Don't hold your breath

2008-06-09 00:00

In 1738, Robert Jenkins, the captain of the British merchant ship Rebecca, displayed his severed ear to the outraged members of the British parliament. The result was a protracted war between England and Spain known as the War of Jenkins’s Ear. On the surface at least, another example of a Jenkins’s ear incident has occurred across our northern border in Zimbabwe. The British and American ambassadors to that country were detained, albeit for a short period, and their staff physically abused in direct contradiction to the rules governing diplomatic immunity. Wars, as we have seen in the case of Jenkins’s ear, have been started for lesser matters.

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