Monday, May 7, 2007

How much is a life worth then, pal?

EVERY DAY IN THE WORLD A HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE DIE. A HUMAN LIFE MEANS NOTHING.
General Giap, C-in-C, North Vietnamese Army

NEVER SEND TO KNOW FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS;
IT TOLLS FOR THEE.
John Donne

Two quotes, both linked to war novels. I'd run a lttle quiz except I'm not sure how many people would know the book the General Giap quote comes from. A guy called Kent Anderson, an ex-special forces soldier and Portland, Oregon cop, wrote two amazing books. The first, Sympathy for the Devil was about Vietnam and the second, Night Dogs, was described by James Crumley as the best cop novel he'd ever read. I wonder if that impresses you as much as it does me?

Anway, 2 quotes and, of course, we all know the one we identify with. A human life means nothing? What a horrendous thing to say. And yet...For many of us, death doesn't exist. We're entirely happy for it to cut swathes through Iraq, Darfur, wherever...Never bothers our conscience, never makes us doubt our faiths. But dare death presume to come near us - US! - then that's an outrage.
So, if the bell tolls for us each time - really tolls for us - what are we going to do about it? What difference does it make to how we see ourselves and the world around us?

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4 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

You are frighteningly well-read!

May 7, 2007 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger MattM76 said...

Isn't that just human nature to only see what our blinkers allow?

Would we not go mad if we were allowed to feel the weight of the entire world?

The cost of a life is priceless and can only be measured by the love of those left behind.

May 9, 2007 at 2:29 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Mark - not sure I'm that well-read - too undisciplined.
mattm76 - you're right, of course. I think this goes down as one of my stupider posts! However, I did wwarn you all earlier on that, just because I'm dying, it doesn't make me any smarter - unfortunately.

May 9, 2007 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger MattM76 said...

It's a great post.

The worth, value or cost of a human life is a philosophically rich subject which can be debated for eternity.

I was merely adding my own sound-bites to the discussion. :)

May 9, 2007 at 4:31 AM  

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