Some quotations from my current or recent reading (all read within the last fortnight):

The exact possessor of these rights can be difficult to pin down. Many people have an intuition that animals have rights, just as humans do. But there are many cases where the rights of individual animals conflict with the familiar conservation goal of protecting populations or species of animals or plants. If cats are killing all the albatross nestlings on an island, cats may have to be killed to protect the ecosystem. Sometimes protecting diversity means buying ammunition.

(Rambunctious Garden, Emma Marris)

Two characters discussing the universally-loathed goblins:

‘Indeed he is, Drumknott, but the basic problem remains and it is this: humanity may come to terms with the dwarf, the trolls and even the orc, terrifying though all these may have proved to be at times, and you know why this is, Drumknott?

The secretary carefully folded the duster he had been using and looked at the ceiling. ‘I would venture to suggest, my lord, that in their violence we recognise ourselves?’

‘Oh, well done, Drumknott, I shall make a cynic of you yet! Predators respect other predators, do they not? They may perhaps even respect the prey: the lion may lie down with the lamb, even if only the lion is likely to get up again, but the lion will not lie down with the rat. Vermin, Drumknott, an entire race reduced to vermin!”

(Terry Pratchett, Snuff)

In the summer of 1943, during a long heat wave, the RAF, supported by the U.S. Eighth Army Force, flew a series of raids on Hamburg. The aim of Operation Gomorrah, as it was called, was to destroy the city and reduce it as completely as possible to ashes. In a raid early in the morning of July 27, beginning at one A.M., ten thousand tons of high-explosive and incendiary bombs were dropped on the densely populated residential area east of the Elbe, comprising the districts of Hammerbrook, Hamm-Nord and Hamm-Süd, Billwerder Ausschlag and parts of St. Georg, Eilbek, Barmbek, and Wandsbek. A now familiar sequence of events occurred: first all the doors and windows were torn from the frames and smashed by high-explosive bombs weighing four thousand pounds, then the attic floors of the buildings were ignited by lightweight incendiary mixtures, and at the same time firebombs weighing up to fifteen kilograms fell into the lower stories. Within a few minutes, huge fires were burning all over the target area, which covered some twenty square kilometers, and they merged so rapidly that only a quarter of an hour after the first bombs had dropped the whole airspace was a sea of flames as far as the eye could see. Another five minutes later, at one-twenty A.M., a firestorm of an intensity that no one would ever before have thought possible arose. The fire, now rising two thousand meters into the sky, snatched oxygen to itself so violently that the air currents reached hurricance force, resonating like mighty organs with all their stops pulled out at once.  The fire burned like this for three hours. At its height, the storm lifted gables and roofs from buildings, flung rafters and entire advertising billboards through the air, tore trees from the ground, and drove human beings before it like living torches. Behind collapsing facades, the flames shot up as high as houses, rolled like a tidal wave through the streets at a speed of over a hundred and fifty kilometers an hour, spun through open squares in strange rhythms like rolling cylinders of fire. The water in some of the canals was ablaze. The glass in the tram car windows melted; stocks of sugar boiled in the bakery cellars. Those who had fled from the air-raid shelters sank, with grotesque contortions, in the thick bubbles thrown up by the melting asphalt.

(W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction, tr. Anthea Bell)

Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

Psalm 94 vs 20

The fact that one is persecuted or oppressed does not automatically make one a good-natured anti-imperialist.

(Roman Imperialism and Runic Literacy, Svante Fischer)

‘There’s an east wind coming, Watson.’

‘I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.’

‘Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.’

(Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘His Last Bow’)

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