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Lessons from History, Tranquil Ripples To Convulsive Tides

By Mirza A. Beg

03 November, 2006

Perhaps history channels through ‘Karma’

Yesterday’s sorrows haunt our tomorrows

Every breath starts a ripple

In the fabric of space and time

Countless little ripples

In quiet repose attenuate

To form tranquil pools of harmony

But in cumulative seething anger of injustice

They build colossal waves to wash away

The burden of mighty Empires

In violent convulsions

June 28 of 1914, was a fateful day

An unknown Serbian, blinded by nationalism

Chauvinistically claimed Bosnia for Serbia,

Shot the visiting Archduke Ferdinand

Heir to the Austrian Empire, in Sarajevo

The shot reverberated to convulse Europe

In arrogance, Austria threatened Serbia

Russia, in Slavic unity threatened Austria

In pride, Germany threatened Russia

Britain and France allies of Russia mobilized

Conceited, ‘civilized’ denizens of Europe

Fell to propaganda, a delusional phrase,

“A war to end all wars”. As cannon fodders,

They lined up to fall over the precipice

In an absurd march of folly

Imperial tyrannies spawn myriad ripples

To raise colossal tides of history

To crush formidable empires

Humbled arrogant Austria and Germany

And washed away the pompous rulers

Of shaky Russian and Turkish Empires

Lessons unheeded, keep on haunting

From generation to generation,

Thus came a greater World conflagration

To dismember Germany and incinerate Japan

In unimagined puffs of nuclear inferno

Mighty winners came up paupers too

British and the French shorn of empires

Confined to their national boundaries

Falling from grandeur of centuries past

New powers, Americans and the Soviets

Grappled to carve the world in bipolar halves

In proxy wars, destroying every innocence

Trampling the globe in a dance of death

The Korean, mid-East and the Vietnam Wars

Inflicting tyrants in the name of democracy

Selling arms, to those with no food

Sowing hunger, trampling hopes and dreams

Of unsuspecting millions in the web of lies

Then came the ‘generous’ Soviet invasion

Of Afghanistan, a graveyard of past empires

Pillaging and, slaughtering the proletariat

To liberate them, to enjoy the Soviet tyranny

The tortured sigh of the suffering Afghans

Crashed through to implode the Soviet Empire

In a cycle of ‘Karma’, oblivious of history

Blinkered citizens of the sole “Hyper-power”

Caught between arrogance of power and fear of 9/11

Succumb to an ignoramus bully at the cusp of history,

A fascistic slogan, “Those not with us are against us”

Concocted lies, for wars to create more wars

Maligning freedom, democracy and religion

To “Stay the course” to death and destruction

In validation of every evil in the name of good

Revenge for 3,000 American dead justifies killing

Hundreds of thousands and maiming millions in Iraq

Should the innocent dead Iraqis, be avenged?

Will the millions of ripples unite in a fateful tide?

To wash away the good that wrought so much evil?

Or will we learn, repent and avert the looming tide?

Mirza A. Beg can be reached at

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