The Barbarization Of The Sky
We live 106 years since the first barbaric act of bombing from an aeroplane (Lybia 1911). Now, the first complete english translation of Bertha von Suttner’s ‚Die Barbarisierung der Luft‘ (1912) was released. The Barbarization Of The Sky was a prophetic essay in which Suttner surveyed the current thinking about aerial bombardment in 1912. Suttner urges the international community to renew the Hague Declarations of 1899 and 1907 on the Launching of Projectiles and Explosives from Balloons. She also exhorts her readers in the future to agitate against „the profanation of the firmament.“
Bertha von Suttner was a leader of the 19th century peace through law movement, and the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1905). She is credited with inspiring Nobel to create the prize. Beautiful limited edition with gold gilt papers, satin bookmark, colored illustrations, custom endpapers and embossed quote on back cover by Friedrich Schiller (in German).
Foreword by Hope Elizabeth May and Introduction by Jeroen Vervliet. Published to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, and launched on July 4, 2017 at the Historic Reading Room in the Peace Palace Library, The Hague.
Hardcover: 141 pages
Publisher: The Bertha von Suttner Project (2016)
This translation is a valuable unearthing in the English language of a great thinker’s work. Reading the book while flying over the Balkans, the relevance of Bertha’s words became haunting. She understood the threat of „the barbaraziation of the sky“ far ahead of her time, and her appeal against using airplanes as weapons largely went unheard. Yet, her insights are a voice of reason in a time when aviation warfare is not only used in such tragic conflict like Syria or Darfur, but is being developed through drones and even more catastrophic missiletechnology. While the original German essay was written over a century ago, it is a message for today.
In addition the introduction and forward provide rich commentary, context and introduction into the history and laws related to the barbaraziation of the skies. They are essential reads. Yet, the book also emphasizes the positive history: the peace movement and its efforts against such barbarizations. And it is a perfectly formatted book to do so. I was extremely impressed by the craftsmanship and visual appeal of the book–the gold embossment and gold page edges along with the rich purple provide a nice amount of elegance. Furthermore the quote on the back, beckons a call for action. Taken from the back of the original book that collected letters and resolutions of women’s organizations across the world in support of the peace movement and the 1899 peace conference. However, I don’t want to spoil the lovely translation of this quote, which can be found in the book. Also in the book: a nice selection of pictures and the relevant Hague Declarations.
I found this book not only an enjoyable treat to read and a nice item to decorate my shelf, but an intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking experience. In the social sciences, we are forced to read mostly works by men from the past, and the thoughts of women had almost been erased from taught history. Yet, Bertha is the rebuttal, and this book is another step in giving her words the attention they deserve.
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