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Archive for the ‘Atrocities’ Category

Stolen Dreams and Childhood


Three questions come to mind:

  • Which of these children cried: “How dare you, you have stolen my dreams and my childhood!”
  • Which of these children was never given the opportunity to cry?
  • Which of these children had the slightest reason to lament and complain?

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Germany’s president is Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The president of Germany is a largely ceremonial position, with the chancellor serving as the chief executive. In the U.S., our president serves as both. In Germany, these duties are spread over the two positions. At the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, when the U.S. president made a serious faux pas by “congratulating” Poland and stating it was “a great country,” Steinmeier asserted at a ceremony:

I Affirm our Lasting Responsibility

— Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Germany did a lot of damage in the world during the last century and it still as an inferiority complex as a result to this day. Contrary to what the U.S. president currently often does when world affairs do not go right, namely blaming his predecessors, blaming his staffers and appointees, or blaming other nations and their leaders, the president of Germany took responsibility for the brutal and unprovoked attack on Poland on September 1, 1939 that started World War II.

Steinmeier and I have a few things in common. His mother was born in Breslau, which is in now a part of Poland and called Wrocław. She was a refugee after the war. My father was also born in Breslau, and he was a refugee. Steinmeier was born in 1956. I was born in 1956. When I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, World War II was ancient history to me. I only know the Germany of the economic miracle of the 1960s. Due to his age, the same would be true for Steinmeier. I am certainly not personally responsible for the atrocities committed by the people of Germany in World War II, even though my grandfather was a German soldier of low rank serving in the Wehrmacht during the war, and several of my uncles from the maternal side were reportedly members of the SS, even though I never had a chance to actually talk about this with them. It was not talked about then.

There are very few Germans alive today that were alive during World War II. Those who are still with us were children then. Nobody of any position of responsibility or authority is still alive. Nobody who has personally committed atrocities is still alive. And yet, the German president affirms the country’s lasting responsibility for damaging the Polish nation, resulting in the deaths of about six million Polish citizens, about a fifth of the country’s pre-war population, both by the occupation by Germany and then the Russians when they attacked from the eastern front. Six million Polish civilians were killed by war crimes, crimes against humanity and by starvation.

The U.S. president congratulates Poland for this.

The German president affirms his country’s lasting responsibility, even though he himself was born 17 years after the event.

Nations carry responsibility for their actions. The United States is currently responsible for millions of civilian deaths due to wars it started in Afghanistan and Iraq, which triggered conflicts all over the Middle East. That responsibility will remain with our nation. I wonder, in the year 2099, when a U.S. president, who is today not even alive yet, gives a memorial speech for the victims of these wars, whether he will exhibit the same sense of responsibility and grace for those victims?

Countries are bigger than people. They can do more good, and they can do more damage. Where does our country rate today? Will we be proud of our actions today come 2099?

 

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This Sunday morning in the San Diego Union (of Sep 8, 2019) I found this article:

[click to enlarge]

Our government just issued another permit to allow a Michigan trophy hunter to import skin, horn and skull of a rare black rhinoceros he shot in Africa. The guy paid $400,000 to anti-poaching programs for the privilege.

Our government needs to stop issuing these permits. So do those of other nations, including China. To be fair to Trump, he has issued “only” two such permits during his tenure. Obama issued three since 2013. My question is, what do those trophy hunters have that makes our government bow to their pressure?

There are only 5,500 black rhinoceroses living in the wild, half of them in Namibia. And they are allowing some of them to be killed by trophy hunters. In what universe do you have to live for this to make sense?

The argument is that the money from trophy hunting funds the anti-poaching efforts. Scary as it seems, it’s probably correct, but I believe it’s still misguided.

I call bullshit.

If there were a properly conducted crowd-funding campaign to collect $400,000 to offset this one Michigan man’s permit, I believe it would be successful. If only 400,000 people around the world put in just one dollar, it would be accomplished. I’d put in a lot more than one dollar.

I really think we need zero tolerance for all big-game hunting, both trophy hunting and poaching. We need to make it so big game hunting is socially viewed as disgusting, so nobody can get away with it anymore. Those hunters with heads of big game in their lodges in Michigan, Montana and Shanghai need to be embarrassed about the trophies, not admired. Only once the practice is socially unacceptable in all rich countries will this stop.

I know that this is not likely to happen, and we will kill those last 5,500 rhinos.

Then where will the Chinese get their placebo rhino horn powder?

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Here is a list of books about Nazis and their atrocities that I have read and reviewed in this blog. You can follow the links to the reviews.

Books about Nazis and their atrocities

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Lale was a Slovakian Jew who was ordered by the Nazis in 1942 to go to a work camp. After days of travel in a cramped and filthy cattle car, he stepped off the train in the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz.

Rather than despairing, he commits himself to survival. Because he speaks six languages, he is chosen to become the tattooist, the person who marks arriving prisoners with a number on their arms. He serves as the camp’s primary tattooist from 1942 to 1945. The position comes with privileges, like his own room to sleep in, additional rations, and the ability to come and go with much more freedom than the common inmates. Through his resourcefulness, he starts smuggling food into the camp, not just for himself to survive, but to help as many of his fellow prisoners as he can. One day, when he writes a number on a trembling girl’s arm, he looks up and instantly falls in love. Her name is Gita. Over time they develop a friendship and eventually a love that transcends the conditions in the camp and gives them both a reason to survive, and fight for their future.

This story is based on the true experiences of Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, the tattooist of Auschwitz. Just last month I posted this story about three men who arrived at Auschwitz on the same day and had their numbers only 10 apart. Chances are high that we’re looking at Lale’s work.

I have heard people talk about how good this book is and that it’s a love story. I found that – yes – it’s a love story, but that is not the reason to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The reason to read it is because it illustrates life in a concentration camp and it shows the atrocities the Nazis committed, the murders, the mutilations, the humiliation, the forced starvation, the diseases, upon millions of innocent men, women and children. There are many books about Auschwitz, and this is one more, but in my opinion, you can’t read enough of those.

Fascism, and what it does to people, must be exposed, over and over again.

 

This book reminds me of many other books I have read and documented here that deal with the subject of Nazis and the atrocities they committed in the concentration camps. I have compiled them here in a separate post.

 

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In April 2013, I reviewed the book Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy. It tells the story of a Sylvia Perlmutter, a Jewish girl in the Lodz ghetto who was liberated in 1945 when she was 12 years old. Out of a quarter of a million people in the ghetto, only 800 survived, and of those 800, only 12 were children. Sylvia was one of them.

When I read the book in 2013, I wrote this in my review:

The Germans, for reasons I do not understand, took all the children away in the latter years and told their parents they were going to care for them better than they could in the ghetto. However, the children, being of no use to the Germans as workers and only a distraction to the adult Jews, were jammed into cattle cars and taken to death camps like Auschwitz, which was only a few hundred kilometers south from Lodz – where they were killed within hours of arrival.

What bestial people take babies, toddlers, small and older children under 14 away from their parents by force, by the thousands – with the full intent to just kill them? My German ancestors did.

The desperate parents went to extraordinary measures to hide their children. When the soldiers went house to house, they kicked open locked doors and ransacked apartments, looking for children in closets, trunks, under beds, wherever they could possibly be hidden. The agony the parents went through is unimaginable.

The agony for the children – well, you need to read Yellow Star to find out.

The key sentence here is:

What bestial people take babies, toddlers, small and older children under 14 away from their parents by force, by the thousands? 

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Here is what our agricultural system does to animals. This calf is wearing a device that prevents it to suckle from its mother. Can you even imagine the frustration? This is what homo sapiens does to its subjugated species just so there is a good supply of milk.

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If I was a guest at your house for a backyard BBQ party and

  • I mocked your father or grandfather who was a prisoner of war?
  • I mocked your disabled child by making spastic movements?
  • I mocked your neighbor’s family who lost a son in Afghanistan?
  • I mocked your daughter who had been sexually assaulted?

You would throw me out and I would likely no longer be your friend – at best.

And yet, here is our president doing exactly those things on national TV, and the people standing behind him laugh and applaud and act like this is funny.

It would be horrendous if I did it as a private citizen. You would throw me out and beat me up.

But here is the man who holds the office that we teach our schoolchildren they should look up to as a role model, and we accept it.

It destroys the dignity of the presidency, and it may take generations before the image and decorum recovers.

I don’t know exactly what the people standing behind Trump laughing and applauding really think deep inside. But I know that I think that Trump is a despicable human being, one that I will try to forget about quickly once he is voted out of office.

I also don’t know exactly what the Republican leadership, all those men and women that ran against Trump in the campaign, are thinking. I remember Rubio and Cruz saying that it was our duty to make sure that Trump never got anywhere near the Oval Office.

Really – damn their careers – one or more of these cowards need to stand up, man up, and do what they know is right, and do what they are really thinking inside, and end this national disgrace of a reality show of a country.

We need to take our country back.

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Testmarketing a Dictator

[picture credit: Irish Times]

From the Irish Times:

Read this article and watch the 2-minute video, and scare yourself shitless.

 

 

 

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I am tired of Trump supporters telling me that Trump is a brilliant business man. He is not. He is a failing business man who routinely files bankruptcy when he can’t make his businesses work, stiffing his creditors and workers. He is a con man who spent his entire career sucking money out of the middle class to enrich himself. Trump University is just one example.

Trump knows the game of the rich class, and he is putting on a circus for the middle class to distract us from what is really going on. The ultra rich, and the corporate world, are benefitting from what is going on quietly behind the scenes while we’re all distracted by the dazzling magic show of blunders and corruption and outrageous stagecraft at this rallies.

He puts on the Immigrants are Evil public show, knowing fully well that none of his facts make any sense, immigrants have nothing to do with the problems of America, because he knows we can only be angry about one thing at a time.

It’s the deeds of Congress and his cabinet behind the scenes that we should really be worried about. Here are just a few of them:

  • Dismantling National Parks or opening them to exploitation by mining and logging.
  • Removing consumer protections imposed on banks and credit companies.
  • Instituting tax cuts that favor businesses and super wealthy individuals and are largely meaningless to the middle class.
  • Neutering the EPA, whose mission it is to protect the public from corporate pollution.
  • Dismantling the Department of Education and pushing our public funds to private for profit schools where we have no control over the use of the funds.
  • Increasing the military budget and thus feeding the military industrial complex. The increase of $80 billion this year alone is more than the entire military budget of Russia.
  • Removing civil rights protections.
  • Removing all our work toward research and protection against climate change. This is the worst crime of all, since it’s going to take decades to fix, and our grandchildren get to clean up the mess. This is a crime against humanity.

Watch the hand behind his back, not the circus in front of our faces.

We, the middle class, are getting hurt and exploited everywhere along the way. The debt is skyrocketing. Some day we will have to pay for all this, and Trump won’t be around to help with it.

Corporate America is doing great and the middle class is not getting the benefits. That’s why the stock market is rising.

When it all comes crumbling down, the rich aren’t going to be affected much. They’ll still eat and travel in helicopters. It’s the middle class that will lose everything – once again.

Trump will long be gone by then.

We will still be here.

 

 

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I have spent more than twenty years of my career helping human services and early education agencies all around the country with administration of childcare programs and everything related to it.

My customers are child advocates who have dedicated their lives to breaking the cycle of poverty in our country, and helping young children get out from under the yoke of economic oppression and sometimes misfortune. They are dedicated to the welfare and safe-keeping of young children, and they are passionate about it. Their work means everything to them.

I cannot imagine what it must feel like for them to be forced to be complicit with state-organized and state-created child abuse and human trafficking, because that is exactly what I think is going on in our country now.

These child advocates are now finding themselves in a position to have to search for care and safety for thousands of children who should be with their parents, but have been kidnapped by our government. This is a crisis entirely of our own making.

We have lost our moral authority.

The United States used to be John Winthrop’s Shining City upon a Hill, and we came after countries for human rights violations. Then it started to get shaky when Bush and Cheney started openly torturing people. McCain, a torture victim himself, spoke out against the practice. Once we tortured our prisoners, every American soldier, upon capture anywhere, would then have to fear to be tortured him or herself.

Now, with open racism, and state-enacted kidnapping, child abuse and human trafficking, taking children, even babies, away for their parents with no hope of reunification, we have lost all moral authority for decades to come.

It will be a very long time before the United States can lecture a rogue dictator for human rights violations. It will be a very long time before we can justify invading a country because it abuses its own citizens. We have given up this bargaining chip. It will be generations before our representatives, our presidents, can walk into a room again and command moral authority, and stand on the principle that the United States does the right thing.

I am disgusted with my government that commits crimes against humanity. I am disappointed with my fellow citizens who support these practices by propping up the Little Man in the White House.

Make America Great Again?

Right now, I am ashamed for my country!

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The tweet by Trump above is an abomination.

Democrats don’t want illegal immigrants. Nobody wants illegal immigrants. Over the last 20 years, every Congress under every president tried to enact immigration reform, and none of them succeeded, due to political differences. This is not a “Democrat” problem.

Democrats, as everyone else, care about crime.

Democrats do not want more illegal immigrants because they are potential voters. This is utter drivel.

Insane, inane and atrocious nonsense coming out of the mouth of the president of the United States is an insult to every law-abiding, decent American.

Likening illegal immigrants to vermin (since only vermin “infests” something) is a racist insult to all human beings. Vilifying immigrants as the “problem” in our country is pure propaganda.

Trump and his ilk have created a divisive issue and problem where one doesn’t exist. Our country has a lot of problems, and illegal immigration is one of its problems, but it’s by far not its biggest problem. The idiotic border wall makes no sense. Separating children from parents makes no sense. Neither solves the immigration problem. Proper legislation and proper enforcement of that legislation solves the problem.

But the Trump administration is making it sound like this is the big problem of our time. They talk like Democrats want open borders. Nobody wants open borders. But saying it often enough and loud enough makes it sound like it is true and real.

They are pegging those who care about the child abuse occurring on our borders now as enemies of the country by wanting open borders against those who want to “enforce the laws.”

The whole argument is ridiculous, and it is meant to desensitize us.

I can’t help it now, I have to invoke Godwin’s Law again.

During the night of November 9, 1938, Hitler’s thugs, all over the country, raided Jewish businesses by breaking their windows and looting their stores. The night was called Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, due to the shards of broken glass that lined the streets the next morning. They then blamed the opposition.

Jews were soon and openly treated as vermin who infested the German society. They used the same word that our United States president used in his tweet this morning: Infest.

Once a significant percentage of the population is supporting brutal policies simply by being quiet when they are carried out, the enactors and enablers become bolder and more brazen.

Today we are tearing babies away from their parents without any plan of reuniting them later. How is a deported mother ever going to find her infant child again, weeks or months after separation? Today we’re putting babies in cages. Tomorrow we’re letting them die. After all, they are the offspring of vermin, right?

And all this is being done in front of the watchful eye of the American public, and we’re letting it happen, and the Republicans in Congress are letting it happen.

I am starting to think of Republicans as repugnant.

To me, it looks like we have organized crime running the White House, enriching themselves at the expense of the country, systematically de-sensitizing us to brutality, first against the vermin crossing our borders, later against “Democrats” who “want open borders,” and then, in the end, they’ll come after people like me who do not agree with those tactics and politics, who speak their minds in public.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

As you can see in Trump’s tweet, he has been coming after the immigrants ever since he started his campaign. And he has got a significant portion of our population convinced that immigration is our problem. He has emboldened white supremacists.

He is now gradually setting up to come after Democrats, whatever that is. He is actually blaming the family separation activity on Democrats, and his supporters are eating it up. Watch it, soon we’ll start seeing atrocities committed against Democrats.

And then, they’ll come after the media and free speech.

It has worked before, all over the world.

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Racism

Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting filmed.

— Will Smith

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I don’t understand what makes people do things like this to other human beings.

I don’t like child molesters.

I don’t like child cruelty.

I don’t like things like this being done by my government in my name.

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