Sacrifice! Says who? And why? Have ‘Grown-ups’ really ‘grown-up’? 28 January 2022.


The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things which matter for a nation – the great peaks we had forgotten, of Honour, Duty, Patriotism, and clad in glittering white, the great pinnacle of Sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven.

(David Lloyd George in his Queen’s Hall speech 19 September 1914)

“That was tripe, but the British, until recently, have been quite fond of tripe” writes Gerard DeGroot (‘Beware of history’s big ideas’, The Times 28 January 2017)

Margaret and David Lloyd George, Charles Mander the Third and Mary Mander at The Mount in 1918

God of Battle – plenty of devotees in 2022

Five Hymns, August 1914, No 1- Rilke (France)

For the first time I see you rising, Hearsaid, remote, incredible War God. How very thickly terrible action has been sown Among the peaceful fruits of the field, action suddenly grown to maturity.

Yesterday it was still small, needed nurture, now it is Standing there tall as a man: tomorrow It will outgrow man. For the glowing God Will suddenly tear his crop Out of the nation which gave it roots, and the harvest will begin. 

At last a God. Since we were often no longer able to grasp The peaceful God, the God of Battle suddenly grips us, Hurling his brand: and over the heart full of homeland

Screams his crimson heaven in which, thunderous, he dwells. 

Rilke by L Pasternak 1928

Evil? Holy -means ‘set apart’, to kill or murder in the name of a ‘God’ …

Evil (Le Mal) Rimbaud

While the red-stained mouths
of machine guns ring
Across the infinite expanse of day;
While red or green,
before their posturing King,
The massed battalions break and melt away;

And while a monstrous frenzy runs a course
That makes of a thousand men a smoking pile
— Poor fools! — dead, in summer, in the grass,
On Nature’s breast, who meant these men to smile;

There is a God, who smiles upon us through
The gleam of gold, the incense-laden air,
Who drowses in a cloud of murmured prayer,

And only wakes when weeping mothers bow
Themselves in anguish, wrapped in old black shawls —
And their last small coin into his coffer falls.

.…. or collect money from mourning mothers to bolster your wealth?

Aye, nothing changes since Arthur Rimbaud died 1891 – people still use their power to exploit others. Such exploitation is the embodiment of evil.

Arthur Rimbaud

The Tourist (BBC) – another excellent January mini-series, made in Australia.

Jamie Dornan in a Two Brothers Pictures Highview Productions All3Media South Australian Film Corporation BBC Studios ZDF Stan production. Was the first ‘The Fall’ way back in 2013!!!

In a nutshell: a man is pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. He wakes in hospital, hurt, really really really thirsty but somehow alive. However, he has no idea who he is, so he searches for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback of Australia.

Australian actor Danielle Macdonald played it really well. Brilliant Reminded me of the female heroes or is it anti-heroines of Fargo (Series 2)

 Kat George wrote of its cast of ‘female characters were written with such tender care and truth (even within the absurdity of the unfolding plot) that the show set a new standard for female heroes and anti-heroes.’ She concluded: ‘The world of Fargo is a violent one where even the wily don’t always survive. But the women of Fargo are the ones who left an indelible mark on its narrative.’ December 2015

Stay Close (Netflix 2021)

Cush Jumbo Richard Armitage James Nesbitt Sarah Parish

We liked it, especially as a late night binge watch over three nights – our son and his wife did it in two! Good cast (one of Sarah P’s best for years), keep-you-guessing story line, and enjoyed seeing Eddie Izard. Wanted to give it five stars, or at least 4.5. Except for Ken and Barbie – to keep us off balance, Harlan Coben explained! Spoilt it for us. They just didn’t fit in, portrayed like that. Made me think of someone trying to out-do Killing Eve. A blemish on a good production. As for a Ken and Barbie spin-off show, as some have suggested. Spare us. Not for us. **** it is then.

Time to reflect on the Covid-19 vaccines

7 January 2022 Oak Tree House

This morning I came across this – On 1 April 2020, ‘HORIZON: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine’ carried an article about the mRNA vaccines – first developed to fight cancer in humans, by the way.

It stressed the fact that only now (less than two years ago) are these vaccines beginning to be tested in humans, and that there are a lot of fairly basic unknowns which can only be answered through human trials. The following professor of microbiology was quoted many times in the piece:

Professor Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding –

Chair of the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) Scientific Committee

Head of Microbiology at Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, Langen, Germany

Fields of expertise

§ Immunology of infection & host-pathogen interaction

§ Clinical microbiology and infectious disease

§ Pharmaceutical microbiology

§ Regulation of vaccines and biomedicines

In relation to our innate immune response system, as humans, to the mRNA vaccine, Prof Isabelle said, twenty-one months ago:


“There is still a lot of work to be done to understand this response, the length of the protection it could give and whether there are any downsides.”


“What is really the current challenge, I think, is to understand whether these vaccines will really be able to mount a sufficiently protective immune response in the human and to understand, for example, which quantities of mRNA will be needed to do this.”

Prof Isabelle also stated that the mRNA is ‘easier and faster to produce” (than traditional vaccines) and is a “very unique way of making a vaccine and, so far, no such vaccine has been licenced for infectious disease.”

Professor Isabelle Bekeredjian-Ding –

I am not a conspiracy theorist neither am I anti-vaccines. The C19 emergency vaccine has helped save the lives of many of the most vulnerable in our society. We owe medical scientists, from many countries, a huge debt of gratitude, for the research, started many decades ago, that is still on-going, into the SARS virus.

As a practitioner of the ‘cura animarum’ (cure of souls), or in today’s language, the ‘care of the whole person’ (with a lifetime of research into the human condition, especially its vulnerabilities), I am a firm believer in the sovereignty, nay sacredness, of the freedom of choice that we have the privilege to exercise.

It is a gift that lies at the heart of ‘the human,’ as Professor Isabelle calls us.  

Whatever your opinion about, and health response to, SARS-Co-V-19, or Covid-19, as it is more popularly known, I believe it’s worth making time to reflect on Professor Isabelle’s words at the start of this new year.

It may help some of you as you struggle with the pros and cons of a third jab, or  ‘that booster’ as our politicians call it – and possibly a fourth jab in the Spring, by which time two years will have passed since  Professor Isabelle shared her opinions with us, as an expert in microbiology and infectious disease.

A Blessed and Better New Year to you all. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda.

(Rev’d Geraint ap Iorwerth BA MPhil (University of Wales, Cardiff)