Following on from yesterday’s post, and after a few beers, I remembered a rhetorical question posed in The English Patient, a book I read many years ago, it was a wonderfully literary book, if rather hard going. But don’t panic, I’m not going all literary on you.
There was a Indian character in the book, Kip, named Kip I believe as a contrast to another Indian Character, Kipling’s Kim. Both are compliant wee brown men working for the colonial master, except Kim remains so, whereas Kip has an epiphany, in the blinding flash of an Atomic bomb, Kip suddenly knows, it dawns on him, the realization that the colonial master would always win out regardless of how good a wee brown man you were, that to the victor belongs the right to write, and the right to re-write history.
This was the part of the book that stuck in my mind when I was younger, the young Indian Kip, has been working for the British, of course he knows that there is a an unjustifiable irony in working for the colonial master, but he believes that the British represent progress and advancement and a climb out of ignorance, until he learns of the Atomic bombing of Japan and the massive destruction and death… If I remember correctly he gets on his motorbike and leaves the Villa where they had all been staying and makes a statement along the lines of: ” They would never have done this to Germany [he may have said a white country} regardless, the question deserves reflection.
Do you think that the US Government would have NUKED Germany? For sure, they would have NUKED Nazis, but a city in Germany. At the time, it stopped me reading the book whilst I pondered the question. In the end, I decided that I didn’t think that anyone would drop a Nuclear Bomb on people like themselves. I remember a few drunk conversations in the pub expounding the point, before, I moved onto another book.
You could of course point to Dresden, 80% destroyed and around 100 000 killed, but the sheer devastation of a nuclear weapon is something else, Bomber Command’s losses over Germany were astounding, by some estimates over 50% of participants were killed, Enola Gay bombed with impunity, a one trick pony with at most, a mere nine lives at risk.
It’s always so much easier to kill the other, to demonize, to satanize, if you like, to emphasize the difference, rather than the sameness. It makes it easier. Gooks, Reds, Blacks, Northerners, Southerners, Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Chinks, Pakis, Scots, and now of course… infidels, non- believers. It was ever thus.
Who Knows? Do you?