by Mario Huys

Afsluitdijk, Holland
The Afsluitdijk in Holland, a storm wall against the North Sea and what lays beyond

This is only the second issue since the move, but it already feels like we've always been diplomatic-pouch.org. The fact that most of the content has moved along certainly helps. A thorough list-up of what's missing is still on the agenda, but a random dive into the site confirms that we can be hopeful. Time then to get the scripts going again, like the Openings List or the FTF tournament calendar. Also, Jim Burgess has been updating his Abyssinian Prince page. All missing issues since a year ago are now available. Apart from the games he'll tell you all about his illness, but what a display of energy! So sorry you're no longer among us, Jim-Bob. The least we could do is give you a tribute.

The world is getting scarier by the day, even for the casual observer, what with these indiscriminatory killing sprees in locales around the world, the bifurcation of American society into two seemingly unreconcilable camps (luckily this Civil War is mostly limited to social media), and North-Korea escalating its nuclear war provocations, to name just a few.

Especially the last example has an immediate impact on the state of mind of the citizens of Japan. In response the Japanese government is ramping up its missile attack awareness program, even if they seem to confuse it with a tsunami warning system. No fallout shelter construction program to shelter the population, just a nation-wide alarm system activated any time a potentially dangerous launch is detected, which might reach any spot in Japan within 5 minutes. We're advised to hide inside buildings, away from windows, and if caught outside to find a big structure or tree to stand behind. Those will surely protect us from any nuclear radiation. I just hope the rays know that too.

There's again a global trend to build more fences. Or walls, like the storm wall in the picture at the top. Or take a look at the picture Jim-Bob's tribute. It's beautiful, no? A large sakura tree in bloom spreading its branches over a quiet Japanese graveyard. Except, ... there's a fence, separating the little park in front where the tree stands from the graves on the far side, disturbing the scene. It's a metaphor of sorts. We, the living, want to protect ourselves from death, from calamities, from misfortune; which is why we build fences, and tell ourselves "Nevermore". But like the main character in The Raven, repeating "Nevermore" too often might eventually render us insane and hasten death. It's just one of those contradictions in the philosophy of exclusion that makes inclusion a so much more attractive alternative.

On the upside it's a golden age for diplomats, because where there's strife, there are negotiations. And for Diplomacy as well. The upcoming WDC in Oxford (7-9 July) will again pit the best against the common man and each other. Will they talk the game lingo or actualities? Why not combine the two. Plenty of fodder to spice up your vocabulary, from Brexit to Ariana Grande. Just hope that the biggest upsets will happen on the board, not in the outside world. No need to repeat EDC 2015 in Paris.

WDC's are still the main focus in this issue. We're going back 20 years ago to the WDC in Göteborg, extensively reported on by Manus and Larry, who's still celebrating the trophy he won there. We've also been updating the WDC 2016 top board recap with more videos, commentary and so much more. While you're at it, you might want to check out the F2016M issue where this got pulled from. It was only one week after its publication that the site went down. Maybe you've missed it?

Enjoy the Pouch!

Email writer thumbnail Mario Huys
The Editor

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