Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – Our Country In Peril

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – Our Country In Peril

    Today I contacted my US Senators and let them know my opinion on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, which they should REJECT. It is something taught to me as a child, my duty as a citizen, to let elected officials know how I felt about issues of the day. I don’t think they teach civics as a subject in school anymore, and that is a shame.
    Our system is far from perfect. It is worth noting that I had to specifically request NOT to receive emails from either Senator as the result of my reaching out to them in the first place. Experience has taught me that signing up for these “newsletters” only subjects me to pleas for money. I find it strange that our system has devolved to the point where millionaires and billionaires beg for money from people who struggle to make ends meet. The irony is that we are fleeced to compete with corporate and big-time political donors for the attention of our elected officials in the first place.
    This example proves that money is the problem we have with our political system. Money does NOT equal speech unless you are an elected official who is desperate to remain in office. We need a total ban on political contributions from any source, and our elected officials should be required to live on the salaries that they earn, if not on the minimum wage! Our elected officials quickly lose touch with reality once they enter the world of corporate money and handouts that are given to influence their votes on issues that affect every single one of us.
    The most prudent answer is to have publicly financed campaigns where each candidate is given the same amount of airtime on radio and tv, and the same amount of advertising in newspapers and print media. TV is the monster we need to tame.  That one will be much more difficult to solve, but we have to try if we are ever to reclaim our country from the rich and powerful who do nothing more than begging us for our money to keep them in power.

Tags: Post
September 06, 2018 at 09:10PM
Open in Evernote

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – A Very Good Day

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – A Very Good Day

    I’m glad that today is Thursday. It is the last full workday of the week for me because tomorrow there is an off-site Happy Hour for the local employees who work remotely in the afternoon. I will travel to that event via Metro so I won’t have to worry about driving. In effect, I will be leaving here around lunchtime to make it to the g, and that will mark the start of the weekend. This week has been busier than I expected, but nothing that caused too much stress.
    I am looking forward to this evening because Hal has promised to give me a massage after work. I need to take him up on his .offer and enjoy myself for a change. Today will be rather slow at work, at least based on the calendar this morning. There are no endless meetings to attend, just one this afternoon scheduled for an hour. I will have the opportunity to get things wrapped up nicely before quitting time. After a quick bite to eat, Hal can give me his wonderful massage, and we will be set for the evening here at home.
    Friday is also supposed to see a change in the weather around here. The stifling heat will end tomorrow with thunderstorms. The weather won’t affect my trip to and from Happy Hour tomorrow because I will take the train, as I mentioned earlier. Perhaps the storms will clear the air around here and help ease my sinus problems.
    After the massage tonight, I will cook dinner in the Instant Pot. I have the ingredients all set to go. Cooking won’t be too difficult after the massage, and I know that I will feel rested and renewed. Dinner will take less than one hour, and most of that time will be spent watching the Instant Pot work its magic. The menu will be chicken breasts with cream of mushroom soup mix along with onions and green pepper and pasta with cashews mixed in to give it some extra flavor. I am sure that Hal and I will enjoy our dinner and our evening at home together.

Tags: Post
September 06, 2018 at 09:05PM
Open in Evernote

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I���d like to pass on | Stanis��aw Aronson

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I���d like to pass on | Stanis��aw Aronson

I survived the Warsaw ghetto. Here are the lessons I’d like to pass on



I’m 93, and, as extremism sweeps across Europe, I fear we are doomed to repeat the mistakes which created the Holocaust


Wed 5 Sep 2018 01.00 EDT


Last modified on Wed 5 Sep 2018 08.52 EDT










The Warsaw uprising, 1944.


















‘The battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.’ The Warsaw uprising, 1944.
Photograph: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel stated this summer that “when the generation that survived the war is no longer here, we’ll find out whether we have learned from history”. As a Polish Jew born in 1925, who survived the Warsaw ghetto, lost my family in the Holocaust, served in a special operations unit of the Polish underground, the Home Army, and fought in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, I know what it means to be at the sharp end of European history – and I fear that the battle to draw the right lessons from that time is in danger of being lost.

Now 93 years old and living in Tel Aviv, I have watched from afar in recent years as armchair patriots in my native Poland have sought to exploit and manipulate the memories and experiences of my generation. They may think they are promoting “national dignity” or instilling “pride” in today’s young people, but in reality they are threatening to raise future generations in darkness, ignorant of the war’s complexity and doomed to repeat the mistakes for which we paid such a high price.




Stanisław Aronson as an officer in the Second Carpathian Rifles, under British command in Italy. 1946





Stanisław Aronson as an officer in the Second Carpathian Rifles, under British command in Italy, in 1946

But this is not just a Polish phenomenon: it is happening in many parts of Europe, and our experiences hold lessons for the whole continent.

Given what I’ve learned over my lifetime I would, first, urge future generations of Europeans to remember my generation as we really were, not as they may wish us to have been. We had all the same vices and weaknesses as today’s young people do: most of us were neither heroes nor monsters.

Of course, many people did extraordinary things, but in most cases only because they were forced to by extreme circumstances, and even then, true heroes were very few and far between: I do not count myself among them.

The same applies to those who failed in their moral obligations during that time. Of course, there were many who committed unspeakable, unforgivable crimes. But it is nonetheless important to understand that we were a generation living in fear, and fear makes people do terrible things. Unless you have felt it, you cannot truly understand it.






‘I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting for a Jewish homeland.’








‘I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting for a Jewish homeland.’ Photograph: Stanisław Aronson papers

Second, just as there is no such thing as a “heroic generation”, there is no such thing as a “heroic nation” – or indeed an inherently malign or evil nation either. I must confess that for much of my life, I maintained the view that it was important for Poles to feel pride in their wartime record – leading me, when recounting my experiences serving in the Home Army in Warsaw under Nazi occupation, to omit certain examples of indifference and uncooperativeness on behalf of my fellow Poles. It is only in recent years, as I have seen that pride turn into self-righteousness, and that self-righteousness into self-pity and aggression, that I have realised just how wrong it was not to be completely open about the failings I witnessed.

The truth is that, as a Pole and as a Jew, as a soldier and as a refugee, I experienced a wide spectrum of behaviour at the hands of Poles – from those who sheltered me at risk to their own lives, to those who sought to take advantage of my vulnerability, and all possible shades of concern and indifference in between.

And although the Third Reich destroyed my world, it was a German woman who saved my life by introducing me to the men who would recruit me into the Polish underground. No nation has a monopoly on virtue – something that many people, including many of my fellow Israeli citizens, still struggle to understand.

Third, do not underestimate the destructive power of lies. When the war broke out in 1939, my family fled east and settled for a couple of years in Soviet-occupied Lwów (now Lviv in western Ukraine). The city was full of refugees, and rumours were swirling about mass deportations to gulags in Siberia and Kazakhstan. To calm the situation, a Soviet official gave a speech declaring that the rumours were false – nowadays they would be called “fake news” – and that anyone spreading them would be arrested. Two days later, the deportations to the gulags began, with thousands sent to their deaths.










The Aronson family in Lwów, 1940 or 1941








The Aronson family in Lwów, in the early 1940 or 1941 Photograph: Stanisław Aronson

Those people and millions of others, including my immediate family, were killed by lies. My country and much of the continent was destroyed by lies. And now lies threaten not only the memory of those times, but also the achievements that have been made since. Today’s generation doesn’t have the luxury of being able to argue that it was never warned or did not understand the consequences of where lies will take you.

Confronting lies sometimes means confronting difficult truths about one’s self and one’s own country. It is much easier to forgive yourself and condemn another, than the other way round; but this is something that everyone must do. I have made my peace with modern Germany, and hope that all Europeans can do the same.

Advertisement

Finally, do not ever imagine that your world cannot collapse, as ours did. This may seem the most obvious lesson to be passed down, but only because it is the most important. One moment I was enjoying an idyllic adolescence in my home city of Lodz, and the next we were on the run. I would only return to my empty home five years later, no longer a carefree boy but a Holocaust survivor and Home Army veteran living in fear of Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD. I ended up moving to what was then the British mandate of Palestine, fighting in a war of independence for a Jewish homeland I didn’t even know I had.

Perhaps it is because I was only a child that I did not notice the storm clouds that were gathering, but I believe that many who were older and wiser than me at that time also shared my childlike state.

If disaster comes, you will find that all the myths you once cherished are of no use to you. You will see what it is like to live in a society where morality has collapsed, causing all your assumptions and prejudices to crumble before your eyes. And after it’s all over, you will watch as, slowly but surely, these harshest of lessons are forgotten as the witnesses pass on and new myths take their place.

Stanisław Aronson took part in the Polish resistance under Nazi occupation. He lives in Israel

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our Editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important because it enables us to give a voice to the voiceless, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Tags: Post
September 06, 2018 at 02:08PM
Open in Evernote

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – My Thoughts On Nike and Colin Kaepernick

Dreamer’s World September 6, 2018 – My Thoughts On Nike and Colin Kaepernick

    The debate about Nike’s decision to honor Colin Kaepernick continues to resonate. I completely agree with the decision out of respect for Colin’s valid point that this country has major problems that it doesn’t want to address. The backlash is predictable, ignore the real problem and focus on some bogus, invented issue that was created only to discredit Colin in the eyes of the public.
    Sadly, there are far too many people who will follow what the RWNJ echo chamber tells them to. The predictable response of destroying items from Nike comes as no surprise. I do have to point out that these idiots are ruining their personal property. They paid for those items, and now they decide that they no longer want them because they won’t listen to what Colin has to say, they look to what the RWNJ lunatics tell them to think. This approach makes me laugh. If those people truly cared about anyone other than themselves, they would take those shoes and items of clothing and donate them to charity so that those items could help those in need. The failure to do this proves to me that the “patriots” are in fact just selfish people who demonstrate by their actions that they don’t care about anyone but themselves.
    It is no wonder that these are the same people who look away from injustice when it isn’t them who are the objects of oppression.

Tags: Life, Post, Racism, Poitics, Justice, Injustice, Oppression, Inequality
September 06, 2018 at 07:30AM
Open in Evernote