Robert L. Peters

15 March 2008

Beware indeed…



Not to get weird about it, but the Ides of March have freaked me out ever since I first learned of them in elementary school. In the year 44 BC this day marked the treacherous demise of Julius Caesar (I’m not making a value judgment here, it’s just a historical thing); in 1917 it was the day that the last tzar of Russia, Nicholas ll, was forced to abdicate the throne (three years before my dad was born into the turmoil of Molotchna, and part of the remarkable unrest following WWI); in 1933 it was the day that Adolf Hitler first expressed his nascent dream of The Third Reich (and six years later to the day that Nazi troops invaded Bohemia and Moravia [then Czechoslovakia]).

More recently, it was the single day in history that more people on the face of the earth than ever before gathered together in a unified action for peace (400,000 marched in Milan, 300,000 in Barcelona, 120,000 in Madrid, you get the picture… )—to no avail, George W. Bush simultaneously prepared to lead the (bullied, cowed, coerced) “coalition of the willing” nations into the U.S. empire’s most recent war against Iraq.

It remains a poignant day for me… five years ago today I was in Mumbai, India on a network-building sortie with Icograda—six days later while in Ahmedabad (Mahatma Gandhi’s home town), we watched in surreal disbelief as the U.S. reigned down an unprovoked firestorm on the ancient city of Baghdad (one of the the world’s “cradles of civilization,” and onto its hundreds of thousands of terrified citizens).

Indeed, beware the Ides of March… (don’t say I didn’t warn you).

Images: Caesar’s demise as painted by Vincenzo Camuccini; Tsar Nicholas ll of Russia; Adolf Hitler of Germany; George W. Bush of the U.S. of America.

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