War Zone III

Continua a publicação ("em directo" 70 anos depois, no site http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/) dos diários de George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial.
Aqui os seus relatos dos ultimos dias: os bombardeamentos de Londres, a guerra no Norte da África (Egipto, Líbia, Benghazi, Tobruk, hoje em dia de novo "War Zone"...). Alguns leitores reagem em comentários, dirigindo-se directamente a Orwell, como se ele ainda estivesse vivo hoje, impressionante e quanto a mim uma homenagem ao escritor!

Very heavy raid last night, probably the heaviest in many months, so far as London is concerned…Bomb in Lord’s cricket ground (school-boys having their exercise at the nets as usual this morning, a few yards from the crater) and another in St. John’s Wood churchyard. This one luckily didn’t land among the graves, a thing I have been dreading will happen…Passed this morning a side-street somewhere in Hampstead with one house in it reduced to a pile of rubbish by a bomb – a sight so usual that one hardly notices it. The street is cordoned off, however, digging squads at work, and a line of ambulances waiting. Underneath that huge pile of bricks there are mangled bodies, some of them perhaps alive. The guns kept up their racket nearly all night…Today I can find no one who admits to having slept last night, and E[ileen] says the same. The formula is: “I never closed my eyes for an instant”. I believe this is all nonsense. Certainly it is hard to sleep in such a din, but E[ileen] and I must have slept quite half the night.

Last night went to the pub to listen to the 9 o’clock news, and arriving there a few minutes late, asked the landlady what the news had been. “Oh, we never turn it on. Nobody listens to it, you see. And they’ve got the piano playing in the other bar, and they won’t turn it off just for the news.” This at a moment when there is a most deadly threat to the Suez canal°. Cf. during the worst moment of the Dunkirk campaign, when the barmaid would not have turned on the news unless I had asked her… [1] Cf. also the time in 1936 when the Germans re-occupied the Rhineland. I was in Barnsley at the time. I went into a pub just after the news had come through and remarked at random, “The German army has crossed the Rhine”. With a vague air of remembering something someone murmured “Parley-voo”. [2] No more response than that…So also at every moment of crisis from 1931 onwards. You have all the time the sensation of kicking against an impenetrable wall of stupidity. But of course at times their stupidity has stood them in good stead. Any European nation situated as we are would have been squealing for peace long ago.
[1] See War-time Diary, 28.5.40 and 24.6.40.
[2] Refrain from World War I song ‘Mademoiselle from Armentiѐres,’ or ‘Armenteers,’ as it was sung. Peter Davison

The news today is appalling. The Germans are at the Egyptian frontier and a British force in Tobruk has the appearance of being cut off, though this is denied from Cairo. [1] Opinion is divided as to whether the Germans really have an overwhelming army in Libya, or whether they have only a comparatively small force while we have practically nothing, most of the troops and fighting vehicles having been withdrawn to other fronts as soon as we had taken Benghazi. In my opinion the latter is the likelier, and also the probability is that we sent only European troops to Greece and have chiefly Indians and Negroes in Egypt. D., speaking from a knowledge of South Africa, thinks that after Benghazi was taken the army was removed not so much for use in Greece as to polish off the Abyssinian campaign, and that the motive for this was political, to give the South Africans, who are more or less hostile to us, a victory to keep them in good temper. If we can hang on to Egypt the whole thing will have been worth while for the sake of clearing the Red Sea and opening that route to American ships. But the necessary complement to this is the French West African ports, which we could have seized a year ago almost without fighting. Non-aggression pact between Russia and Japan, the published terms of which are vague in the extreme. But there must presumably be a secret clause by which Russia agrees to abandon China, no doubt gradually and without admitting what is happening, as in the case of Spain. Otherwise it is difficult to see what meaning the pact can have. From Greece no real news whatever. One silly story about a British armoured-car patrol surprising a party of Germans has now been repeated three days running.
[1] General Rommel’s troops encircled Tobruk on 12 April. The British forces had been swept out of Cyrenaica very rapidly (their strength having been depleted to send a force to Greece). However, Tobruk held out until relieved on 4 December 1941. Peter Davison

No real news at all about either Greece or Libya… Of the two papers I was able to procure today, the Sunday Pictorial was blackly defeatist and the Sunday Express not much less so. Yesterday’s Evening Standard has an article by “Our Military Correspondent”… which was even more so. All this suggests that the newspapers may be receiving bad news which they are not allowed to pass on…God knows it is all a ghastly mess. The one thing that is perhaps encouraging is that all the military experts are convinced that our intervention in Greece is disastrous, and the military experts are always wrong. When the campaign in the Near East is settled one way or the other, and the situation is in some way stabilised, I shall discontinue this diary. It covers the period between Hitler’s spring campaigns of 1940 and 1941. Some time within the next month or two a new military and political phase must begin. The first six months of this diary covered the quasi-revolutionary period following on the disaster in France. Now we are evidently in for another period of disaster, but of a different kind, less intelligible to ordinary people and not necessarily producing any corresponding political improvement. Looking back to the early part of this diary, I see how my political predictions have been falsified, and yet, as it were, the revolutionary changes that I expected are happening, but in slow motion. I made an entry, I see, implying that private advertisements would have disappeared from the walls within a year. They haven’t, of course – that disgusting Famel Cough Syrup advert, is still plastered all over the place, also He’s Twice the Man on Worthington and Somebody’s Mother isn’t Using Persil – but they are far fewer, and the government posters far more numerous. Connolly said once that intellectuals tend to be right about the direction of events but wrong about their tempo, which is very true. [1] Registering on Saturday, with the 38 group, I was appalled to see what a scrubby-looking lot they were. A thing that strikes one when one sees a group like this, picked out simply by date of birth, is how much more rapidly the working classes age. They don’t, however, live less long, or only a few years less long, than the middle class. But they have an enormous middle age, stretching from thirty to sixty.
[1] Connolly not only said but wrote this: ‘For the weak point in the judgment of intellectuals is that they tend to be right about the course of events, but wrong about their tempo’ (Comment, Horizon, September 1940, p. 83). Peter Davison

The idea that the German troops in Libya, or some of them, got there via French ships and French African territory, is readily accepted by everyone that one suggests it to. Absolutely no mention of any such possibility in the press, however. Perhaps they are still being instructed to pipe down on criticisms of Vichy France. The day before yesterday saw fresh-water fish (perch) for sale in a fishmonger’s shop. A year ago English people, i.e. town people, wouldn’t have touched such a thing.

E de repente as nossas "War Zones" pessoais são reduzidas a proporções insignificantes...

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