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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Hilton Obenzinger <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Mar 2003 16:23:38 -0800
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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Speculating how Twain or any other author might respond to contemporary
politics is always interesting -- and, in a way, a form of useful
criticism, just so long as we can tell the difference between supposition
and imposition.  It also matters WHICH Twain, the one who went to the
Sandwich Islands as a pro-annexationist or the one who denounced the
massacre on Jolo.  Interestingly, when the US recently announced it was
sending troops to fight in the Philippines, an uproar broke out, since the
Philippines constitution forbids foreign troops fighting on the islands.  I
haven't heard what happened, what attempt at twisting language in order to
get away with the deed, but I believe that there was some attempt at making
the US troops part of an "exercise" -- just an exercise that happens to
shoot at people.  Does anyone know the status of the situation?  They were
to be sent to Jolo, and the New York Times reported that memories of "The
Moro Massacre" that Twain denounced are fresh on the island.  How
eerie.  All in all, I can feel confident that the elderly Twain would
denounce the dispatch of those troops -- and he would pour sarcasm on the
"coalition of the willing" while equally skewering Saddam Hussein's
tyranny.  And he would still retain the honor of being denounced as
unpatriotic, even a traitor, and he would be proud.

Hilton Obenzinger
Stanford University