The following was written by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History, Yale University,
15 November 2016.
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
Then from the back of the room. “He’s wearing a fookin denim soot!” A commando had picked up on Tom’s strong double denim game. “Look, he’s WEARING A FOOKING DENIM SOOT!”. Laughter erupted. I thought I head a musket shot and like the ANZACs at Gallipoli, we cut our losses and made an extremely successful tactical retreat, pushing north along the ‘highway’, one lane either way. No overtaking.
Fear not, dear reader. This lesson is not about what you think it’s about.
I’m not going to fling a bowl of warm, semi-regurgitated apple puree at you and weepily recount the profoundly goopy wisdom that dawned on me as little Starman managed to spoon slop into his mouth, as opposed to his ear, after trying and then trying yet again.
The frogs are loving this weather. It’s been raining and blowing on the coast here just out of Sydney for three long days and each night as I lay down to sleep beside my daughter in this yurt the frogs sing us into the stormy night with the insistence of Steve Reich.
I love this place but it’s not always easy being here. On the first night of this trip I was spooked by the ghost of my father. His ineffable presence was everywhere in the decaying wood of the place. I see his ambition in the grand aspect of the land looking down the coast to Sydney. Naturally he’s indistinguishable from the fact of my presence here and the soft breath of my sleeping children.
“BB”, as my mum was affectionately known when engaged in her vocation as a grandmother, could transform car trips during Sydney’s riotous Jacaranda season into travelling ‘I-spy-with-my-little-eye’ festivals for her grandkids.