Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Will we never learn?

My morning reading today has included one article about Hiroshima survivors talking to students in Japan and another about the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to German victims of a massacre in post-war Czechoslovakia.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4735163.stm

http://www.praguemonitor.com/ctk/?id=20050731E01356

Reading about the Hiroshima survivors reminded me of my own experiences of listening to Holocaust survivors every year at Hebrew school. “Remember” and “never again” were the catchphrases that over time and through other genocides have been rendered meaningless.

The plaque in Ústí nad Labem is controversial because of the continuing tension between Czechs and Sudeten Germans. Its placement on the Edvard Beneš Bridge is controversial because President Beneš was the one who signed the order expelling 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII. But on the other hand, it was from this very bridge that several (no one knows how many) Germans were thrown to their deaths into the Labe (Elbe) during the massacre.

The massacre in Ústí happened on 31st July 1945; the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 6th and 9th August. 60 years have gone by and what have we learned?

One of the Hiroshima survivors talked about Japan being both an aggressor and a victim and it is clear to me that we are no different. The United States is an aggressor in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The United States was a victim on 9/11 and will doubtlessly suffer further attacks as the campaigns go on. My point here is not cause and effect, or even chronology, but only that it seems that every aggressor is doomed to also be a victim in turn. It makes the whole exercise of war look pretty pointless from every perspective.

Ominous midday bells again...

3 comments:

Anonymous A-Hole said...

No midday bells at the "timeshare."

Let's have a toast to spirited imbibement and good old fashioned decadence...poolside, of course, because it'll be 6,000 degrees. Only our family goes to the desert in the middle of August but, hey, the food (and with a couple of tweakings, maybe even the company)will be good, the bar is paid for, and I'm doing my damnedest to represent Oregon's fine horticulturists.

No bells, no a-bombs (a couple of f-bombs perhaps), and no Roy (still worth celebrating if you ask me).

On somebody else's dime of course, I'm priced out of decadence unfortunately.

"When I was chief financial officer for an international company..."

beamis said...

You're a perceptive cookie MM. I like especially your point about the sloganeering of "never again" and such being rendered meaningless by the subsequent genocide committed post 1945.

I like your stuff a lot.

Max said...

Beamis, thank you, I am pleased you like my stuff. The compliment means a lot coming from a blogger of such talent.

Asshole, I am glad you mentioned horticulture. Yes, please, but remember that you live in a police state so don't do anything stupid. As for the company, yes, we can rejoice that Big Sister's 2nd husband is not as stupid as her 1st. Then again, one know-it-all dad was enough for me. Do we have internet in the desert?