Friday, June 11, 2010

A Long and Big Tail

I mentioned in the last post that I was reading a book called The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land because I wanted to understand that period of world history better.  There is much that could be said about that time period and the book, but I wanted to make a point.   One can never know at the time, what impact their actions or words might have over the following months, years, decades and centuries.   Actions on a single day and actions by a single person can ripple through history.

As part of the first crusades, in July of 1099 the Latin's broke through the defenses of Jerusalem and proceeded to kill a large number of the inhabitants of the city.  The Muslims and Jews and anyone else who was inside the city walls were killed on that day.   Historical accounts range from 70,000 killed to perhaps as few as 3,000.  In any case, all agree that the killings that followed were barbaric and that men, women and children were killed.    That day, and those events still echo through history with the word crusades having a terrible meaning in parts of the world.   The books points out that the impact of the events didn't seem as large at that time, but they've become larger over time.

I can't begin to understand the rationale for such terrible behavior yet there are plenty of examples of such actions by both sides throughout those years and throughout history.   Similarly good events have echoed when someone develops a vaccine to prevent millions from dying or someone stands in the gap and brokers peace between individuals or countries.

As mentioned recently, I was re-reading The Shack and lifted a quote from that book that relates.

Every action we take changes everything that follows.

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