Quote of the day

Even now the Cossack families claim relationsship with the Chechens, and the love of freedom, of leisure, of plunder and of war, still form their chief characteristics. Only the harmful side of Russian influence is apparent – by interference at elections, by confiscation of church bells, and by the troops who are quartered in the country, or march through it.

A Cossack is inclined to hate less the dzhigit hillsman, who maybe has killed his brother, than the soldier quartered on him to defend his village, but who has defiled his hut with tobacco smoke. He respects his enemy the hillsman, and despises the soldier; who is in his eyes an alien and an oppressor. In reality, from a Cossack’s point of view, a Russian peasant is a foreign, savage, despeciable creature, of whom he sees a sample in the hawkers who come to the country, and in the Little-Russian immigrants whom the Cossack contemptously calls “woolbeaters”.

From Tolstoy, The Cossacks.

When I read the above passage, the word ‘Iraq’ just popped into my head. I wonder why…


July 6, 2008 - Posted by | Books

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