those lusting for power yet in certain regards he differs vastly from them.

More in my upcoming review of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy.

Image: “Macbeth, Banquo and the witches on the heath” by Henry Fuseli [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Fortitude of Zimbabweans

November 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

“I wish there were a better word than victims to describe what these people are. It seems so inert, so passive, and weak. And that is not what they are at all. There is dignity to their suffering. Even as they tell me how they have fled, how they have hidden, how they have been humiliated and mocked, there is little self-pity here. Survivors, I suppose defines them better. Again, and again, as I play stenographer to their suffering, I offer to conceal their names or geographical districts to prevent them being identified. But again, and again, they volunteer their names, and make sure I spell them correctly. They are proud of their roles in all of this, at the significance of their sacrifice. And they want it recorded.”

An excerpt from The Fear: The Last Days of Robert Mugabe by Peter Godwin. « Read the rest of this entry »

One Day in a Cancer Ward

November 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

Solzhenitsyn’s writing is sublime. While much has been made about the ward being an analogy for the Soviet state it is the depictions of a ward; the patients and their illnesses that makes Cancer Ward so poignant. This slice of humanity interwoven with the political backdrop of Russia in the 50’s and the Purge, brilliantly captures the pathos of a long-suffering people. « Read the rest of this entry »

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