Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Assassination in Sarajevo

Today is the 98th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdiand and his wife in Sarajevo in 1914. My posts from previous years can be read at Sarajevo remembered  and at  Sarajevo anniversary.  There is an online account of the background to the murder and the events of the day and the aftermath at Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria ...


The Archduke and Duchess set out on their last journey



Image: news.ca.msn.com

Image: mrgiovanello.wikispaces.com

Doubtless plans are already being made to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in two years time, but i do wonder how much attention will be paid to the the sarajevo assassination rather than the experience of war as visited upon the peoples of Europe and beyond. Not to do so would be to miss acrucial point - the assault by revolutionary nationalism upon the established order, and the unprecedented disaster that was unleashed. None of us today is unaffected by the actions of that morning in Sarajevo. Princip and his fellow students and other conspirators, blinded by their narrow nationalist prejudices, engaged in the ultimate in gesture politics - this could not be excused as dealing with a direct personal grievance or insult, but a naive, warped idealism that thought the assassination the Heir would  be a gesture for their cause.  We are still paying the price.

Next time someone says that we are not bound to beleive anyone is actually in Hell, just remind them of Gavrilo Princip - because, in my humble opinion, for what it's worth, if anyone is in, or bound for, Hell it must be Princip. The Last Judgement is deferred until the end of time so that the full consequences of individual's actions can be assessed - and i don't see the odious figure of Gavrilo Princip wriggling out of what he did, even with the forgiveness of his victim's children.

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