Pride comes before the Fall !



When I read a news paper or see the TV news nowadays, I get the feeling, we live at the the edge of something big.  We live at the edge of a political and historical cataclysm. Whether we go over the edge will depend on cool heads and people who’s thinking is not dictated by pride.


And it is our (false) PRIDE, I believe,  that lead us to it. It happened that they were discussing “pride” last night on our ABC in the series “Jennifer Byrne Presents“. We all think our country is the best, our system is the best, our God is the best and our weapons (read penises) are the best.  The implications here are “male pride” and women and children have to suffer for it.

No wonder we have come to the juncture that is our contemporary world. A hospital, in Gaza, is shelled or a passenger plane (MH 17) is shot down with no regard to the lives of people and a possible later historical outcome. One hundred years ago a series of shots rang out at Sarajevo that changed the world for ever. It was pure Serbian pride that lead that young man to his deadly deed. And it was pure Austrian pride that  made Franz Ferdinand parade in that city.


The re-emergence of hurt German pride after WW I  lead to WW II.


Whoever shot down MH 17 did it out of pride. We can do it, they thought and to hell with everybody else. We in the West like pointing at Russia and Putin (do you notice that the letters “Ras” are missing in front of Putin?) and claim  they are to blame. I think Putin is smarter than this. While not running away from conflict  with the West, he nevertheless is not looking for it. I’m  sure, when he heard of the downing of MH 17 he was storming in a big rage through the Kremlin. He himself is full of pride and that leads him into strife because he does not think what is good for all, but what looks good for him. And right now he is thinking how he could use the situation to his advantage.


We  in the West are not smart enough to consider a way out for people whose false pride  lead them into trouble . We could learn something from a lion tamer who always gives a dangerous animal a way out: jump on another seat or take another position.


The USA is full of pride ( cynics would say “shit”) and it is dangerous when a former world power is on a slippery dip to mediocrity.  In a country where they say, the second place getter is the first loser, you must have nightmares that someone, somewhere is overtaking you. I feel sorry for President Obama, who must be asking himself, why he ever nominated to be a candidate for President of the United States. Well, seeing him at the convention I must say, it was sheer pride.


And  then there is Israel. In 1948 it became the homeland for the displaced Jews from the war ravaged Europe. The inoffensive Jews of the diaspora became the aggressive Israelis who had no compassion for their Palestinian  fellow citizens who had taken them in in friendship and good will.


Seventy years ago there was an uprising in Warsaw. Polish pride lead the resistance movement onto a suicide mission. They did not know the Russians wanted  them destroyed  and the Germans were just the right people to do it.  A year earlier Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto staged an uprising on their own against the Nazis. It was not so much pride as pure desperation.

When I look at today’s news I’m reminded of those two uprisings and the behaviour of the occupiers. Gaza is being destroyed, as was Warsaw – street by street , house by house. You would think the Jews among the Israelis have learned something in the diaspora. They only repeat the mistakes of others. Of course, if you declare someone your enemy, your pride tells you,  you must give them no quarter.


No quarter is given in the Ukraine either. Did you have a closer look at those separatists?  They bristle with pride as they fondle their automatic weapons as teenagers would play with their erect members.  The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is  full of false pride himself, promising  that we , the Australians, will recover the bodies and  the evidence and will bring the perpetrators to justice.  I can tell him right now, that won’t happen. He will have to swallow his pride and tell the people of Australia he can not accomplish the mission. If he tries a military solution he must be prepared to see his elite soldiers coming home in body bags, if at all. Russia has been the grave yard for many.

Here in Australia, with no neighbours we have to deal with, chest thumping is a well understood pastime, especially during the Commonwealth Games.  We are the greatest, but don’t get the idea coming here to live among us. Aussie pride is a great confidence builder, but in the wider world out there, we would have to learn to swallow our pride.


Mankind, as a whole, has not learnt much since biblical times and that is why “Pride” is still one of the deadly sins.

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11 thoughts on “Pride comes before the Fall !

  1. priceless words of wisdom. it is really sad to see that jews, the most horribly treated people acting like ruthless oppressors, killing innocent children… its really sad and they should change their ways before they lose sympathy of those who truly weep for holocaust victims, and bleed within for their pain and sufferings.

    • Thank you for commenting, Robert. The word “pride” is somehow not enough on its own. It has such a wide spectrum. Perhaps in ancient times they had more than one word for it in Hebrew or Aramaic. If one stays humble in ones pride than I assume all is fine. But if it becomes hubris than arrogance is not far away and in the case of countries nationalism rears is ugly head.

  2. “And it was pure Austrian pride that made Franz Ferdinand parade in that city.”

    Nope the Austrians had arranged to dangle him out in an open car WITHOUT protection – his death provided a wanted excuse to blame and attack Serbia.
    The Archduke was not liked and not mourned – neither he nor his morganatic wife. The Austrian and German military and intelligence officials had long wanted war. The Archduke actually stood in the way: he didn’t want war with Serbia because he was worried about Russia. Plus he was considering bringing Serbs/Slavs into the empire with Austrians and Hungarians.
    Gavrilo Princip was a stupid failed student. He did have grievances with the Austrian Empire though as his grandfather was killed by them.
    He was also a lousy shot. When he was practicing his aim was so bad that observers were laughing at how far he missed the target.
    But of course that didn’t matter as the Austrian intelligence arranged to have the car drive right to him, then stop in front of him and stay stopped so he could stride up to the car and shoot at point blank range. That was the only way the group of mostly teen-aged failed students could get the “deed” done and Austria would finally have an excuse to a war in had wanted for years.

    • Hi JJ, thanks for commenting. What you write about is right on the personal level of the people involved. The activities of certain circles in Germany and Austria are all part of it.

      In those days it was normal that royal people travelled in open carriages. It was a coincidence that the duke’s car stopped in front of Gavrilo Princip who was already on the way home. The whole story would be so banal if it wasn’t so tragic for the whole world.

      But why did they feel like that? National pride, after a long period of successful development, led to it. Germany and Austria felt they should not be denied “a place in the sun”. Hubris and nationalism, all developments from “Pride”, can spread throughout the communities and become motivations for people that feel they have a grievance.

      One should be very careful with one’s feelings before acting out revenge.

      The assassination of the Archduke should have been resolved by a police investigation.

  3. i fully agree with you, because every one with a heart can feel the pain and senseless torture that jews have faced. They too should feel that and not add more fuel to death’s pyre.

    is your new blog?

  4. Wars happen when people remain silent. Diplomacy hasn’t worked for the Palestinians who are now pushed into total annihilation by Israel. I can’t see how this can be stopped without a world wide condemnation of what the Israelis are doing.
    Good post dear Berlioz.

    • I don’t know about “people remain silent”. Before the Iraq war people all over the world demonstrated against it. We were at a rally in Sydney together with 350,000 others and in the news I heard Howard calling us “mob”. I did not see anybody who could have been described as “Mob”.

      One hundred years after the beginning of WW I the world is very close to another one. Even in Germany, where you would think people had learnt their lesson, the media is calling for teaching Putin a lesson.

      I think it is them, who slept through the history lessons.

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