Monday, June 26, 2006

Gertrude Bell

The lines - that I blogged the other day - of the great Persian Sufi poet Hafiz were rendered into English by one Gertude Bell. I've since discovered what a remarkable woman Bell was and how resonant her experiences are with contemporary Iraq. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, she and T.E. Lawrence (WBI) are recognized as almost entirely responsible for creating that modern state in the ancient land of Mesopotamia.

I must learn more about her, but for the time being I just want to record a suspicion I have long harboured; that the Edwardians who inherited the British Empire at its apogee may well have been the best educated, most noble and talented generation that these islands ever spawned, but that didn't help worth a spit with the charnel house of the Great War and the rest of the century.

A lesson in hubris - perhaps but I hope not - for the Pax Americana.

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