Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > Truth is a Pathless Land > Selected Writings - Nadesan Satyendra > Reflections 2008 > Reflections 2007 > Reflections 2006 > Reflections 2005 >  Reflections 2004 >  Reflections 2001 > Reflections 2000  > Reflections 1999 > Reflections 1998

Whatever may be said, who ever may say it - to
determine the truth of it, is wisdom - Thirukural

Reflections 2005 : Chinthanaigal

Reflection by Jayalakshmi Satyendra

Sunday 1 January 2006

"...Every now and then I guess we all think realistically (Yes, sir) about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator that something that we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. (Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes)

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)
I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)
I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)
I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)
I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace. (Yes) I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. (Yes) I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. (Amen) And that's all I want to say.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.

Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, (Yes) not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world."  Martin Luther King - Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on 4 February 1968.

Saturday 31 December 2005

"...No one has yet come up with any evidence that anyone in the U.S. military or government has officially sanctioned anything close to 'torture'. The 'stress positions' that have been allowed (such as wearing a hood, exposure to heat and cold, and the rarely authorized "waterboarding," which induces a feeling of suffocation) are all psychological techniques designed to break a detainee..." Wall Street Journal, 12 November 2005

"'Waterboarding'...The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess."Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, ABC News, 19 November 2005

Saturday 24 December 2005

"Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them" - Albert Einstein

Wednesday 21 December 2005

"...Change will not come simply by moaning about what is. Neither will it come from a simple minded moralising about that which ought to be. The words of Sri Aurobindo in his epic poem Savitri,  have an abiding significance: "Truth and knowledge are an idle gleam if they do not bring power to change the world" ..Theory and practise are the two legs on which we walk. The man of action is the true philosopher - and the philosopher must of necessity be a man of action.."  Nadesan Satyendra in Spirituality & the Tamil Nation

Friday 25 November 2005

"...To remember the dead is the duty of the living, in our memory they continue to live. Our hope for freedom as a people and a nation should never be de-linked from the past. Forgetfulness of the past is a social sin. Memory is a virtue. .. The refusal to communicate or transmit an experience that embodies the collective suffering, anguish, misery, helplessness, torture and even brutal death of a people amounts to the betrayal of the very people. We have to struggle with words against the mute silence of the international community that did nothing to prevent the death of women and children. There are many nations that crow loudly about human rights but these very nations became accomplices in the genocidal scheme of the State of Sri Lanka....”  Prof. Chandrakanthan at the Maaveerar Memorial Service in Toronto, 28 November 2003

Friday 18 November 2005

''I was once asked by an Englishman connected with the British Refugee Council: 'You say Tamil Eelam, but where are the boundaries of this Tamil Eelam that you talk about? Show me.' I was taken aback by the directness of the question. I thought for a while, searching for an appropriate response. Then I replied: 'Take a map of the island. Take a paint brush and paint all the areas where Sri Lanka has bombed and launched artillery attacks during these past several years. When you have finished, the painted area that you see - that is Tamil Eelam.'''  Sathasivam Krishnakumar, speaking in Zurich, on Maha Veerar Naal, in November 1990 quoted in Boundaries of Tamil Eelam

Tuesday 15 November 2005

"...The fundamental meaning of war is that it is the expression of a difference of opinion. The object of war must therefore be defined as follows: the object of war is to change the enemy's mind. This simple and almost platitudinous statement is of supreme importance and a failure to remember it has led to the most deplorable efforts..." Sir Stephen King-Hall  in Defence of the Nuclear Age

Friday 11 November 2005 Remembrance Day

Tamil Translation by Sanmugam Sabesan, Australia

[see also Maha Veerar Naal]

இதோ Flanders Fields போர்க்களத்தில்
பொப்பி மலர்கள் பூத்துக் குலுங்குகின்றன.
சிலுவை அடையாளங்களுக்கு இடையே
வரிசை வரிசையாக பொப்பி மலர்கள்
எங்களுடைய இருப்பிடங்களை
அடையாளம் காட்டுகின்றன.
கீழே முழங்குகின்ற துப்பாக்கிச் சத்தங்களைத்
தங்கள் காதுகளில் வாங்காது வானம்பாடிகள் பாடிப் பறக்கின்றன.

நாங்கள் இப்போது இறந்தவர்கள்.
சில நாட்களுக்கு முன்பு வாழ்ந்தவர்கள்.
வாழ்ந்தோம். வீழ்ந்தோம். சூரிய உதயத்தை உணர்ந்தோம்.
சூரிய அஸ்தமனத்தின் ஒளியையும் கண்டோம்.
காதலித்தோம். காதலிக்கவும் பட்டோம்.
FLANDERS FIELDS ல் கிடக்கின்றோம்.

எங்களுடைய சண்டையை பகைவனிடம் கொண்டு செல்லுங்கள்
செயல் இழக்கப் போகின்ற எங்கள் கைகளில் உள்ள
விளக்கை உங்களிடம் தருகின்றோம்.
அதனை உங்களுடையதாக உயர்த்தி பிடியுங்கள்.
இறந்து கொண்டிருக்கும் எங்களுடைய நம்பிக்கையை
நீங்கள் உடைப்பீர்களேயானால்
நாங்கள் தூங்கப் போவதில்லை.
ஆனால் இந்த பொப்பி மலர்கள்
FLANDERS FIELDS ல் தொடர்ந்து பூத்துக் குலுங்கும்.

In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McCrae, M.D. (1872-1918),
Canadian Army

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Sunday 6 November 2005

"...There is something within me impelling me to cry out my agony. I have known humanity. I have studied something of psychology though I have not read many books on psychology. Such a man knows exactly what it is. That something in me which never deceives me tells me now: "You have to stare the world in the face, although the world may look at you with bloodshot eyes. Do not fear. Trust that little thing which resides in the heart. " It says: 'Forsake friends, wife, and all; but testify to that for which you have lived, and for which you have to die. " - from  Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India speech, 1942

Tuesday 1 November 2005

"...Movements for justice throughout the world and throughout history always begin with and are sustained by a moral statement, a value idea. ... It often begins with the notion that all human beings are equal regardless of race or colour and that the achievement of equality was in itself the pursuit of justice. But for such a notion to become sustainable one must have worked with a ...a philosophical construct, a historical interpretation and a social and cultural context. Movements are sustained when there are enough people whose imagination is captivated by a vision that lifts them beyond wherever they may be and which encourages them to have a better idea of themselves and their history into what they might or could become. In other words an expansive view of history and a range of possibilities are critical to capture the imagination. ... Values are the essential principles of life without which life would be without meaning – things would fall apart, and the centre cannot hold. They are agents of social cohesion....  revolutions succeed best and their objectives achieved and sustained most where the moral legitimacy resides not just in terms of the end-product but also in the manner of the execution of the struggle..."

Wednesday 26 October 2005

"...I have no wish to be the victim of the Fraud of a black world. My life should not be devoted to drawing up the balance sheet of Negro values. There is no white world, there is no white ethic, any more than there is a white intelligence. There are in every part of the world men who search. I am not a prisoner of history. I should not seek there for the meaning of my destiny. I should constantly remind myself that the real leap consists in introduction invention into existence. In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself..." (Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks) 1952

Thursday 20 October 2005

 "Speech is permissible so long as it does not threaten real political change or to alter the status quo...It is possible to engage in policy debates, as long as the criticism is issue-specific, directed in rational terms at the substance of a policy, rather than couched as vitriolic attacks against personal reputation." - National University of Singapore (NUS) human-rights expert, Dr Thio Li-ann on Academic Freedom in Singapore (reported in Straits Times, 20 August 2005)

Saturday 8 October 2005

"If You Desire Peace, Cultivate Justice... Cultivating justice and achieving peace in a globalizing world will need a greater sense of common purpose to shared goals at the international and national levels. It requires integrated thinking to address the integrated problems of society and the economy. It means guiding policy-making with a moral compass, ensuring that decisions are based on universally shared principles of equity and equality, without losing sight of the need for sustained economic growth. It is about linking justice and economic progress in practical ways..." - Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Saturday 24 September 2005

"....The United States has an opportunity make Sri Lanka a model and help it to evolve, by negotiating, two autonomous democratic political structures within a system acceptable to both parties, where ethnic communities can coexist peacefully on the Island. The US should be firm in its message to the government and the opposition, that if negotiations are not forthcoming immediately, they should be prepared to conduct a referendum of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. This can be done with the assistance of the United Nations similar to the referendum in East Timor. Thus, in the absence of a negotiated settlement, the Tamil people could determine whether they want a confederation or a separate state as endorsed by the Tamil people in the last democratic elections held in 1977 in the north and east of Sri Lanka...." US Congressman Brad Sherman, 1 September 2000

Thursday 22 September 2005

" வரலாறு என்பது தன்னியக்கம் உடையதன்று. வரலாற்று மாற்றத்திற்கு தனிமனிதர்களின் குறுக் கீடு அவசியமாகின்றது. இதனால்தான் பெரும் புரட்சிகளை விடுதலைப் போராட்டங்களை சமுதாய மாற்றங்களைப்பற்றி நாம் பேசிக்கொள்ளும் போது அவற்றை முன்னின்று நகர்த்திய ஆற்றல் மிக்க ஆளுமை மிக்க தனித்துவம் மிக்க தனிமனிதர்களைப்பற்றிப் பேசிக்கொள்கிறோம்.

விதியின் அடிப்படையில் வரலாற்றை காலச்சக்கரமாகக் கற்பிதம் செய்த ஒரு சமூகத்தில் பிறந்த எங்கள் தலைவர் அதை உடைத்து புதிய வரலாற்றை எழுதுகின்றார். மனிதத்தில் அபாரமான நம்பிக்கை கொண்ட தமிழீழத் தேசியத் தலைவர் வேலுப்பிள்ளை பிரபாகரன் வரலாற்றிற்கு தரும் விளக்கம் உற்று நோக்கற்பாலது.

"வரலாறு என்பது மனிதனுக்கு அப்பாற்பட்ட ஒரு தெய்வீக சக்தியன்று. அது மனிதனின் தலைவிதியை நிர்ணயித்துவிடும் சூத்திரப்பொருளுமன்று. வரலாறு என்பது மனித செயற்பாட்டுச் சக்தியின் வெளிப்பாடு. மனிதனே வரலாற்றைப் படைக்கின்றான். மனிதனே தனது தலைவிதியை நிர்ணயிக்கின்றான்."  என செயல்மூலம் காட்டியபின் கூறுகின்றார். - M.Thanapalasingham at Leader for All Seasons Book Release in Melbourne, Australia, November 2004

Sunday 18 September 2005

"...In all regions of the world conflicts turn violent over the desire for full control by state governments, on the one hand, and claims to self-determination (in a broad sense) by peoples, minorities or other communities, on the other. Where governments recognise and respect the right to self-determination, a people can effectuate it in a peaceful manner. Where governments choose to use force to crush or prevent the movement, or where they attempt to impose assimilationist policies against the wishes of a people, this polarises demands and generally results in armed conflict. The Tamils, for example, were not seeking independence and were not using violence in the 1970s. The government response to further deny the Tamil people equal expression of their distinct identity led to armed confrontation and a war of secession..." UNESCO International Conference of Experts, Barcelona 1998

Sunday 4 September 2005

"War does not determine who is right - only who is left" - Bertrand Russell, quoted in New Internationalist, August 2005

Tuesday 30 August 2005

"... to seek a permanent peace within the framework of Sri Lanka's unitary Constitution is to display the ignorance of the foolish or the deceit of a knave. The armed resistance of the Tamil people arose as a result of a continuing oppression, by a permanent Sinhala majority, within the confines of a unitary Constitutional frame. It is farcical to believe that a 'political settlement' within the same unitary frame will resolve the conflict. It will not. Dominance by the permanent Sinhala majority will continue - and so will the conflict. Indeed, the recent pronouncements of the contenders for power in Colombo serve to expose the extent of the cancerous growth of the dominant Sinhala Buddhist mythology in Sri Lanka's body politic..."  Nadesan Satyendra in No White Flag in Tamil Eelam, November 1991, 14 years ago

Tuesday 23 August 2005

"...No government's condemnation of terrorism is credible if it cannot show itself to be open to change by non violent dissent...But instead .. any kind of mass political mobilization or organization is being bought off, or broken, or simply ignored. Meanwhile, governments and the corporate media, and let's not forget the film industry, lavish their time, attention, technology, research, and admiration on war and terrorism. Violence has been deified. The message this sends is disturbing and dangerous: If you seek to air a public grievance, violence is more effective than non violence...It's time to recognize that no amount of nuclear weapons or full-spectrum dominance or daisy cutters or spurious governing councils and loyal jirgas can buy peace at the cost of justice. The urge for hegemony and preponderance by some will be matched with greater intensity by the longing for dignity and justice by others... " Arundhati Roy  in Tide or Ivory Snow? Public Power in the Age of Empire,  August 2004

Thursday 18 August 2005

"Small states survive only in the interstices created by the major powers. International relations is not a love affair; nor is it a seminar where wit and logic must prevail. Even the most brilliant insight of a small country can be safely ignored if inconvenient. But even the silliest idea of a large country must be taken seriously because of the damage a large country can do."  Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore Second Permanent Secretary to Foreign Ministry

Saturday 13 August 2005

"Deniable Operations ..According to the purest tenets of international law it is an act of war for one country unilaterally to order its armed troops across the borders of another. Given the large number of clear instances in which one nation has felt the need to meddle in the affairs of another, short of an actual declaration of hostilities, governments have become adept at fighting wars by proxy. In time of notional peace, United States deniable operations are planned and executed solely by the CIA. They must be approved by the President, they usually enlist the aid of foreign resources (such as tribesmen in Vietnam and Laos) and are invariably led by civilians trained to operate covertly with military special purpose forces...Deniable activities are always dangerous, even when they go undetected. When compromised they will occasionally provoke the target into acts of violent retaliation..." -*Mark Lloyd: Special Forces -The Changing Face of Warfare - Arms and Armour Press, London, 1995

Saturday 6 August 2005

"...I was part of a great undertaking. For the Hiroshima mission I was on board The Great Artiste, a second B-29 that had tailed the Enola Gay to the bombing zone. We'd flown alongside them all the way up there and were about four or five miles off to one side of Hiroshima, dropping gauges with parachutes that would measure the yield of the bomb.....My honest feeling at the time was that they deserved it, and as far as I am concerned that is still how I feel today. People never look back to what led up to it - Pearl Harbour, Nanking - and there are no innocent civilians in war, everyone is doing something, contributing to the war effort, building bombs. What we did saved a lot of lives (comment by  tamilnation.org: whose lives?) in the long run and I am proud to have been part of it. After the war I returned to the University of Chicago to continue my studies and later rejoined Los Alamos, where I eventually became director of the laboratory. About three-quarters of the US nuclear arsenal was designed under my tutelage at Los Alamos. That is my legacy..." Dr Harold Agnew - Scientist, on Observation Plane, Hiroshima - Sixty Years Later, 6 August 2005 ( see also Hiroshima & Nagasaki - the Worst Terror Attack in History )

" If I were asked to name the most important date in the history and prehistory of the human race, I would answer without hesitation 6 August 1945. The reason is simple. From the dawn of consciousness until 6 August 1945, man had to live with the prospect of his death as an individual; since the day when the first atomic bomb outshone the sun over Hiroshima, mankind as a whole has had to live with the prospect of its extinction as a species...as the devices of nuclear warfare become more potent and easier to make, their spreading to young and immature as well as old and arrogant nations becomes inevitable, and global control of their manufacture impracticable. ..One might compare the situation to a gathering of delinquent youths locked in a room full of inflammable material who are given a box of matches - with the pious warning not to use it.."Arthur Koestler in Janus: A Summing Up

Saturday 16 July 2005

" ...In my view, politics is concerned only formally with power and government and fundamentally with the moral development of human beings. Politics is about people, and how they endeavour to face the challenge of their times. M.N. Roy... put, his beliefs this way: "When a man really wants freedom and to live in a democratic society he may not be able to free the whole world . . . but he can to a large extent at least free himself by behaving as a rational and moral being, and if he can do this, others around him can do the same, and these again will spread freedom by their example." I don't think I can put it any better. If that is the goal, then Gandhi is more relevant than ever, both in India and in the West...." M.N.Roy, quoted by Hugh Tinker in Non Violence as a Political Strategy: Gandhi & Western Thinkers

Saturday 9 July 2005

"Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's "Theory of Relativity" to serve. You don't have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." Martin Luther King

"கவிதை எழுதுபவன் கவியன்று. கவிதையே வாழ்க்கையாக உடையோன், வாழ்க்கையே கவிதையாகச் செய்தோன், அவனே கவி" - பாரதி

Monday  4 July 2005 - US Independence Day

"The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori, - in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep the foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people. The consequences of struggles for territory between civilized nations seem small by comparison. Looked at from the standpoint of the ages, it is of little moment whether Lorraine is part of Germany or of France, whether the northern Adriatic cities pay homage to Austrian Kaiser or Italian King; But it is of incalculable importance that America, Australia, and Siberia should pass out of the hands of their red, black, and yellow aboriginal owners, and become the heritage of the dominant world races."  President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt  in The Winning of the West: From the Alleghenies to the Mississippi 1769-1776 : With Map

Saturday 25 June 2005

"...many peace agreements are fragile and the 'peace' that they create is usually the extension of war by more civilised means... A peace agreement is often an imperfect compromise based on the state of play when the parties have reached a 'hurting stalemate' or when the international community can no longer stomach a continuation of the crisis. A peace process, on the other hand, is not so much what happens before an agreement is reached, rather what happens after it... the post conflict phase crucially defines the relationship between former antagonists..." - Walter Kemp, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, reviewing 'After the Peace: resistance and reconciliation' by Robert L.Rothstein, 1999

Sunday 12 June 2005

"...Wisdom is the child of integrity - being integrated around principles. And integrity is the child of humility and courage. In fact you could say that humility is the mother of all the virtues because humility acknowledges that there are natural laws or principles that govern the universe. They are in charge. We are not. Pride teaches us that we are in charge. Humility teaches us to understand and live by principles, because they ultimately govern the consequences of our actions. If humility is the mother, courage is the father of wisdom. Because to truly live by these principles when they are contrary to social mores, norms and values takes enormous courage..." -Stephen Covey in The 8th Habit : From Effectiveness to Greatness 

Wednesday 1 June 2005

"இறைவன் மனிதனுக்குச் சொன்னது கீதை,
மனிதன் இறைவனுக்குச் சொன்னது திருவாசகம்,
மனிதன் மனிதனுக்குச் சொன்னது திருக்குறள்"

Sunday 22 May 2005

" (Gaelic) is for us what no other language can be. It is our very own. It is more than a symbol, it is an essential part of our nationhood. It has been moulded by the thought of a hundred generations of our forebearers. In it is stored the accumulated experience of a people - our people who, even before Christianity was brought to them, were already cultured and living in a well ordered society. The Irish language spoken in Ireland today is the direct descendant without break of the language our ancestors spoke in those far off days. A vessel for three thousand years of our history, the language is for us precious beyond measure. As the bearer to us of a philosophy, ..rich in practical wisdom, the language today is worth far too much to dream of letting it go.
To part with it would be to abandon a great part of ourselves, to loose the key to our past, to cut away the roots from the tree. With the language gone we could never again aspire to being more than half a nation..." On Language & the Irish Nation - Eamon de Valera, 1943

Tuesday 17 May 2005

"Most men merely act on instinct and the amount of success they achieve depends on the amount of talent they are born with…. Yet, when it is not a question of acting oneself but of persuading others in discussion the need is for clear ideas and the ability to show their connection with each other. So few people have yet acquired the necessary skill at this, that most discussions are futile bandying of words, [which] either leave each man sticking to his own ideas or they end with everyone agreeing, [just] for the sake of agreement, on a compromise with nothing to be said for it. Clear ideas do therefore have some practical value...Theory exists so that one need not start afresh each time sorting out the material and plowing through it…. It is meant to educate the mind of the future commander, or, more accurately, guide him in his self-education, not to accompany him to the battlefield... In the field of strategy…theory…helps the commander acquire those insights that, once absorbed into his way of thinking, will smooth and protect his progress.  Knowledge must be so absorbed into the mind that it almost ceases to exist in a separate, objective way…. The continual change [in war] compels the commander to carry the whole intellectual apparatus of his knowledge within him.  He must be ready to bring forth the appropriate decisions.  By total assimilation with his mind and life, the commander's knowledge must be transformed into a genuine capability... " Clausewitz on War

Thursday 12 May 2005

"...meaning in life is not an abstraction, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment...we can only know the big meaning of our life in retrospect - at it's end, and this will be dependent on all the little moments of actualized meaning along the way... self-actualization is possible only as a side effect of self-transcendence..."  Viktor Frankl

Tuesday 2 May 2005

"...Tell me one operation of war which is moral.... Sticking a bayonet into a man's belly, is that moral? Then they say, well, of course strategic bombing involved civilians. Civilians are always involved in major wars.
After all, previous wars ended up in the besieging of major cities, and in besieging a city what was the idea? To cut off all supplies, and the city held out if it could until they'd eaten the last dog, cat, and sewer rat and were all starving, and meanwhile the besieging forces lobbed every missile they could lay their hands on into the city, more or less regardless of where those missiles landed, as an added incentive to surrender...."  Sir Arthur Harris, head of  RAF Bomber Command. 1942-45 quoted in War by Gwynne Dyer,1986

Tuesday 26 April 2005

"...We must never forget, that under modern conditions of life, science and technology, all war has become greatly brutalized and that no one who joins in it, even in self-defence, can escape becoming also in a measure brutalized. Modern war cannot be limited in its destructive method and the inevitable debasement of all participants... we as well as our enemies have contributed to the proof that the central moral problem is war and not its methods..." - Harry L. Stimson, US Secretary of State 1929-1933 quoted, appropriately enough by Hitler's Arms Minister, Albert Speer in Inside the Third Reich

Sunday 24 April 2005

"A prince...cannot practice all those things which gain men a reputation for being good, as it is often necessary, in order to keep hold of the state, to act contrary to trust, contrary to charity, contrary to humanity, and contrary to religion..."-  Machiavelli in the Prince

"Much of the revolutionaries' money came from rich progressives... But ... factional backbiting began to discourage these devotees... It was at this time, then, that Lenin resorted to 'expropriations'... the most effective of these were organised by the hitherto obscure Georgian Bolshevik Stalin and his half crazed agent Kamo. The whole business got the Bolsheviks involved not merely in banditry, but with actual bandit elements.. wrote Bakunin' in Russia, he who desires a popular revolution, must enter this world'.... all Russian socialists of every faction knew this world, but almost all of them, except for Lenin, recoiled from it in horror. He alone was prepared to use it. 'Party members should not be measured by the narrow standard of petty bourgeois snobbery. Sometimes a scoundrel is useful to our party, precisely because he is a scoundrel.' It was in the same spirit that Lenin used the crudest and most abusive .. language in his political controversies.. Nor did the continual erosion of the people who did not agree with Lenin fail to lower the intellectual standard of the Party considerably. That is not to say that there were not men of fine intellect devotedly attached to the Bolsheviks. But among the its lesser adherents men of very limited character and sense were to be found..." Robert Conquest in Lenin, 1972

Sunday 10 April 2005

"..If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately try to scramble out. But if you place the frog in room temperature water, and don't scare him, he'll stay put. Now, if the pot sits on a heat source, and if you gradually turn up the temperature, something very interesting happens. As the temperature rises from 70 to 80 degrees F., the frog will do nothing. In fact, he will show every sign of enjoying himself. As the temperature gradually increases, the frog will become groggier and groggier, until he is unable to climb out of the pot. Though there is nothing restraining him, the frog will sit there and boil. Why? Because the frog's internal apparatus for sensing threats to survival is geared to sudden changes in his environment, not to slow, gradual changes..." Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline : The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization

Tuesday 22 March 2005

"...What does experience up to now teach us? The revolutionary guerrilla force is clandestine. It is born and develops secretly. The fighters themselves use pseudonyms. At the beginning they keep out of sight, and when they allow themselves to be seen it is at a time and place chosen by the chief. The guerrilla force is independent of the civilian population, in action as well as in military organisation; consequently it need not assume the direct defence of the peasant population. The protection of the population depends on the progressive destruction of the enemy's military potential. It is relative to the overall balance of forces: the populace will be completely safe when the opposing forces are completely defeated.... to protect the safety of the guerrilla force itself: 'Constant vigilance, constant mistrust, constant mobility are the three golden rules. All three are concerned with security. Various considerations of common sense necessitate wariness towards the civilian population and the maintenance of a certain aloofness. By their very situation civilians are exposed to repression and the constant presence and pressure of the enemy, who will attempt to buy them, corrupt them, or to extort from them by violence what cannot be bought. Not having undergone a process of selection or technical training, as have the guerrilla fighters, the civilians in a given zone of operations are more vulnerable to infiltration or moral corruption by the enemy. .." Revolution in the Revolution? - Regis Debray, 1967

Thursday 17 March 2005

" Imperialism is an institution under which one nation asserts the right to seize the land or at least to control the government or resources of another people."- John T. Flynn 

"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too." - Marcus Aurelius

Friday 5 March 2005

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we can do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love..." Reinhold Niebuhr in the Irony of American History

புத்தி உள்ள மனிதனெல்லாம்... Lyric - Kannadasan, Song - J.B.Chandrababu

 "There comes a time when an individual becomes irresistible and his action becomes all pervasive in it’s effect. This comes when he reduces himself to zero" - Mahatma Gandhi

Friday 11 February 2005

 "....I look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world." And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice? What has happened to our moral imagination? On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: "How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"  I see it feelingly. The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma - the science of the heart ... the capacity to see, to feel and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does."  Bill Moyers in No Tomorrow

Sunday 6 February 2005

"Until you do what you believe in, you don't know whether you believe it or not." - Tolstoy

"Naturally the common people don't want war. But after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."  - Hermann Goering, 1946

Friday 28 January 2005  - On Holocaust Day

"...The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference..."  Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, writer and Nobel Prize Laureate

Tuesday 25 January 2005

"Only connect!...Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die." E.M.Forster - Howards End

Tuesday 18 January 2005

"...The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected...What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment...We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering...Everything can be taken from a man but the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Victor Frankl in Man's Search for Unltimate Meaning

Tuesday 11 January 2005

"All warfare is based on deception.  Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.  Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.  If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.  The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all!  It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose. " Sun Tzu on the Art of War, One of the oldest Military Treatises in the World

Tuesday 4 January 2005

"..A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things, which in truth are but one, constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One lies in the past, one in the present... A heroic past, great men, glory (by which I understand genuine glory), this is the social capital upon which one bases a national idea. To have common glories in the past and to have a common will in the present; to have performed great deeds together, to wish to perform still more-these are the essential conditions for being a people. One loves in proportion to the sacrifices to which one has consented, and in proportion to the ills that one has suffered...More valuable by far than common customs posts and frontiers conforming to strategic ideas is the fact.. of having suffered, enjoyed, and hoped together... I spoke just now of 'having suffered together' and, indeed, suffering in common unifies more than joy does. Where national memories are concerned, griefs are of more value than triumphs, for they impose duties, and require a common effort...A nation is a grand solidarity constituted by the sentiment of sacrifices which one has made and those that one is disposed to make again.." Ernest Renan in What is a nation?, 1882

Continued - Reflections 2004.........



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