Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Wheel turns...

"The wheel of fortune turns round incessantly, and who can say to himself, I shall today be uppermost?"

- Confucius

If you prefer a Western version, there's the Rota Fortunae, which is featured prominently in Orff's Carmina Burana.


Why am I thinking about this? Check out these stories from yesterday's paper:

1. "Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced Monday to seven years in jail and banned for life from public office by an Italian court that convicted him of paying for sex with an underage woman and then abusing his power in trying to cover it up."

2. "Pakistan's newly elected leader said treason charges would be brought against the former army chief who ousted him in a coup 14 years ago, a potentially risky move that aims to solidify civilian control and deter future interventions by the military.
Pakistan's prime minister said Monday that the government plans to put Pervez Musharraf, seen above in an election banner, on trial for treason, setting up a possible clash with the country's powerful army.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told parliament on Monday that retired general and ex-President Pervez Musharraf had violated Pakistan's constitution, calling him the "last dictator" of a country that has been ruled for half of its existence by the military.

The planned prosecution is a dramatic reversal of fortunes for a man who led Pakistan for nearly nine years, and a sign of the country's democratic evolution.

As army chief in 1999, Mr. Musharraf was able to oust a prime minister, Mr. Sharif, who had a two-thirds majority in parliament. Now, Mr. Sharif is back in power, following elections in May, and Mr. Musharraf is under arrest. Mr. Sharif's decision to press treason charges could end up sending his nemesis to the gallows."

3. "Yoo Young-bok's worn hands and gnarled fingernails are the only visual clues of his 47 years spent working in North Korean mines.
Mr. Yoo, 82 years old, is one of an estimated 24,000 South Korean prisoners-of-war that North Korea didn't repatriate after the signing of the Korean War armistice, 60 years ago in July. Most were put to work in mines in the north of the country, where many died. A few hundred are thought to still be alive in North Korea.


Mr. Yoo's own story is one of cruel twists of fate and stubborn survival instincts. Trapped in Seoul in June 1950 when the North invaded, he was press-ganged into the North Korean army.

He deserted soon after and spent two years in South Korean prisons because he fought for the North. On his release he was drafted into the South Korean army and posted to a frontline position. Just over a month before the armistice was signed he was captured in an ambush by Chinese troops sent to support the North Korean army.

Along with other POWs, Mr. Yoo was sent to work in mines in North Korea doing jobs such as pushing carts and drilling in treacherous conditions. Deaths from cave-ins, suffocation and exhaustion were nearly daily occurrences, he recalls."


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