Fear

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I came across this passage from the New York Times (Andrew Kramer):

Asked if he was afraid of dying in the war, [Volodymyr Zelensky] said everybody has such fears…. “[I]f a person is not afraid of losing his life, or the lives of his children, there is something unwell about that person.” He added, though, that as president, “I simply do not have the right” to be afraid.

(The Times of London had also reported that Zelensky had been the target of three recent assassination attempts.) And this reminded me, as other things have in the past, of two different but related passages from Rebecca West’s Epilogue to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon pp. 1125, 1130 (1941), writing of the English right after the fall of France:

It was good to take up one’s courage again, which had been laid aside so long, and feel how comfortably it fitted into the hand….

Let nobody belittle them by pretending they were fearless. Not being as the ox and the ass, they were horribly afraid. But their pale lips did not part to say the words that would have given them security and dishonour.

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