Thursday, July 31

Happy Mother's Day! History's most inspiring letters of motherly advice

Diya, Kannu

This is a fascinating collection of letters written by mothers to their children. Worth reading. Fathers write to share lessons, women write to share emotions. I think. I might be wrong but there you go. 

Some of the letters are very very thought provoking. Can you imagine writing to your children? 



Happy Mother's Day! History's most inspiring letters of motherly advice, the surprising science of motivation, Raymond Chandler on writing, and more

Last year, we celebrated Father’s Day with an omnibus of history’s finest letters of fatherly advice, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Jackson Pollock, and Neil Armstrong. Later adding to them was more timeless epistolary advice from notable dads like Ted Hughes, Sherwood Anderson, Richard Dawkins, and Charles Dickens.

It’s only fitting to honor Mother’s Day with a similarly spirited selection of history’s finest motherly advice, spanning nearly half a millennium of poignant and prescient counsel from notable moms.

From Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters (public library), which also gave us the author’s surprising report card, comes this remarkable 1969 missive she penned aboard an airplane for her daughter Linda to revisit later in life:

Dear Linda,

I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you – someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me. And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) – I want to say back.

1st I love you.

2. You never let me down.

3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 with a dead mother who I needed still… .

This is my message to the 40 year old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it – wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life – I wrote unhappy – but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda – Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you 40 year old, Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are!—Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart – I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her – or she me! Silly Anne! So there!



Wednesday, July 30

Radhabinod Pal

You won't hear about pal son. Not easily. But strangely enough, the judges who write dissenting opinions are perhaps more erudite, more brilliant, more principled than the judges who write the majority opinion. I've read several opinions in the Indian, British and american supreme courts and that's what comes across firmly. 

Justice Pal was one person like this. Brilliant man. When you get a chance son. Read his 250k word judgement. Reason, clarity and thought and logic. That's where civilisation differs from the religious law idiots who run after sharia or Hindu or Christian law. Know this son, anybody who demands religious laws is a bigot and a discriminatory illiterate arsehole. It's our duty to fight against these morons. 

But back to Pal. He fought against the idea that history is written by the victors. See? Reason. The Americans think that they were innocent but nope. There's another book out which talks about how the american soldiers created a wave of rape after landing in France. So while USA does great things, it's not totally innocent either. Life and history aren't that clear cut. 



Radhabinod Pal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Justice Radha Binod Pal (27 January 1886 – 10 January 1967) was an Indianjurist. He was the Indian member appointed to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East’s trials of Japanese war crimes committed during thesecond World War. Among all the judges of the tribunal, he was the only one who submitted a judgment which insisted all defendants were not guilty. TheYasukuni Shrine and the Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine has monuments specially dedicated to Justice Pal.

Tuesday, July 29

The Lost Lessons of “Black Hawk Down”


A good military lesson for the Americans and the British actually. 

Besides that historical lesson, what parallels do I draw? 

Shit happens. It will always happen. People will die and lose jobs and typhoons will happen. 

The point is to hold your nerve. Victory is in the mind son. And technology isn't the panacea. I fix organisations. It's very little to do with technology. It's all in the mind. People need to change behaviours. 

We keep on forgetting the lessons of the past son. Smart people learn from the mistakes of others. 



The Lost Lessons of “Black Hawk Down”

The Lost Lessons of

The Lost Lessons of "Black Hawk Down"

Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Battle of Mogadishu, the American operation in Somalia later immortalized by Mark Bowden’s seminal non-fiction book “Black Hawk Down” and dramatized in Ridley Scott’s exhilarating but slightly less non-fictional movie of the same name. On October 3, 1993, 160 U.S. Army Rangers and other special operations forces launched what was supposed to be a routine raid to capture two lieutenants of Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed. But when two MH-60L helicopters providing fire support were shot down, the operation became a desperate search and rescue mission in which U.S. forces were besieged overnight by thousands of heavily armed Somali militiamen. Fourteen hours after the operation’s start, eighteen Americans were dead, 84 were wounded, and one pilot was missing.

The incredible valor and drama of Task Force Ranger’s ordeal over those two days has, unfortunately, tended to draw attention away from the broader campaign to capture Aideed, whom U.S. and international forces had been hunting since the previous June, when Aideed’s Somali National Alliance ambushed and mutilated 24 Pakistani peacekeepers . This manhunt was part of a broader operation which – along with the “Black Hawk Down” battle itself – carries important tactical, operational, and strategic lessons. As debates rage about intervention in Syria and the renewed threat posed by Somali-based al-Shabaab, the 20th anniversary of the most dramatic U.S. military operation between Vietnam and  Afghanistan offers an important opportunity to revisit those lessons, which remain relevant two decades later.

Lesson One: Technology Does Not Guarantee Success