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Thought for the weekend: The triumphant warrior

By Allen Sleith

I was pondering whether or not to purchase a book from an online seller.

I scrolled down through the reviews posted by other customers and was particularly struck by a phrase in one of them which said: "It's all very well being a keyboard warrior."

His point being that the critical remarks of another reviewer were beside the point if not downright wrong. Recent technological advances now mean that almost anyone can be an armchair critic (and a coward to boot) but quickly gain a worldwide audience.

The gains and benefits of modern media are obvious and welcome but the sinister or shadow sides go hand in hand too.

And so the moderately well informed, or worse, can scoff at or undermine whatever takes their fancy.

Of course our politicians make mistakes but it's too easy just to condemn them with a superior smirk. Doubtless many who wield the levers of power and influence fall short of the best ideals, but the fickle-fingered who quickly turn to social media are far from being society's judge, jury and executioner.

Similar shifts are evident in modern conflict and warfare.

It would be crass to be nostalgic about how combatants used to face each other on the field of battle - quite literally eyeballing each other or grappling hand to hand.

But now the grossest casualties are caused by remote control - think of how many civilians and soldiers have been killed or injured by IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

Surely the words of Theodore Roosevelt are still apt: "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Belfast Telegraph


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