Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Great Game

Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not

— Hilaire Belloc in The Modern Traveller, 1898

Have no fear of atomic energy
For none of them can stop the time

Bob Marley - Redemption Song, 1980
the modern traveller


Iraq isn't Africa, Iraqis shoot back.

— Robert Baer in Iraq's Mercenary King: Politics & Power, 2007

We see Africa as probably the greatest open field of manoeuvre in the worldwide competition between the [communist] bloc and the non-communist.

— President John F. Kennedy, 1962

All for you
It is all for you

E.T. Mensah & The Tempos - All For You, 1948
cecil rhodes astride africa
Cecil Rhodes - From Cairo to Capetown


How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfil the book

— Bob Marley - Redemption Song

When you came you had the Bible and we had the land. Now you have the land and we have the Bible.

— Unknown 'native', 19th century

And freedom is the issue. The stakes are that high.

Ronald Reagan, 1986
freedom kagyah


There are no rules in [this] game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If [redacted] is to survive, longstanding American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered... It may become necessary that the American people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally repugnant philosophy.

— Report of the United States Hoover Commision, 1950

One man struggles while another relaxes.

Massive Attack - Hymn of the Big Wheel
elegance and chaos
Beirut, Lebanon, summer 2006


A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual. It makes use against the enemy not only of the accepted ruses de guerre, but of deliberate lying and the deception as well - and to a degree which seems to exceed the usage of former wars.

— Sigmund Freud - Thoughts for the Times on War and Death, 1915

There are only people behaving, and sometimes behaving monstrously.

Ian McEwan disputing the notion of evil, 2002

Takes behaviour to get along.
Lots of behaviour to get along.
Do you really, really know that?
Social Living is the best

Do you know? Social Living is the best

Burning Spear - Social Living

Honam mu nni nhanoa
(Humanity has no boundary)

— Akan proverb, Ghana

Ex Africa simper aliquid novi
(Always something new out of Africa)

— Pliny the Elder, 1st Century Rome
No Problem by Lalelani


Cultural interplay is the name of the Great Game.
I wonder: who is writing today's script?


This note is part of the Things Fall Apart series under the banner of the rough beast.

Next: The Modern Traveller (Reclaiming the Maxim Gun)

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