I originally published this post on November 24, 2009.
On August 3, 1914, Great Britain sent an ultimatum to Germany not to invade Belgium. The next day, German troops were in the neutral country and Great Britain declared war. Great Britain's reasoning was that Belgium was an independent, neutral state whose existence and sovereignty was guaranteed by Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria, and Germany. It's creation dates back to the Treaty of London, signed in 1839. The German Chancellor referred to this document as a "scrap of paper." The German Chancellor stated that "just for a scrap of paper Great Britain was going to make war on a kindred nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her." The Times, "The Eve of War," August 28, 1914.
Why was Belgian neutrality so important to the Allies? I never understood that. Maybe Claire Hirshfield could answer that question. Was Belgian neutrality so important that it was worth four years of war, millions of lives lost, war costs in the billions of dollars -- and any of the many other unfortunate consequences of World War I?
I just don't understand what was so important about Belgium. Who cares about Belgium anymore? Do you ever hear President Obama talking about Belgium, let alone Belgian neutrality?
In 1990 I worked at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. I started to see a psychiatrist in January 1990: Stanley R. Palombo, M.D. (202 362 6004). I told him early in our work that I thought he was in communication with my employer. His response: "You must think you're important. You think you are so important that I would talk to your employer about you?" So he attributed my unsupported belief to grandiosity.
Sometimes insignificant people take on significance for other people. Belgium took on significance for the Allies. I might have taken on an importance for the lawyers for whom I worked. Why? Who knows? It may have had little to do with me. The entire matter may have been a concern solely for The Powers That Be. Yes, I might have taken on significance for The Great Powers irrespective of my intrinsic importance.
I fail to see how Dr. Palombo's comment was pertinent. I don't see my allegation against Dr. Palombo as an arrogation of importance on my part. I don't see how my allegation that I was a victim of a crime (namely, the violation of the D.C. Mental Health Information Act) meant that I was grandiose.
I recently thought of an analogy. A woman claims she was raped. Would the police say to her "You think you're so attractive that a man would want to rape you? On what planet do you spend most of your time? Let me tell you something, sweetheart, you're not that attractive. In fact, you're pretty much of a dog! No man would want to rape you."
Speaking metaphorically, Dr. Palombo, sometimes ugly women get raped. But then, I have a problem with metaphors.