Those who don’t know history…..

…. are destined to repeat it. (Edmund Burke 1729-1797)

This quote often gets confused with the later one by Santayana: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

But as Santayana came a good hundred years after Burke, I shall use the Burke attributed quote. Especially as Santayana seems to get rather more popular coverage than Burke. I wonder why that is?

However this is not a post about philosophy at all, or whether Santayana plagiarised Burke, just that the Burke quote is the most obvious title.

It is about modern day intervention aka invasion/imperialism/21st century colonialism – take your pick of description.

While searching on the tinties, I found this gem of a vid. Excellent visuals, a very neat summary, and some good points succinctly made. You may need to turn the volume up, the recording is rather quiet.

Note at the end, the mention of women’s rights when questioning the intervention in Afghanistan. At least it got a mention. And no doubt we are repeating our own history with seven British deaths this week alone and 176 deaths for British armed forces in total since our involvement. Here is a link with details of the ones who have died to date, including serving members in the British forces from Fiji, Nepal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. And that pales into insignificance compared with the number of civilian deaths.

So just why are we all there yet again?


About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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13 Responses to Those who don’t know history…..

  1. How strange you should post about this subject today!Btw the video was very interesting and informative, Anthony Wedgewood Benn's voice?There is also a lot of publicity over here today, about the young ages of some of the soldiers who have been killed recently.I was mulling this over, particularly because I have two sons, both older than the ones killed in Afghanistan; and wondering what exactly we are STILL doing there?What are we trying to gain/prove? What exactly is the point?And the tally of lost lives and injuries to our forces continues to rise unabated, whilst our greedy politicians on both sides of the House of Commons, have their faces in the trough, with expenses claims………don't even get me on it!J


  2. pendantry says:

    Especially as Santayana seems to get rather more popular coverage than Burke. I wonder why that is?

    My excuse for quoting Santayana is that I wanted to use the quote but knew that the phrase had been coined elsewhere, so I googled, saw an entry on it in Wikiquote and dug no deeper than that. I’d agree with you that Burke has a prior claim; but I have little doubt that the concept originated still earlier. Much earlier. I seem to recall intimating to you before that I think that there’s something inherently screwy in the concept of intellectual property rights being applied to ideas. Moreover, I strongly suspect that this is the root cause of the serious fix (or, rather, multiple fixes) society now finds itself in.

    Thanks for answering a question I’ve long had in my mind. Why are we in Afghanistan? And though it’s a politically delicate question that will never be addressed anywhere that matters, my next would be ‘why are we encouraged to ‘support the brave troops defending our freedom (sic)’ when we are so clearly the ones who are in the wrong, not only now but for getting on for a couple of hundred years?


    • Intellectual property rights on ideas are a bit like dodgy insurance claims. Yes, I read about the earlier attribution to others somewhere or other, but like you were happy with santayana I was happy to go with burke. Makes no odds, the idea is the same. A bit like a BBC journo once said to me ‘there’s nothing new in journalism.’

      I didn’t answer the question. Mr Benn may well have provided a more enlightened view for you if you watched the vid. I thought it was very good. And aptly fitted the quote. It goes without saying that I totally agree with every single word of your last par.

      The hypocrisy and greed of politics and power eh?


  3. I’d like to know why we have not seemed to learn a thing? I am so tired of sending our sons and daughters into some mans war, it is not all a war being fought for my interest. I don’t buy that now, nor ever, I don’t want to be there, you don’t want to be there.
    My analogy from the Vietnam engagement still feels true?
    Little men playing chess with real live sons & daughters
    Opium control? Too funny. That’s a hoot too,
    Oil & gas? Maybe. But searching for hydro-carbons need not be so territorial if mans ego would just step aside.
    Absolutely brilliant film ms. & good share ~


    • How did you end up reading this? I know I sent a link to Pedantry, but I don’t remember sending you one!

      Anyway, I’m pleased you were interested in it. I watched the vid again yesterday, just because I thought it was so good. Benn’s narration was perfect. If you don’t know him, he’s British aristocracy and very left wing, he was the first peer – formerly a viscount – to renounce his peerage. My parents were terrified of him, they thought he would nationalise banks, take all their savings (which weren’t much anyway) and turn Britain into Russia. Which shows how little they knew about politics and what the anti-communist propaganda was like at the time. With age and objectivity I learned to re-evaluate him. He has spoken out repeatedly against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      He is president of the Stop the War Coalition and also served in the RAF during the second world war. There is a good quote on wiki about him where he says that if the germans had invaded Britain and he chucked a grenade at one, would that make him a freedom fighter or a terrorist? A very succinct way to put it.

      One of the statistics from the Vietnam war and America’s overseas um engagements (?) that sticks with me, is that approx the same number of Vietnamese were killed in that war than Americans have been killed in all wars. I did a post on it a few years ago, one of my favourites:
      In fact I’m thinking about doing a blog post about my favourite posts from the past. This Afghan one would be in there too.

      I read a book recently (fiction – well, supposedly) about the CIA buying opium from Afghanistan on the grounds they were supporting the economy and it saved it falling into ‘bad’ hands. It was destroyed of course, except for the cut taken by one of the chiefs who flogged it on. Sadly, Ms Cynical here can easily imagine that happening. Anyway, it will be included in my up and coming book review post, which will fit neatly with my summer hours theme, as in ‘good reads for summer.’

      We haven’t even got into collateral damage – uh? why can’t we just call it killing civilians? because that’s what it is, or ‘friendly fire’ ie killing your allies due to sheer incompetence.

      War? Don’t start me on it! I was against the Falklands War thinking it was nothing but a political move to get Thatcher re-elected. I have a totally different view these days, which could possibly come from living in a British Overseas Territory with a sabre-rattling neighbour (spain). The irony is that all the Spaniards we know, think there would be no competition between Spain and Britain. We beat them in the Armada, and they can’t fight their way out of a paper bag, their words not ours. Yet, Spain is the only country that has carried out an invasion in Europe since WW2. I doubt you will have heard of it. Technically I’m not sure whether it should be Europe or Africa given that it is disputed territory. Anyway, there is also a reference to Clapton 🙂 and a vid of a Spanish singer, so there is some music thrown in for you should you be bored with war.


  4. I actually believe I came across this post while just browsing your blogs. Bouncing back and forth. I read blogs during those early am hours when I don’t sleep and have found more and more a kinship with much of your writing. (what you are sharing)
    There is an intellectual energy for lack of better term off-hand that I find in your writing that I am attracted to and I like very much our comment banters. I am just saying this so as a precursor to saying I appreciate the friendship that continues to grow here with you at WP.

    I enjoyed the video, and even more so your comments.

    I was just sharing with my 14 yr old grandson last night a bit about the political-social environment of 1970 and the prevailing opposed sides concerning war. The conversation started out with him asking me if I had attended Woodstock, which was on the other side of the country from me. I did not. But I shared with him about the rock festival I did attend for 3 days of a week long event that is the only one is USA Government history paid for by the country.

    My grandson who has strong anti-war beliefs and is very vocal saw the point of our then state governor. He also saw even today the success in what came together in a matter of just days planning. It was a perfect statement to what & how peaceful progress can be made when people keep the spirit of each others welfare in mind. The hope for this festival was to avert any similar tragedies like the Kent State University killings, and in fact there was not one injury from any hostile acts in a what turned out to be a two-week event of two opposing factions merging by the thousands upon the city.
    That’s a peace movement at its finest in my mind.


    • There’s plenty to browse as I’ve been blogging for more than six years … I do give links to previous posts from time to time, but don’t like to look too pushy. That’s why I use the categories on this blog (and on everypic) so that if people have a particular interest they can browse through those.

      Thank you for your comments about my writing, our sharing, and our friendship.

      I can’t believe how adult young people are these days. Their views and thoughts are far more ahead than I was at the same age. Don’t think I had even heard of Woodstock, and as well, I was heavily conditioned by my parents’ point of view. That of course had the advantage/disadvantage of making my rebellion in later life more forceful. I probably took an opposite view on just about everything in the end. But not for the sake of it, rather, I learned to think for myself. Only took me 25/30 years 😀

      I dislike the way working for peace is dismissed as soft and wishy-washy. it involves a lot of hard work, negotiation, forward-thinking, principles, and intelligence. It’s not just about hippies smoking dope, or communists, or any of the other clichéed stereotypes. It’s about ideals and we could get there if we wanted to. A bit like we could feed the world if we wanted to, but we don’t.


      • It s a nice touch, your links inserted here and there.

        Children today have such a wider world perspective than ever and I think the Internet is responsible for that. It has shrunk the world and yet expanded the need to understand global issues. I hope one day the boundaries that divide us will shrink away as well.

        My parents were fairly liberal for the era and gave me the freedom and power to define my own beliefs. It was I found not an easy thing to do when raising my daughters. I wanted to raise them in a democratic fashion where they learned to create their own voices, but the funny thing was when they voiced different belief I had to fight the urge to ‘correct’ them.
        So I know it was not easy fr my parents to allow me my own voice, but they did.

        I am confident that with you there is no need to share my feelings on the subject of how peace keepers are seen. It is as you said much more organized, agendas being ones for the welfare of all, not just a few.
        I am delighted and grateful to see the younger generations having the passion ignited as well.


        • If people have taken the time and interest to read and comment on topics, I think they *might* be interested in a similar post, but I don’t put a whole list at the end of the post because I know people rarely click on other previous links like that.

          I’m not a fan of the internet. Not sure what it has achieved. There was nothing wrong with the world before. People wrote letters, firms provided a service instead of you having to do everything, and child porn/bomb recipes were’t quite as readily available. Grumpy old roughseas.

          I was always interested in the environment as a child, so I’m not sure the internet has changed that. Information and news was always out there if you knew where to look. Perhaps not as quickly available. I think the later travelling helped too, once you have been somewhere, you can associate more with the issues. I would read about the Israel/Palestine conflict and never understand it though. Just puzzled by it. John Pilger wrote a good book though that actually explained some of it to me.

          Wow for liberal parents. Mine were not. There are some stories about my dad on here … I was going to be his ‘little girl’ until I was at least 30!! And threatening to hit me? In front of my husband?

          One of the many reasons we don’t have children is that I would seriously struggle to cope with them having opposing views. I’d like to be a liberal parent, but imagine in spite of all that, if they turned into a gun-totiing, anti-women, Republican (for example).

          Peace is such a huge subject. We can all start by practising the principles in our own lives and hoping that it will spread elsewhere, and where we can working for it. The reality is that there has always been greed and war, and there always will be. So we do what we can to counteract that and maybe achieve some small thing in our lives whatever that is.


  5. violetwisp says:

    We’re all going round in circles.


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