|The cathedral of Mainz burns, by Georg Schneider (ca. 1800)|
Safranski writes that there is no independent witness of Goethe's statement in Campagne –– von hier und heute geht eine neue Eoche der Weltgeschichte aus, und ihr könnt' sagen, ihr seid dabei gewesen." He did write something similar to Knebel, however, on September 27, 1792: "Es ist mir sehr lieb, daß ich das alles mit Augen gesehen habe und daß ich, wenn von dieser wichtigen Epoche die Rede ist sagen kann: et quorum pars minima fui." The middle of November he wrote to Voigt: "Dieser Feldzug wird als eine der unglücklichsten Unternehmungen in den Jahrbüchern der Welt eine traurige Geschichte machen."
|Map of the siege of Mainz, 1793|
|Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing the Islamic State in Sinjar, walk towards the Syrian border|
My twenties are too far behind me to judge Kyla's motives not only for helping others but also for suffering. As she wrote to her father in 2011: “Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature. Some people find God in love. I find God in suffering. I’ve known for some time what my life’s work is, using my hands as tools to relieve suffering.” She seems to have been a remarkable young woman, as can be seen in this letter that she wrote from captivity.
The conventions that arose in the 19th and 20th centuries to spare non-combatants as well as journalists are not honored in the present stage of war. Human shields have been a standard instrument of Middle Eastern "freedom fighters." Westerners, accustomed to a more civilized standard of living, tend to become excessively valedictorial when confronted with the death of an idealistic young woman like Kyla Mueller, who becomes representative of "all that is best in the West." Thus, the non-stop coverage on CNN.
Picture credits: Hundert Jahre Mainzer Dom; International Business Times