12. ‘I say, would you mind … ?’
I love history, particularly its paradoxes.
You can look at history through all colours of lenses. You can be depressed at the lies of omission taught today in the schools of our ‘developed’ society. You can be outraged at past ‘values’ that saw shell-shocked seventeen-year-olds summarily executed as ‘deserters’ during World War One, or ‘errant’ slaves sawn in half, while still alive, in Atlanta. You can make an objective case that Churchill should have been hanged as a war criminal in 1945. You can also wonder what might have been if some attitudes hadn’t changed so fast.
Let me give you the case of Sir Hector MacDonald, commander of the British forces in Ceylon in 1903. He was a Boer War hero, but had been disgraced, ...