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Moving on


Juan has been complaining about people trying to kill him.  Most people who know Juan shoot at him from time to time, this includes, of course, cuckolded husbands, jealous lovers, scandalized aristocrats, humiliated politicians, bankrupted businessmen and defeated warlords, and even his best friends feel compelled to discharge a weapon in his direction occasionally, but, although Juan bears no grudges and understands, given the circumstances, his would-be assassins are acting quite reasonably, he does take exception to being fired upon by complete strangers.  I have tried to explain that this is a war situation and he should not take attempts on his life personally, but as I am not too clear myself about why we are fighting, my explanations lack credibility. 

Juan says that it is natural to fight over the necessities of life, such as whisky or women and, in fact, if you reach lunchtime without a good brawl, the morning has been wasted, but becoming involved in massacres over something as petty as power, religion or land seems to be a waste of energy.  I tell him that most religions are fuelled by hate and distrust of other religions so people of faith attacking each other are behaving perfectly reasonably.  Juan points that that this does not apply to this war as most combatants seem to share the same religion and all sides consider God to be on their side, which, he adds, flies in the face of the evidence, as God appears to be generally unbiased.  He says that it would be more sensible to consider God to be on the side of the enemy, that way you wouldn’t underestimate their strength.

I explain that the politicians, who created this war, thrive on power and so, to them, the carnage is simply a means to an end, but Juan says that, in his experience, the more power you have, the more people want it, and the more people want it, the more likely it is that a war will happen, so fighting for power is ultimately self-defeating as the fight will just go on an on.  I tell him he is missing the point as there are issues of land rights and national identities to take into account, but Juan says that there is plenty of land around so there’s no need to fight about it and national identity is normally defined by a local dress code and a few traditional songs, which change over time anyway and don’t seem to be a valid justification for mass slaughter.  I would like to argue the point further but, as we are under heavy bombardment, we decide to move on, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary