4,000 dead US soldiers in Iraq. 4,000 potentially bright futures and glorious lives tragically cut short.
It's depressing to read about people getting killed in wars. Thanks to Andrew Olmsted, you can even read what people (about to be) killed in wars have to say. The only thing supporters and detractors of war have to say is that it sucks - big time.
The story behind the fate of French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry should serves as one of the loudest ever anti-war statements. His disappearance during WW2 was one of the biggest war-time mysteries, probably after Glenn Miller's.
de Saint-Exupéry, whose works included The Little Prince, was also an aviator with a Corsican air corps, and was among those missing in action.
Historian Lino von Gartzen's investigation on the author turned up an unexpected piece of the puzzle. WW2 German ace Host Rippert put forth the possibility that he may have downed the French author's plane.French newspaper Le Figaro has published extracts of a book in which the former Messerschmitt pilot describes spotting a twin-tailed Lightning P-38 plane flying below him. He went in pursuit and shot him down.Compounding the tragedy was the fact that Rippert had been a fan of his books even before the war.... Mr Rippert describes being a fan of de Saint-Exupery's work. "In our youth, at school, we had all read him. We loved his books," he said.Now, imagine accidentally running over somebody in the middle of a darkrainy night, only to discover the next day you had cut short the Harry Potter series. According to von Gartzen :He feels guilty and very, very sorry about it. He was very scared that the cheap press would massacre him.Such is the awful price of war. What would de Saint-Exupéry have written had he survived? How would he have changed the French literary scene? Too bad these are questions no amount of research could uncover.
France one wielded considerable clout in terms of culture and the arts; today the only kind of French-lit I recognise are the Asterix comic series. "Tragic" doesn't even come close.
de Saint-Exupéry's untimely end begs the question: How many more potential peace-time talents must be sacrificed to serve the selfish interests of a few?
Monday, March 31, 2008
The Waste of War
How on earth must it feel when you accidentally kill a favourite author? When Alan Wong told me this strange story about what may have happened to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (whose The Little Prince I really loved when I read it in French at school), I told him he had to guest blog it for us. Many thanks for this Alan! :