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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

kingmbutu

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My attendance in class following the mid year examination was less than stellar. It was not due to any fault of my own, but I fell ill to what was then a rather common sickness among university students. I hesitate to name the ailment, but let it me sufficient to say that it was not the kind of sickness one could acquire casually, or at least not coincidentally. Too many visits at too many houses of ill repute did not happen casually in any event, and I was certainly not slack in my attendance. Such fervent devotion to one pursuit did have the unfortunate consequence of increasing my time spent in hospital and with physicians and decreasing the amount of time I had in class.

I say all of this to say that my notes are rather incomplete, and much of what I write from this point is from memory. I would not put much stock in the accuracy of dates and names, but I do not want the reputation of my teacher to be in any way impugned because of the excesses of me, his student.


“The end of the Franco-Prussian war saw an incredible boom in French industry. Although the war had lasted only a short while, the economic stimulus of large scale war industry coupled with large scale government spending in support of the war effort broke the stranglehold of the liberal leaning government on imperial finances. Buoyed by war repayments, new markets and low taxes, industry expanded at a rapid pace. Access to the rich coal and iron mines of the recently annexed Rhineland were an additional boon to the economy and throughout the empire incomes rose rapidly, quieting the low level grumblings for political liberalization that had begun to appear.

Even within the Rhineland itself, agitation against the new government rapidly dissipated as these new subjects of the French Empire came to enjoy not only French liberty, but French prosperity as well. It was only the French national railroad network that still lagged behind that of other advanced European nations, but in every way France was at the forefront of cultural, economic & scientific progress.”

“M. le Professeur, if you please; a question.”
The voice was unfamiliar to me, so I looked up and was surprised to see Lord Ling standing. He had never, to my knowledge, asked anything in class. None of us really knew much about him, except the rumors, as I’ve said before, of some noble lineage back in Asia. We were not even sure his name was Ling. Renault of course knew his name and called it, but I cannot now remember. Nicknames are more persistent than we know. I do remember his question though.

“Merci, Professeur. My question is this: is it not true that the imperial French government, if not fully complicit, then certainly acquiesced to a notorious trade in Asian women from French Indochina ostensibly imported to work as domestics but often made to serve as little better than concubines and that this trade began precisely during the post war period, and furthermore that many of the so called agitators against the imperial government ceased their agitation upon promise of estates in the far east completed furnished with house girls and in some cases even house boys?”


Ling’s words echoed through the classroom like a rock into an empty cave. The weight of the silence was unbearable; an eternity passed in those moments as we absorbed the impact and implications of his question. I looked at him as he stood, unblinking, unflappable, the epitome of reserve and discipline. He was neither subversive in his tone nor disrespectful in his disposition, yet his question, more like the statement of a prosecutor in a courtroom, could not have been more troubling.
 

stnylan

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I wonder how Renault will choose to avoid this truth of French Imperialism. I await his evasion with interest - or perhaps he will dumbfound me with admitting the problem!
 

unmerged(59077)

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Er...that's a tough one to answer. But the French are not Exploiting Imperialists, you know.

Although of course if one really WERE a French Imperialist Exloiter how much temptation would you be able to resist with all these house girls/boys so available?
 

Vann the Red

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Wow. Hate to have to answer that one. Of course, I'd also be loathe to admit to missing classes for that reason...

Vann
 

Tem_Probe

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Bonne année!
 

Prinz Wilhelm

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kingmbutu, I spent a few hours reading this whole AAR through..

WHY DIDN'T I FIND THIS EARLIER!?!?! THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST AARS I'VE READ! :D :D

And I must say, that Monsiuer Atta is almost completely like me, daydreaming and being waked by disturbed proffesors! :eek:

Happy new year, aswell!
 

unmerged(64816)

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I know that this has not been updated for about a year but I just discovered this and wanted to say that it was an amazing read as I felt compelled to finish reading it all in one day.
 

kingmbutu

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Dmidlg (et al) - believe it or not this has not officially been abandoned. I fully intend to write more, but had writers block and then got super busy. Every week or so I remember it and think to myself, "Oh yeah, i need to finish that.":rofl:
 

Corbett

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It's back! C'est magnifique!
 

kingmbutu

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Ling’s words echoed through the classroom like a rock into an empty cave. The weight of the silence was unbearable; an eternity passed in those moments as we absorbed the impact and implications of his question. I looked at him as he stood, unblinking, unflappable, the epitome of reserve and discipline. He was neither subversive in his tone nor disrespectful in his disposition, yet his question, more like the statement of a prosecutor in a courtroom could not have been more troubling.

The whole class sat there silently. It seemed as if months, even years went by rather than moments, as we waited to hear how Renault would respond. Ling’s question was, after all, both disrespectful to the teacher, and an insult really to the honor of French history. There was never, of course, any censorship of ideas within the university, but some things were simply not done, nor tolerated.

Renault leveled his steely grey-bleu eyes at Ling and answered in a nearly monotone voice that seemed barely a whisper, though I know of course that it was much louder.

“If you please, the question you ask stems, I am sure, from some erroneous information that you have no doubt acquired from some less than reliable source.”

Pausing then, Renault looked around the room at all of us.

“Let me be clear. In my classroom any question is welcomed. Any idea can be discussed. Any doctrine can be challenged, provided that you have done the necessary research to substantiate your questions and your challenges. Is that clear?”

Mumbled replies of, “Yes, sir,” began to echo across the classroom when Ling spoke up again. He had not yet taken his seat. Renault had already begun shuffling his papers to resume the lecture when Ling’s voice rang out again.

“M. le Professeur, if you please, I both respect and support your position, which is why I ask the question as I have had opportunity to access the imperial archives in Dongnai itself, and have myself read first hand accounts from colonial officials who themselves witnessed….”

Ling’s voice trailed off amidst a rising chorus of other voices that escalated quickly from muffled whispers to outright shouts; some threatening, others merely incredulous that any student would continue along this path. Renault himself appeared flustered and unsteady. He had expected that his diversionary answer would satisfy Ling enough. He was wrong. Ling’s voice grew louder, competing against the rising tide of conversational chaos that threatened to overtake him.

“…documents, receipts from ship’s captains, military officials, memoranda, and other such evidence which demonstrates decisively that such trade not only took place, but was known and tolerated, yes even celebrated in French Indochina.”

He was nearly screaming now, but his face was a mask of serenity belying the intensity and volume of his words.
 

unmerged(59077)

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Clearly, Ling doesn't have a true Frenchman's sangue froide. Nor the breeding of a true gentleman.
 

Vann the Red

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Tsk, tsk. Some youngsters seem not to understand that the past is always glorious and any deviations are best ignored. Welcome back!

Vann
 

Duke of Wellington

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Who is this Ling and why does he question so? I can only imagine that there must be some personal connection to these illicit French activities behind it. Without such motivation standing up to Renault in such a manner would no doubt be impossible.

Great to see you writing again after a year's break. I did forget to check back sooner as I haven't been spending a lot of time on the forums of late.