Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A light on the future? Or the past? a.k.a. The atom bomb is nothing to be afraid of...

Image of an illuminated highway underpass in Pingyao, Shanxi Province, China.
Dear Gentle Reader,

"The atom bomb is nothing to be afraid of. China has many people. They cannot be bombed out of existence. If someone else can drop an atomic bomb, I can too. The deaths of ten or twenty million people is nothing to be afraid of."

Reported Minutes of a Conversation between Chairman Mao, of China, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, of India, during Prime Minister Nehru's visit to Beijing (23 October 1954)

...The power of scale...

...and a callous heart...

I would hope that things have changed...



Cloudia said...

I'm with you, Scribe!

Comfort Spiral

Teresa said...

I second that, but I am afraid that not all have changed, especially not in all Asian countries (like that little one on the norther half of the Korean peninsula).

The United Statesian said...

A similar story happened between Chairman Mao and the US administration. The US complained about the lack of human rights to Mao. He responded by saying that he would be willing to give the US 100 million Chinese people and they could take them to the US and “give them all the rights they wanted.” The US administration thought about it and decided against is hard to give rights to so many people.

Richard said...

Watch the Middle East.

And, on a lighter note: thanks for the card! By any means of reckoning (except financial, of course) the final concert was a huge success. Good crowd, beautiful weather, and two sets of music that were positively transportive. Maybe some of the best jazz I've ever heard. Ya shoulda been here...

Outside of work, next project is

Poetry blogging to take a back seat as I figure out if I have a book's worth of material...and then what do do with it.

Candace said...

Alas, Babylon!

Just sayin...
Your Pal in Athens.

Sepiru Chris said...

Dear Cloudia,

I just wish that I knew where I was... And whether the world was with us both, Cloudia. As Teresa and Richard both point out, many parts of the world are not with us.

Dear Teresa,

Papertigers with matches and no fear of self-immolation are dangerous beasts indeed, as Mao knew with his quiet, and strategic blusters to the world in the 1950s. (Hence my continuation on today's piece (the posting that I have just put up, which follows this response...)

Dear United Statesian,

I have heard that story once before, but as a joke...

The US continued to support Chiang Kai-Shek after WWII, so they were not talking to Mao after the war.

Zhou En-Lai was the Chinese representative at the Geneva Accords of 1954, ending the hostilities in French Indochina and Vietnam, but not Mao. So Mao was not talking then, either.

The US leadership did not meet Mao until Nixon went to Beijing in 1972 after Ping Pong diplomacy.

And I cannot see that conversation occurring with Nixon; and, if it had, it would be quoted somewhere.

And by the end of 1976, Mao was dead.

United Statesian, I am going to need a citation for your story, as I think it is only a story.

Even the famous anecdotes like US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles snubbing of Zhou En-Lai's attempted handshake in Geneva, 1954, or Kissinger's apocryphal question to Zhou En-Lai (or Deng Xia-Ping or Mao Ze-Dong, take your pick) "What do you think of the French Revolution [of 1789]" with the returned answer "It is too soon to tell." has not been authoritatively cited anywhere that I am aware of.

This is the challenge of the internet, to me at least.

There is a requirement to be scrupulously careful about historical statements, because otherwise chatter becomes a written record with the possibility of being quoted by others, erroneously, in the future...

Help me out, please.

Dear Richard,

I still have not found that book that you recommended a while back on the Middle East, and I agree with your point, here, which dovetails with Teresa's comment.

I am delighted that the weather matched the mood of your final concert. And I would have loved to have been there. The last week has been a bit trying, and a diversion would have been delightful.

Hopefully Regs and I will make a future series.

Dear Candace,

Alas poor Babylon...
I knew her well.
Her tongues were many,
After her tower's death fell...

It is hard, when looking forward, or backwards, to be sure that we are all speaking with one tongue.

It matters so much what the speaker says, and, so much, also, what the listener hears, no?

Just sayin'

And vaguely worriedly swayin'...

Tschuess, all,

The United Statesian said...

Hello scribe,

Sorry if my "legend" was misleading (I have no proof of the story), just wanted to express a point...on a similar line with your posts...

Sepiru Chris said...

Hello United Statesian,

I'm with you; I'm just also a stickler for historical accuracy, when possible.

And I do appreciate the point you are making.