08 October, 2011

L'histoire de la centurie vingt.

Heheh. Don't know why I opened with that, sorry. Probably not appropriate for this kind of topic really. See, earlier when I was drawing a family tree, I needed something to lean on, and then realised (that's realiSed, not realiZed, thank you, stupid Mr. iPhone and your stupid American corrections...slightly 'tail wagging the dog'-ism is it not?) that the leaney-thing was my Dad's casual book of the 20th century. So, I started reading...ahh, you guys know me; at breakfast, I'll read an Ocado receipt as long as it has legible writing on it. And I read, and read, and read; at first I was just looking for anything ground-breaking that happened on my birthday (nothing as of yet, but I'm only on 1968...) but then I started actually reading it. And I realised that, bar the two World Wars and the aftermath of them, I knew practically nothing about the world's history, before my birth. I hate ignorant people, and I had never bothered to research beyond the year of 1996? BEEEEETH. Hyprocritical. *shakes head*. And...I LEARNT STUFF! For example, I had no idea that Mahatma Ghandi was assassinated in the '40's, nor that Elvis signed up to join the US. Army. I loved reading it all, because I started remembering more things that I'd learnt in History last year especially (in my school, you only learn about new-history just before GCSE year, probably to sway you into choosing History for GCSE...didn't work though.), like the fact that a particular speech given just after the news concerning the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie had gone public. The Serbian nationalists had 'won' and there were speeches of triumph being given all over Austria-Hungary. In a lesson, I saw a clip of one such speech, in that funny, black and white and sped-up way that all old films are shot. The speaker was driving the crowd into rather the frenzy, and obviously as there wasn't any sound we couldn't hear the cheering and agreement...but you could definitely feel it. And, as the clip was paused (and this was deliberate, this isn't something exclusive that I've discovered), the camera zoomed in on the grainy footage and, captured forever in a red ring, was Adolf Hitler. I don't know why I was so surprised, the speech was in Austria...small country, small world. No, I jest...actually, I do know why I was surprised. It's because that was a kind of, 'defining history' moment for me. The kind that sends gut-wrenching chills down your spine because you know what's coming next. It's like my post from about half a year or so ago...the one about reading the emails between an ex boyfriend and I, reading them as a story but knowing what happens at the end. It was really strange, knowing that that speech and the forthcoming war could've been the final triggers in Hitler's life that set off his path of destruction. That speech could have, (very unlikely but still...) COULD HAVE created the horror of the Holocaust. How scary is that?

I'll leave you with this...
How scary is it to think that every second, minute, hour...every single day of our lives we can know someone and at the same time have no clue. Really? How strange could that possibly feel? It only takes one hyped-up moment, one feeling of crown mentality to drive someone over the edge of morality...
This leads me to my next post rather neatly; how power always corrupts.

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