Sunday, August 17, 2008

Repetitive viscious history

[not for the squeamish of stomach]

I am reading this book Gilles de Rais: the Authentic Bluebeard by Jean Benedetti.

Part one is all about him growing up and being trained as a warrior and fighting with Joan of Arc. Part two is about his murdering young children:

In his confession Poitou [his page servant for years and years] gave the following description of what normally then took place:

He declared that the said Gilles de Rais, in order to practise his libidinous pleasure and unnatural vices on the said children, both boys and girls, first took his member in his hand and stroked it until it was erect, then placed it between the thighs of the said girls, rubbing his member on the bellies of the said boys and girls with great delight, vigour and libidinous pleasure until the sperm was ejaculated on their bellies.

He declared that before perpetrating his debauches on the said boys and girls, to prevent them from crying out, and so that they should not be heard, the said Gilles de Rais sometimes hung them up by the neck with ropes, with his own hand, from a hook. Then he would take them down and pretend to comfort them, assuring them that he wished them no harm, but quite the reverse; that he wanted to play with them, and in this manner he prevented them from crying out.

He declared that when the said Gilles de Rais, the accused, committed his horrible debauches and sins of luxury he afterwards killed them or had them killed.

Asked by whom, he replied that sometimes the accused Gilles killed them with his own hand, sometimes he had them killed by the said Sille, or by Henriet [another bodyservant], or by the witness himself...

Asked in what manner, he replied sometimes by decapitating them, sometimes by cutting their throats, sometimes by dismembering them, sometimes by breaking their necks with a stick, and that there was a weapon specially for their execution....

And it goes on.. I couldn't eat the day I started this chapter. Come to find out that our first-year class field trip was between Blois and Tours, France, and his estate was bascially from from here to here, and the majority of the murders just miles from our scenic field trip.

So, little more to say than my living has been punctuated with battles of yore and evil doings by the powerful who can escape questioning or accusation because of their own status in society, and the peasants who were kind of grateful to have another-mouth-to-feed taken off their hands. A precarious and strange place for the poor. On the one hand, take the kid into your stead (given promises of their becoming rich, fed well, worked well, taken care of), on the other hand, letting an offspring go with no idea of their future. It was - slightly - different times then. Yes, definitely different but also not so far fetched from now.

A friend recently commented on how biased the media in both Russia and Georgia were. I replied "RE: media bias in both countries (all countries for that matter)...

Reading a book on Gilles de Rais. In 1420, a war between two families in France, ' was decided that [the] immediate task was to raise an army of 50,000 men. This is an enormous figure for the period and probably represents wishful thinking rather than fact. It was common practice in the Chronicles of the time to exaggerate the number of soldiers involved in any engagement and to falsify casualty lists in in favour of whichever side one happened to be writing for. Everyone knew and nobody cared.'

Seems we haven't come very far in 600 years."

If things come in so many repetitive circles how are we to be inspired to change anything at all?

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