I read a number of magazines in addition to my daily diet of newspapers, but a couple of years ago started to read one, aptly perhaps, called “The Oldie”. I guess my curiosity was to see whether I was doing what I was supposed to be doing at my age. In other words acting my age rather than my shoe size, although the latter in truth is something more like my preference. But I have to say, the last edition rather put me off. Almost every page I turned seemed to contain a comment about those of us of a certain age only having “a little time left”, or that most people die in their seventies. Great – clearly I need to clear out my desk and write my memoirs, if I can find the time.
But it set my mind thinking. First of all there are limitations all around us during our lives, and indeed life itself has a natural limitation. But that’s looking forward. Today the media certainly in the “west”, for want of a better description, has in recent years provided a regular diet of witch-hunts relating to historical events that are now being judged against 21st century standards. That is one side of the coin, and now there is another and to me more sinister element emerging.
I grew up in an era where a war had just ended. Times were not exactly easy but they were easier for me than they had been for my parents, as it had been for their parents and so on. Wars, slavery, invasions, injustice were almost normal behavioural patterns. We have, through each generation, moved on in many aspects thank heavens, but just how far back do we have to take history to apologise for the deeds of our forbears who, in their day, were doing whatever was demanded of them? It seems from what one reads there is no limit, and of course under such a limitless scenario Britain should be sending a bill to Scandinavia for the Vikings invading Britain and then try and get some money out of the Romans for the ravages of Julius Caesar and others - and as for the French in 1066!! It goes on around the globe; let's face it the Mongolians (think Genghis Khan), the Spanish, the Dutch, the Portuguese all invaded other countries, and of course the Brits were hardly angels in any of this and probably owe more to most - if we go back in a limitless history.
Let's not hide behind the facts; it was how life was lived and it wasn't pretty. But are we not in danger of starting it all over again?
There will be few who do not, even in some cases perhaps secretly think that the recent US strike on Syria was a good thing. Let's give Assad a "bloody nose". But it won't stop him, until he is removed. The reaction from the Russians has, apart from the initial "that wasn't a good idea", been relatively muted. But let's face it, the Russian population is getting a little tired it would seem of Mr. Putin so they have a few more things to worry about at home and facing down a US/Europe (slowly in the case of the latter, but led by the United Kingdom) that could make life just a little awkward for them.
This whole USA involvement thing internationally, by the way, given the pre-election rhetoric of President Trump is something I find intriguing. Was the reaction from the White House really as a result of the horror expressed by the President's daughter - well that was what the media reported- so it was probably false news!!
But there are also the bigger issues of North Korea and Iran to consider. Is the USA similarly now going to get more involved? If so, and if they do not think about the broader effect of their actions, we are in my view already on the slippery slope. But none of this worries me nearly as much as the growth in isolated incidents. These so-called "lone wolf" attacks (rarely lone, of course, but at least small cells) are really not going to go away any time soon.
In the last few months we have seen attacks in France, Nice being critical, and then Belgium, we've had London and Stockholm more recently. You will have noticed the recent commentary, reflecting something that was being said a while ago that all of this is in retribution for "The Crusades". These, to save you looking them up, took place between 1096 and 1291. And if the world is now going to face this sort of disruption, it demonstrates that there is no limitation on history. Or that people do not learn. Or that we are indeed just at the beginning of a slippery slope and that actions or rather reactions that are not coherently thought through just adds fuel to these zealots and people seeking revenge - apparently. And they are not that easy to find.
Historical limitations - common sense please. But how do we encourage rational thought? I don't qualify for the Snowflake Generation by about 50 years but both mine and their generation, and all those in-between, need to do something, or that slope is going to get very slippery indeed.