Auschwitz 77 years later

Posted January 29, 2012 on 11:44 pm | In the category Europe, Genocide, Germany, Human Rights | by Mackenzie Brothers

Exactly 77 years ago the Red Army entered a large relatively  new settlement built outside the old Polish garnison city of Oswiecim and discovered the relics of  Auschwitz,the largest of more than half a dozen Nazi killing centres.  In the Auschwitz Protocol its genocidal purpose had been described in detail almost a year earlier by the Slovak Jew Rudy Vrba , who was the first and one of the very few who ever had escaped from it.  But about  a million others had been murdered in that place, mostly Jews, but also hundreds of thousands of others who for political, sexual or ethnic reasons were deemed unworthy of remaining alive.  This was decreed  by a murderous government with its centre in Berlin.  In the German parliament in the same city on the anniversary of that day, a 91 year old Polish-born Jewish man named Marcel Reich-Ranicki who became Germany’s leading literary critic reminded the elected members of that parliament about what that previous political system had done to him  personally, to his family, to his culture and ultimately to the reputation of Germany  throughout the world.

It is a sign of the  sea change in the public position of Germany that no one in that parliament made up of parties ranging from deeply conservative to near-communist expressed anything but  unanimous approval of a motion that Germany undertake a united effort  to make sure such an event could not happen again.  The reason  for this unanimity was however deeply unsettling and very clear.  Over the last decade a terrorist group based in Zwickau in the former East Germany had been murdering ethnic Turks (along with a Greek and a  policewoman)who ran small businesses in Germany at a rate of about one  a year.  This came as a shock to the average German population as it recalled an  evil past that almost all Germans dearly wished had faded into history.  It was even more of a shock when it became clear that  the trio of murderers could not have remained undetected for a decade without a substantial  support group that many suspect  included some police.  Keep tuned and see whether Germany, with a powerful prime minister who is definitely untouched by any suspicions of  having had anything to do with those Nazi events, can combat this threat with efficiency, power and justice.

1 Comment

Living in Lies: America Goes to the Polls

Posted January 19, 2012 on 10:50 am | In the category Politics, Republican Party, Romney | by Jeff

Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.
—— Vaclav Havel

The late Vaclav Havel promoted the concept of “living in truth” as a revolutionary strategy for overcoming the authoritarian crimes committed on the Czech people by the Soviet regime. A frequently jailed dissident, Havel led the Czechoslovak people through their Velvet Revolution, became the president of Czechoslovakia, and watched sadly as the country’s Czech and Slovak populations went through their Velvet Divorce. Havel then re-emerged as the President of the Czech Republic and started the process of re-invigorating the country’s political and economic cultures. Throughout his life his commitment to truth remained paramount and constant, both in his literature and his politics. Small of stature, he was a giant among the world’s leaders.

And that brings us to those of our home grown political practitioners who are convinced that truth is at best a relative term and at worst an inconvenience. We are stuck – and I do mean stuck – with a group of Republican challengers for the presidency whose commitment to truth is about as strong as Newt Gingrich’s commitment to his first two wives.

The likely Republican challenger to President Obama, Mitt Romney, flits from one stance to another while manufacturing Obama quotes that were never actually said. People expressed shock when Newt Gingrich said on national TV that Romney is a liar, but their shock was only that he said it, not that the description was untrue. Our candidates are expected to lie and we accept it as part of the game. But the result of our willingness to play along with that game is that we end up electing people we cannot trust and then wondering later what went wrong.

The Czech Republic is a country of approximately 10 million people and it produced the leadership of Vaclav Havel; our country of 300 million produces the Lilliputian likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Donald Trump and Rick Santorum. Go Figure.

1 Comment

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^