Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Gorbachev - the Second John Reed in Moscow or in a New Ad?

John Reed (1887-1920), the American journalist, poet and communist, famous for describing the Bolshevik Revolution in Ten Days that Shook the World is only one of the seven non-Russians buried in the Kremlin. 

Being buried in the Kremlin necropolis is the greatest honour for Russians (similar to being buried in the Westminster Cathedral in England). People buried there (either full grave or only ashes in the wall):

  1. Inessa Armand (France)
  2. Bill Haywood (USA)
  3. Otto Wille Kuusinen (Finland)
  4. Sen Katayama (Japan)
  5. C E Ruthenberg (USA)
  6. Jenö Landler (Hungary)
  7. John Reed (USA)

Are they going to break with the tradition of having Soviet leaders automatically buried in the Kremlin necropolis now that the Soviet Union does not exist any more? They buried Boris Yeltsin in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow along with Soviet leaders like Andrei Gromyko and Russian luminaries like Sergei Eisenstein and Mikhail Bulgakov.

Gorbachev or Gorby has always been openly pro-Western and was close friends with Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Gorbymania in the West died down as he lost power. Many of the younger generation nowadays don't even know his name. Would he also be buried in Kremlin like John Reed when he dies? 

 There is a 14th century proverb from England
 “A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall”. 
Has Gorbachev become a reed in order to survive the winds of change? 

There is also a Jamaican proverb 
When cotton-tree tumble down every nanny-goat want fe jump over” (When the mighty fall the weak want to take advantage).

The ex-supreme leader of the Soviet Union, Mihail Gorbachev, maintains himself by advertising. This time it's Louis Vuitton bags. 

He’s been at it before, advertising Pizza Hut, so he knows how the gig works. 

As a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Grammy award winner, he is quite a media person. 

In 2007, speaking at New Orleans, he volunteered to lead the people of New Orleans in a revolution in 2011 if the US government failed to repair the levees by then. 

What would Gorbachev be sponsored by if this American Revolution ever took place - 
  • Camel Boots
  • Che Guevara T-shirts
  • Castro Cigars
  • Mao Jackets 
  • Putin After-Shave? 
How would President Obama or McCain react to that?

If we compare the Kremlin, as a burial place, to an equally high profile cemetery in USA, it would of course be Arlington National Cemetery. There are only three non-Americans buried there. Sadly no Russians among them.

  1. Larry Thorne or the swashbuckling Lauri Törni for the people of Finland (he is also a former Waffen-SS member and thus a former Nazi)
  2. Orde Charles Wingate (UK, born and died in India but interred in Arlington)
  3. Pierre Charles L'enfant (France)
Would the Americans ever consider burying Gorbachev in Hollywood or for that matter in Arlington? Hardly.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Is Love a Mammalian Prerogative or is it universal among all living beings?

Love is an abstract concept yet so concrete that nothing else matters. 

Love has managed to remain beyond all human attempts to describe and define it, not to talk about controlling it.

One can experience love but cannot sufficiently explain it to another who has never experienced it.

Philosophers, poets, artists and singers have tried to describe love for the entire length of recorded history. Humans and divine beings in all mythology and religion deals with different forms and expressions of love, loss of love and consequences of love not socially accepted. 

What is considered taboo or punishable by death in one context is the norm or highest ideal in another, e.g., falling a love with and marrying a partner is considered a fundamental right in Western democracies but in many other societies one gets harsh penalties for such behaviour.

Some scientists approach love through a biological model of sex and tend to view love as a mammalian drive like thirst or hunger. Helen Fisher in her book, Anatomy of Love takes a scientific look and divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: 
  1. Lust
  2. Attraction and 
  3. Attachment. 
What about post-attachment love then? Does love end in attachment and there is no room for non-attachment in love? Hmm! Frightening thought!

Lust exposes humans to others, romantic attraction encourages people to focus their energy on mating, and attachment involves tolerating the spouse long enough to rear a child into infancy. 

If we view the positive connotations of love, we could see loving as: 
  • acting intentionally
  • in sympathetic response to others
  • towards promoting mutual well-being.
Is love only a mammalian prerogative? 

How do we know that reptilians or insects never feel love?

How do we know that the buzzing of a bumblebee is not a serenade or the movement of a tapeworm is not an erotic dance?

Here is another way of looking at love through words of poetry.