29 May 17

“Poker Rules are strict, but simple:

Poker asks, nay, commands all its adherents to cut the BS and embrace reality. It will toy with the deluded (those who have everything ‘figured out’) with the playful cruelty of a cat toying with a mouse. So, bring all your convictions and credentials, your anger and insecurities, your pride, vanity, and self-righteousness to the poker table, and Poker Gods will tease you, and mock you, and insult you, and exhaust you, and fill you with false hope, and prove you wrong again and again, and send you to the ATM more than a few times, before finally dismissing you, broke and bitter, at 5:00am.”

Katya G Cohen


What we call the “Second Anglo-Boer War” in South Africa saw the British Military pitted against indigenous Boer (Dutch) settlers. It started in the fall of 1899 and ended, at least officially, in May of 1902.

Dutch settlers called themselves “Afrikaners.”

An earlier, and briefer, armed struggle between the same two antagonists, and for largely the same reasons (the “‘First’ Anglo-Boer War, or the “Transvaal Rebellion”) lasted less than four months in early 1881, and ended, like most armed conflicts, is a hopelessly unworkable “truce.”

As noted above, armed hostilities predictably broke-out anew twenty years later.

The British Army’s widespread use, during the Second Boer War, of a “scorched-earth” policy of destroying farms, livestock, and herding Afrikaner non-combatants (women and children) into concentration camps and then deliberately starving them to death understandably led to long-lasting enmity between British and Dutch South Africans. When I first starting going to South Africa in 1998, my British and Dutch friends were still, even then, barely on speaking terms!

While the Second Boer War “officially” ended on 31 May 1902, with the Treaty of Vereeniging, and in 1910, with the emergence of the ostensibly united “Union of South Africa,” deep-seated resentment persisted among Afrikaners, particularly “Bitterenders,” who kept on fighting the British after the Truce was signed, some for years afterward!

Smouldering Afrikaner Bitterenders revolted anew as late as 1914 (just as WW1 was starting) in the short-lived “Maritz Rebellion.” In view of hostilities rapidly erupting in Europe, the British had scant patience with armed insurrections in remote corners of the world. The Maritz Rebellion was quickly, and decisively, put down!

Nearly simultaneously (1916), a similar revolt, this time in Ireland (the Easter Rising), met with a similar lack of humor on the part of the British! It was also ruthlessly put down, with many casualties among non-combatants.

The “untold story” of most wars is that bitterness and active fighting almost never ends while the ink is still wet on whatever “treaty” ostensibly ends hostilities. Typically, “Bitterenders” carry the fight on, albeit hopelessly, but sometimes for years!

A small garrison of German troops, manning a weather station on remote Bear Island in the Barents Sea, and out of radio contact for months, peacefully gave themselves up to a startled group of Norwegian seal hunters on 4 Sept 1945, 119 days after VE Day!

As late as April of 1947, pitiful remnants of the once-powerful Japanese garrison on the Pacific island of Peleliu (invaded and conquered by US Marines, with hideous casualties on both sides, in November of 1944), unexpectedly attacked a US Marine patrol. Attackers (thirty-three in all, starving, disease-ridden, and mostly naked) were finally persuaded to surrender, but only after a Japanese admiral was brought in to talk with their contentious commander, Lt Ei Yamaguchi, and ultimately convince him that the War had long-since ended.

In April of 1980, on the Philippine island of Mindoro, Captain Fumio Nakahira, of the Imperial Japanese Army was discovered in his remote mountain hide-out, ageing and in poor health. He finally surrendered, thirty-five years after the end of the War in the Pacific!

Contrary to adolescent expectations of self-righteous politicians (most of whom never wore their Country’s uniform, nor ever fired a shot in anger), wars cannot be “turned on,” proceed predictably, then “turned off,” all on an arbitrary time-table. Once started, wars take-on an unconfined personality all their own, with unforeseeable implications, few of which will submit to naive wishes of original participants!

“Belief in the a short, decisive war is the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions.

Robert Lynd