My summer has taken on something of a theme: most of my thinking, and a great deal of my time, has related to an old farm 310 miles away. My Aunt Edithe, born there in 1920, died in February; and her brother, my Uncle Vince, is in Nursing Home Care and no longer can even visit the farm on which he lived for over 81 of his 89 years.
It’s fallen to me to deal with the multitude of issues that relate to such a transition. This is not a complaint: it is simply a reality.
On the road there’s no computer for me (a deliberate choice), and usually no TV (too tired), and ordinarily no newspaper either (available, but otherwise preoccupied). So in a small sense I’m like that hermit I came across in the Tarryall section of the Rocky Mountains during Army maneuvers in 1962. He lived in an isolated log cabin, no electricity, no phone, and once a month he walked to the nearest town far off in the distance, to provision up. One of his provisions was the entire previous month issues of the Denver Post. Each day he would read one of the newspapers. So, he was always up to date, just 30 or so days behind.
(click to enlarge photo)
In the hermits mind, perhaps, what happened out there in the world was not his concern. He had his patch, his cabin with door and window, his dog, his goat, and all was okay. Some day he’d die and when he didn’t show up in town, somebody would go out to recover his carcass.
His life was in control. He seemed pretty happy, actually.
Sometimes I think we Americans, in general so privileged and so omnipotent in our own minds, think that we can pretend that what’s happening inside our tiny sphere is all that matters; and if we do care, in any event, we can’t do anything about it anyway, so why bother?
Of course, it matters, and we can impact on it, but once settled in to routine, as the hermit was, we tune out. In the end, it will be our own loss that we didn’t pay attention.
In recent weeks I’ve written here about the Central American immigrant crisis; and the Israel-Gaza catastrophe at the same time as the downing of the Malysian Airliner over the Ukraine.
Even when I’m off-line the material just keeps flowing in to my in-box, and back home I take some time to just scroll through. Sometimes something catches my attendtion.
For instance, yesterdays Just Above Sunsets here goes into a too-little known facet of certain Christians and Israel.
A friend, Wilhelm, who grew up in Germany, made some pertinent comments about how he sees the Israel situation.
“I feel I have to reply to [some] remarks [seen quoted in] “My favorite blogger’s commentary about the Israel-Palestine situation”
According to [the quote] the Germans had the right to defend themselves against the French Resistance or the Russian Partisans even if it was inadvisable or strategically not the right thing to do. Or even the final destruction of the Ghetto in Warsaw after several and seemingly unending up risings. But maybe I have it all wrong here. The difference might be the reason why people are put into a ghetto in the first place. Some reasons might be legitimate, some might not? I really do not know.
But the I read the following: Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked published on Facebook a call for genocide of the Palestinians. It declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”
She quoted Uri Elitzur, who died a few months ago, and was leader of the settler movement and speechwriter and close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
It strikes me that this could have emanated from Berlin at a earlier time just as well .
But if I am right then this is also relevant:
“Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be “governed” without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes – crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day?” First Leaflet -The White Rose Society – Munich, 1942
A little later, Wilhelm sent this:
Chris Hedges as usual cuts through the fog of propaganda and handwringing. His article is well worth reading!
Then, last night, George, a retired electrical engineer and native of Hungary, wrote about his experience as a young man in the Hungarian Army, then part of the Warsaw Pact nations.
There is nothing unusual here, especially for anyone who’s been in the U.S. military, but George’s commentary gives an unusual perspective into the relationships between powers, and how people in the military operate:
“Even in the old Warsaw Pact Countries, like Hungary, ROTC University students received training in operating and servicing anti-air defense/attack systems. During summer we did our practical training. As an EE [Electrical Engineering] student I was training to both eventually manage the servicing and train regular enlisted men to operate this kind of equipment at the combined arms battalion level while being assigned as a technical officer to the staff of a combined arms division. If I did my job properly by age 30 I could have been promoted to a Brigadier (1 star) general level and be in charge of the ‘heavy arms artillery regiment’ of the division (ground attack mobile rockets and long range artillery).
The Soviet military and its Warsaw Pact allies after WW2 were gradually reorganized into combined arms divisions (tanks and mechanized infantry) using the old WW2 German Panzer Division as the model!
To save on costly training and extra manpower the country’s civilian and military manpower was completely integrated based on the University trained ROTC graduates. University education was free and was supported by free scholarship to all accepted into a university program. Women were encouraged to go into medical and law professions and did not go to summer training camps. We did have several women in my EE faculty who attended military class-room instruction but not the summer’s practical training camps.
I don’t know what they did instead of learning how to goose-step, learn to live with an always dirty rifle (as per my drill-Sargent), and go on 3AM to 9PM full backpack load walkabouts! — George (ex-staff Sargent of the ex-Hungarian Peoples Republic Army)
PS. The only time Soviet military’s training, tactic and weapons systems were tested was the 1973 war waged by Egypt and Syria against Israel. These armies were trained and equipped by the Soviet Union. Initially they beat the Israeli army and air force. On the Golan, Syria’s Russian Style Army took the Golan Heights and was within ~20 miles from reaching the Mediterranean Sea. Its APC [Armored Personnel Carrier] mounted mobile SAM’s [Surface to Air Missiles] managed to neutralize Israel’s vaunted Air Force and only because the 2nd-wave Iraqi Divisions were halted by the Kurdish army in the mountains of Northern Iraq did Israel survive! They were eventually destroyed by the Israeli army reinforcements from the Egyptian front. The Egyptian Army was also trained and equipped by the Soviet Union. They re-crossed the Suez canal and their light infantry used Soviet wire guided infantry portable missiles to hold back the Israeli tanks while the Egyptian Soviet T55 tanks were also shipped across using Soviet bridging equipment and barges. This deployment was covered by Russian heavy SAMS from fixed positions on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal and also destroyed most of the Israeli air force! The Israeli army had to withdraw into the Sinai mountains and because of a technical problem of the T55 tanks they managed to halt and eventually destroy the Egyptian Army. The T55’s guns could only be elevated ~15 degrees because they were designed for the flat German and Russian plain. The Israeli tanks looked down on them from the Sinai escarpment and destroyed most of the Egyptian tanks at long distance who could not even defend themselves! Also the heavy duty Russian SAMs were not mobile and could not protect its mobile tank units when outside their range. So now the Israeli air force came back into action and completed the destruction of the Egyptian tanks! An Egyptian general predicted the outcome of this battle but President Nasser, with Soviet advice, overruled him.
After the initial battles both sides were fought out and needed new equipment to continue. President Nixon did not believe the huge losses suffered by Israel and did not want to completely destroy Egypt, a Russian ally! He was worried that the Soviets would directly intervene by sending troops and that the local war could grow into WW3! We sent our U2 spy plane to survey the battle field as did the Russians send their equivalent plane. Both the USA and Russia started resupplying their respective allies and also ‘advised them’ to start peace negotiations! The most complicated position was that of President Nasser’s whose direct order, against those of his general’s led to this disaster! So the Egyptian public was never told about the disaster that was disguised as a great victory! This was also the reason why President Nasser was the only one on the Arab side who accepted the Israeli Peace offer, originally proposed by Secretary of State Kissinger. He even went to Russia to start the negotiations on behalf of President Nixon.
George’s comments remind me of our own longstanding relationship with Israel, an unhealthy co-dependency which enables the current behaviors. History dies hard (but in this business of killing each other with every more sophisticated means must end, otherwise we’ll all be goners.)
Then, there is the radical rabble that is feeling its oats in our own United States. Given their own surface-to-air missile, they’d launch it somewhere on our own ground.
There is an interesting, troubling video about goings on at Dealey Plaza in Dallas, the monument to where President Kennedy was assassinated. You can access it here. Its a ten minute watch, and one can only wonder what goes on in these folks minds….
We are a nation, and a world, of very decent people.
But sitting on the sidelines is an invitation to extremists to take over.
From Wilhelm, Jul 26: “If I was an Arab leader I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal, we took their land. It is true that God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we come and we have stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”
That statement—which would certainly outrage the current government of Israel and most of its supporters–was made by David Ben Gurion (1886-1973), revered as the father of the State of Israel.
If that is the case where is the call for justice
No peace possible without justice.
In light of what Ben Gurion admitted it sounds a little timid to ask for divestment or boycott of anything associated with Israeli Settlements. It seems the whole State of Israel is responsible for the policy and should be held responsible. This means any action has/ should include all of Israel or it is but self serving window dressing. Another action that says we are ding something and occupy the moral high ground but we are not doing any harm or damage.
The above quote was taken from the article:
OK. So, What Would You Do About Hamas? By Barry Lando
Just something to consider as one ponders what to do, what to do ….