September 27, 2006

Dum pastores odia exercent, lupus intrat ovile

In English: While the shepherds quarrel, the wolf enters the sheepfold.

I offer up this proverb as a commentary on the squabbles between the Democrats and the Republicans who seem to be spending a lot of time right now blaming each other for events gone by (who tried the hardest to catch bin Laden) instead of trying to figure out how to bring some peace into a world staggered by violence.

Of course, we are not just sheep. The poor sheep have to put up with the shepherds they have got. Unlike the sheep, we do have a choice in all this: we get to VOTE; sheep don't. Sadly, it's exactly because elections are coming that the shepherds are quarreling on television every night, when we would like some attention paid to the problems of the flock. Problems here and now: not the blame game of the past.

There's an Aesop's fable about shepherds that I've often thought about in relationship to both Afghanistan and Iraq, where we formerly armed the Taliban (because they were enemies of the Soviets) and where we formerly armed Hussein (because he was an enemy of Iran).
A shepherd found a little wolf cub and raised it. Then, when the cub was bigger he taught it to steal from his neighbours' flocks. Once he had learned how to do this, the wolf said to the shepherd, "Now that you have shown me how to steal, take care that many of your own sheep don't go missing!"
So it's not just that we are currently fighting wolves there in the Middle East - they are "our" wolves... or at least, they used to be. What a world we have made for ourselves.

And here is today's proverb read out loud:

1558. Dum pastores odia exercent, lupus intrat ovile.

The number here is the number for this proverb in Latin Via Proverbs: 4000 Proverbs, Mottoes and Sayings for Students of Latin.

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