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2012-11-03 06:56:29 (UTC)


Part 1:

On 17 April 1974, in my first months as a senior tutor in education studies at what is now the University of Tasmania, and just before my 30th birthday, Part 23 of The World At War was shown on British television. I did not see that Part 23 or, indeed, any of that 26 part series until:(a) I had retired after 32 years in a classroom as a teacher and another 18 as a student: 1949-1999, as well as: (b)I had ceased my extensive commitment as an active participant in Baha’i institutional life as a chairman or secretary and attender of dozens, indeed, hundreds of meetings in the years: 1959-1999.

Last night I watched Part 23(1) after 3 hours of resting and sleeping during the day and an additional 8 hours of resting and sleeping during the night.(2) By the time I watched this Part 23 in Australia, nearly 40 years after the series was first shown in the U.K., chronicling as this landmark in British TV history did the events of WW2, my world and my society, had been through our own wars.

Part 2:

In many ways the wars and the destruction after 1945, the year WW2 ended, were, as the American writer and painter Henry Miller (1891-1980) wrote: "far more terrible than the destruction of the first two wars.” Miller was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of "novel." This new type of novel was a mixture of: novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association and mysticism. His novels were always about Miller’s real-life, and yet they were also fictional.

In 1941 he wrote about a future destruction: “the fires will rage until the very foundations of this present world crumble."3 It is not my intention to document here that future destruction which I have witnessed during the seven decades of my life. The destructive calamity that has visited and is visiting humankind in the century that is just ending(1914-2014), has been massively documented in intimate detail elsewhere, both visually, orally and in print. I do not document, but I frequently refer to, this tempest, this calamity, this horror at this climacteric of history.

Part 3:

I do this in my essays and poetry, my autobiography and narratives. I have different purposes here in this brief post than mere historical documentation.-Ron Price with thanks to (1)The World at War, Wikipedia and 7TWOTV; (2)due to the meds I take for bipolar disorder I sleep a great deal; and 3Henry Miller in The Phoenix and the Ashes, Geoffrey Nash, George Ronald, Oxford, 1984, p.55.

For a while it looked like victory
was theirs: for the Axis powers.1
But….by the time I was born in
July of ’44 a victory blood was
Beginning to pour onto the soil
in Europe, the Pacific, & in Japan:
some 60 million dead in total!!!!

“Every man has his breaking point,”
so said some major or, perhaps, he
was a minor campaign member in
Iwo Jima: 19 Feb to 26 March ‘45.

“This has been true”……I thought to
myself, “about my war, our war of…
the last half of the 20th century and
this early 21st:” a fortiori…..a fortiori.2

This war, my war, is operating, like
WW2, on a global front, as battles
rage in every corner of the planet,
in the homes, minds and hearts of
billions & this time until the whole
civilization soaks-blood its people.
Millions fall asleep in front of the
TV &, with Beckett, wonder what
to do: with the stage direction as
follows: noone moves, it’s futile &
absurd nihilist meaninglessness!!!3

1 1939 to 1942
2 a fortiori is a Latin expression for “with even stronger reason, how much more, even more.”
3 Samuel Beckett’s prophetic play Waiting for Godot 1953.

Ron Price
19 March 2012