Today in the UK we remembered those who gave their lives not just in the two world wars but also in more recent and in current conflicts .Below shows the war memorial at Camp Bastian ,left behind as a permanent monument to those who gave their lives in a more recent conflict.
These are our fallen heroes people who gave their lives so others could be free ,so we could be free ,for our today they gave their tomorrow.
However today is also the anniversary of the day after kristallnacht ,the night of broken glass .I feel it fitting therefore to ponder both the past and present persecution of minorities and consider whether we are indeed living lives worthy of those fallen heroes.There is a parallel between those who fought to free the people of Afghanistan from the Taliban and those who fought to free Europe from the Nazi terror ,whatever the politics thanks to UK troops for a brief few years women were allowed to walk without fear ,women and children were allowed education ,it was safe to practice your own religion whatever it might be .But unlike Europe in the 1940s we have allowed Afghanistan to fall back into tyranny and oppression.
Kristallnacht was the symbolic start of the Nazis war against the Jewish people, a systematic murder of six millon or more people just for their ancestry, you didnt have to be a practicing or believing Jew or even part of a Jewish family or from Jewish parents ,having a Jewish father or mother or grandparent even if they had married non Jews was enough.The holocaust also saw the death of millons of others the disabled ,Romany people,Gays ,communists ,Muslims.The Nazi regime waged war not just on ethnic minorities but on anyone who was different or disadvantaged,and the world watched and for the most part did nothing.
It is inconceivable now that we would condone the refusal of our goverment to take in Jewish refugees but what about “Gypsies” would we allow a thousand Gypsies into the UK?If one night all our Gypsies disappeared ,if those messy roadside caravans suddenly vanished and we didnt have to give land to them for static sites ,,would be really care ?Do we not see Romanys as somehow “dirty” dishonest and definitely undesirable neighbours.They are a set apart society with its won belifes and codes of conduct in many cases at direct odds with our own, Yet this is a stereotype ,many Romani live in either permanent sites ,most disaprove of the roadside “tinkers” or they live in houses and live “normal”lives.
We have a Romani friend who is a United Nations ,UNESCO ambassador ,she has founded dozens of orphanages ,schools and help centres for the disadvantaged around the world ,mostly at her own expense and those of a small group of supporters .
Would the world be better if Melanie Price was one night spirited away to Auschwitz?
or what about Pablo Piccaso ,Mother Theresa , Charles Chaplin ,Yule Brynner ,Michael Caine,Bob Hoskins, Penelope Cruz ,Helen Mirren ,Eric Cantona ,
All those above had proven and acknowledged romani parents or grandparents or have rumors of having “Gypsy blood” ,rumours and distant descent would have been enough to send them to the ghetto or gas chambers.
Likewise we prioritise worthy and unworthy causes ,just and unjust murders or oppression.To imprison without trial hundred of men at Guantanamo bay is fine because they are Muslim and terrorists and as its the USA and they are a democratic country so they must be acting justly .Guantanamo is a “detention and interrogation camp which basically means somewhere men can be treated inhumanly and tortured. Yet there have been instances of men imprisoned falsely so is it really OK to treat fellow humans like this,,,
without trial ,or do we just assume they are guilty because they are accused?
likewise Isil murder of the Gays has not caused the public outcry that is common when high profile targets such as journalists are murdered .Gays are still a minority and still in some countries treated less than fairly or with suspicion ,Minorities as always are an easy target.
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.
We now have a much more urgent and current example of refugees fleeing a largely unreported Holocaust .
Yet as a country and as a people we are behaving exactly as we did in the 1940s ,turning away most ,treating others with disgust ,raising and raising the bar by which we confirm their danger in their homelands so we can with a clear conscience send them back to certain death .
As with the Jews of Germany the outrages have started with the damage and destruction of places of worship or heritage,this is the remains of the Tomb of Jonah,destroyed by ISIS/ISIL
Apart from academics and some religious bodies there was very little coverage our outrage when Isil began destroying mosques and churchs or sites of historic interest
However as in Germany ISIL have moved from the destruction of buildings to the destruction of people.
Compare and contrast and try if you can to separate the 1940s reports from the present reports.
“They should be interned as “enemy aliens”
80% of adults believed that refugees come to Britain because they regard it as a “soft touch”, 66% thought there are too many immigrants in Britain, and 63% considered too much is being done to help immigrants.
They are lazy .
They are more loyal to their religion and race than their country.
Theres too many .
Women and Children maybe but no men
They are exaggerating .
we have to look after our own people
We are too small.
There present economic climate is not right
As you probably guessed these are all past and present quotes.
While this tragic photo
Beside causing a public outcry because of the lack of compassion on behalf of those countries refusing refugees ,elicited far more outrage because of its content ,,which shows that as in the 1940s we care more about being offended than about the offensive treatment of refugees .Also elicited the following self justification ,blaming of others and deriding of those who are speaking out
Heres a fairly representative quote from a Daily Mail article
“Which brings us back to the child’s corpse on the beach in Turkey. I repeat, it’s awful. Heartbreaking. But it’s not our fault, and it’s not our responsibility, however compassionate we might feel.
The father told the Mail that the family were fleeing the war in Syria when the dinghy capsized.
Miraculously, he survived, although he couldn’t save his wife and two children.
But here’s what puzzles me. They’d been living in Turkey for the past year. So why didn’t he apply for asylum there? After all, surely culturally Syria has more in common with Turkey, another Muslim country, than with Tunbridge Wells or Trondheim.
We’re also told that he’s a Kurd. So why didn’t he move to Kurdistan? Who knows? And that’s just the point. No one knows anything for sure.
Similarly, the shocking death of a child should never be exploited just because media tarts and ‘liberal’ luvvies such as Jackboots Jacqui and the absurd Emma Thompson can feel good about themselves.
A far more outrageous and thankfully less representative comment
UKIP are investigating a former candidate who tweeted that the three-year-old Syrian boy tragically pictured washed up dead on a Turkish beach “died because his parents were greedy for the good life in Europe”.
Obsessed with seeing Muslims as the enemy we have lost our empathy for those who are in genuine trouble ,while in addition many of those so called “muslim” refugees are in fact Christians .Isis /Isil is now the Nazi ,but as in the past we have settled for a mixture of hand wringing followed by no constructive action or more commonly turning a blind eye .
We nolonger call those desperately fleeing atrocities” Asylum seekers ” which allows us to treat them as immigrants rather than as those needing urgent refuge.
Yet what difference is there between these two images taken over half a century apart
Isil victims are not infrequently forced to dig their own graves
As were many Jews
If instead we were seeing this distributed across the internet
would we react differently?
(this is from a report about a different not Isil issue but I borrow this to show more clearly the similarities).
There is no discernible difference between the many images showing Nazis Murdering Jews and Isil murdering its current victims
Women are not spared and their mass disappearances do in part explain why some male refugees do not have their wives or daughters with them.
The two images above show women over a century apart both being separated from their families one a Jewish woman at Auschwitz Birkenau ,the other a Christian kidnapped by Isis to be used as a reward for its fighters.
The two images above show children always one of the first to suffer in war yet ISIL and the Nazis almost uniquely targeted children for murder equally with adults,the children above share much being equally victims of terror yet the difference is also telling the Christian child in the colour photo was dead before the photo could make the press,the Jewish children in the photo above were being liberated from Auschwitz they lived full lives.
There are numerous images each repeating now images of horror from the 1940s which we as a nation vowed would never happen again.
I called this post the night the day after because it what the choices made by the Jews fellow Germans that next day which would define their character and their actions would make them able to stand before their children and grandchildren with clear consciences or as forever condemned .
Many Germans on the day after Kristallnacht wisely it might be said laid low ,closed their curtains while their Jewish neighbours cleaned up the broken glass ,did a detour rather than be forced to walk past and ignore the Jewish shop they had used for decades.Some walked past in silent shock.
but some to their great credit went into the streets to help their Jewish neighbours sweep up the shards of glass ,some continued , despite the risk to use their neighbours shops. A small protest against tyranny ,we don’t have photos to illustrate their bravery because of course it would not have served Nazi propaganda .
Today Remembrance day ,it the time we remember those who gave their lives so we could be free ,so tyranny could be defeated and so we could have safe long lives.
Today I feel is a time to ask ourselves if we are living a life worthy of their sacrifice .
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.