A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Guns of July? Lessons Still Unlearned

Part II of the post on Hester Stanhope is coming later today or at the latest Monday. But first, this thought.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes," is an aphorism often attributed to Mark Twain, though like many attributed to him, no one seems to be able to locate it in his writings. Reflecting on the range of conflicts in the region today, not just the tit-for-tat cycle of retribution we are witnessing in Gaza, a war provoked by individual murders, but the disintegration of Syria and Iraq, I find the timing ironic in this July of 2014.

For it was a century ago next week that Austria delivered its ultimatum to Serbia in response to the earlier assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand,setting in motion the cataclysm that would redraw the maps of Europe and the Middle East and begin the process of making the 20th Century the bloodiest in history. Austria-Hungary would be torn apart, its original quarrel with Serbia largely submerged in he four years that followed.

How little humanity seems to have learned since that earlier July.

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