Mass Murder

     Is there any way to understand the mass murders in the Middle East today – mass murders that have been going on for centuries?
     Sure there is.
     But you can’t look directly at it.
     You have to look out the corner of an eye. Over mountains of corpses.
     And not just in the Middle East.
     Six hundred and ten years ago a fellow in Paris decided to keep a journal about the news. It was the year 1405. He kept his journal for 40 years.
     He was a smart guy, probably a priest. No one knows his name.
     Historians call him The Paris Bourgeois, as though there were no other Parisian bourgeois around then.
     Great little book. Man stripped to his essence.
     Hunger. Food. War. The price of firewood. Wolves on the streets.
     What does the Paris Bourgeois tell us about life today?
     What does he tell us about mass murder?
     Which the murderers will always disguise as something good?
     He tells us the same old story.
     Here was the situation when the Paris bourgeois started writing.
     France was torn by civil war.
     It was fighting a 100-Year War against England.
     The English had invaded, and controlled Paris. The French were fighting against themselves.
     You couldn’t step outside town walls anywhere without being robbed and murdered. Or eaten by wolves.
     People ate each other, if necessary.
     Our priest, a keen observer, started out supporting the Duke of Burgundy, and a mortal enemy of the other side, the Orleanists, from Armagnac.
     But after 40 years of war, the priest saw both sides invite the foreign invaders.
     He saw that they were all liars and hypocrites and criminals.
     The Paris Bourgeois never said it quite that way, of course.
     But he came to see it that way.
     You can see his mind being formed by the events outside his journal.
     The Paris Bourgeois gave up on his side, then switched to the other side, then gave up on both of them.
     So he switched to a third side: the Dauphin: the son of the King!
     He watched him for a few years, and gave up on him too.
     The land was ravaged by war.
     “The poor people suffered, and could do nothing about it,” the Paris Bourgeois says again and again.
     So what else is news?

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