On Omaha Beach, the French have put up two monuments—one traditional and one more modern. The beach itself is open and used. People traverse the beach and dip their feet in its cold water. Small children play in the sand. There is ample parking for tourists. There are places to buy souvenirs. And not so distant from the epicentre of the beach and its monuments—people have private homes. Maybe some of those homes are condominiums—I don’t know. What this means is that at some point, temporally and geographically, the mourning and the monuments must run out. Yes, the dead are buried. But the earth belongs in usufruct to the living.
2 thoughts on “Seth Barrett Tillman: <i>Some Reflections on Trump and his North Korean Condominiums</i>”
A year of so ago when people were looking for the missing Marines on Tarawa (Betio Island?) it was thought their remains might me under some homes.
This reminds me of something I read some time back by the Roman stoic Seneca, whose book Jefferson supposedly had on his nightstand when he died.
Those who have never attained their mental independence begin, in the first place, by following the leader in cases where everyone has deserted the leader; then, in the second place, they follow him in matters where the truth is still being investigated. However, the truth will never be discovered if we rest contented with discoveries already made. Besides, he who follows another not only discovers nothing but is not even investigating. What then? Shall I not follow in the footsteps of my predecessors? I shall indeed use the old road, but if I find one that makes a shorter cut and is smoother to travel, I shall open the new road. Men who have made these discoveries before us are not our masters, but our guides. Truth lies open for all; it has not yet been monopolized. And there is plenty of it left even for posterity to discover.
However, Jefferson is saying that truth isn’t so much discovered by the pilgrim as it is abducted by the exile. This makes some sense coming from someone fighting the bonds of tyranny. It may make some sense for North Koreans breaking free from their own slave society.
For the French I’m not so sure. They’re aren’t paving over their old masters but the memories of the fight to break free of them.
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