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Date: 2024-05-21 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00024123
PETER BURGESS
1940 TO ....

Some of the big events during my lifetime


Collage newspaper clippings of historic headlines ... Ginevra Vacalebre

Original article:
Peter Burgess COMMENTARY (see also #22794)
I was born in 1940. We lived in Surbiton, a near suburb of London during the war. I was too young to understand much of what the war was all about, but my parent knew it all too well.

Foreogn Affairs is a little bit older than me, but essentially all the big stories for Foregn Affairs are ones that I knew about when they happened or soon thereafter. London and/or the UK was in the middle of a lot of the stories depicted above. By the time the stories moved to New York and the USA, I had migrated to New York and experienced these events as they happenned.

When I was about 8 years old (1948) my father delivered a speach at the local Rotary Club ... his subject was 'The Good Old Days' but his theme was quite the oppositie. My father had been a student of history and he was in a good position to contrast the state of society in the UK in 1948 with previous times and point out that while not everything was as good as it could be and should be, the situation in 1948 was a whole lot better for most people in 1949 than in most previous times. Yes ... there were problems and the British Empire was contracting (india's independence was 1947!) but the British Government was much more socially responsible in 1948 than it have ever been in history.

We seem to be in the middle of a replay of the scenario my father talked about 75 years ago. Yes ... the world has a whole host of problems, but the technological progress has been amazing and could be the foundation for a truly better world. Sadly, this is not happening simply because a relatively few people have control of most of the levers of power and the majority of us do not get to share the product of productivity in anything like a fair way. Some people think this will never change ... but I think that this is wrong. The evidence is that the world has become a better place over time, albeit not fast and not in a straight line. For me, the biggest misinformation there is, is that the 'free world' is in decline. We are 'free' to grumble, and modern technology enables the idea of 'decline' to spread without much meaningful debate.

The bad news hits the headlines but not so much the good news. I don't think I am too optimistic ... there are too many good nice people in this world and they are, in fact, winning.
Peter Burgess
Some of the big events during my lifetime



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