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War and Peace

     My reputation as a dog-despiser is well-deserved, but I was deeply moved by a TV news item on dogs in the Barcelona pound. Utterly charming little things, paws up against the bars, wagging their tails and looking longingly and hopefully for a new owner they could love. I would have bought one myself. They were in the news because the pound owners were charged with throwing them into the crematorium alive. Their excuse? It cost too much to anesthetize them. A holocaust, a mini-Holocaust. Human nature. Original sin.
     Then, by coincidence, came a splendid interview with a survivor of Schindler's List. who now lives in Sacramento. He told how as a boy he had owned a dog. A Nazi officer took it from him. Years later, as he and a group were being marched away, the Nazi giving orders was the same one, with the same dog, which he recognized by its markings. When the dog saw him, it rushed over and greeted his old master with canine demonstrations of affection. In Washington or in a concentration camp, if you want a friend, buy a dog.
     All Spain was mourning the death of a young army officer, killed by an ETA car bomb. His attractive widow gave a TV interview, which was broadcast all over Spain. She mourned his death and told of their love for their children. She was a mater dolorosa.
     Throughout Spain millions met silently to express the hope that peace would prevail. They held up their hands in white gloves, in contrast with the bloody hands of ETA. It was the U.N. Peace Day, marking the anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi at the hands of a Hindu fanatic.
     Original sin. Amazing grace. Will it be granted?

Ronald Hilton - 1/28/00