"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

There were never any strategic considerations at stake, like those in the Middle East, for example, nor did the killing ever approach the carnage or savagery of the Balkans or Rwanda. There were no oil fields or gold mines to be captured, or any ideology to be overthrown or vindicated. But the Troubles in Northern Ireland had one quality that marketed the violence there as special, and that was sheer length of the conflict -- that and the fact that no one could really see an end to it.

[The Troubles: Ed Moloney, A Secret History of the IRA]

Posted by gethro on 05.29.2009

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