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Archive for the ‘about death’ Category

Second thoughts about the morality of WW II and both sides

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Adam Kirsch is a senior editor with The New Republic. I recall reading his stuff before and remember that a lot of it was thought provoking. This review of WW II histories is no less thought provoking. The NY Times piece offers this set of seldom seen images of that horrible time that I brushed so close to in France during May and June 1940. Kirsch’s ending is most evocative for me:

After all, the present is always lived in ambiguity. To those who fought World War II, it was plain enough that Allied bombs were killing huge numbers of German civilians, that Churchill was fighting to preserve imperialism as well as democracy, and that the bulk of the dying in Europe was being done by the Red Army at the service of Stalin. It is only in retrospect that we begin to simplify experience into myth — because we need stories to live by, because we want to honor our ancestors and our country instead of doubting them. In this way, a necessary but terrible war is simplified into a “good war,” and we start to feel shy or guilty at any reminder of the moral compromises and outright betrayals that are inseparable from every combat. The best history writing reverses this process, restoring complexity to our sense of the past. Indeed, its most important lesson may be that the awareness of ambiguity must not lead to detachment and paralysis — or to pacifism and isolationism, as Nicholson Baker and Pat Buchanan would have it.

On the contrary, the more we learn about the history of World War II, the stronger the case becomes that it was the irresolution and military weakness of the democracies that allowed Nazi Germany to provoke a world war, with all the ensuing horrors and moral compromises that these recent books expose. The fact that we can still be instructed by the war, that we are still proud of our forefathers’ virtues and pained by their sufferings and sins, is the best proof that World War II is still living history — just as the Civil War is still alive, long after the last veteran was laid to rest.

My own Lilliputian view is that the world conflict known to us as WW II really began in Manchuria, now  a major part of northeast China, in September 1931. Generals of Japan’s Kwantung Army, which occupied parts  of southern Manchuria, decided for their own nationalistic reasons to undertake invasion and near war against China, which seemed a conquerable power at that time. It’s notable that Japan’s war in China lasted about 14 years and was followed by open civil war in China between the Kuomintang of Chiang-Kai-Shek and Mao’s Communist forces, which ended in October 1949.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/05/27 at 19:02

First suicide from 160th storey of Burj Khalifa

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I just copied a front view of the world’s tallest building, which is in Dubai. An extraordinary image of the “tallest tower”.

To think that this building is in a desert environment! And here is the link to the BBC article about this “first suicide”.

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/05/10 at 16:38

Burning WTC towers on 9/11

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I had never seen this image which is part of a collection posted today on the NY Times website LENS.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2011/05/04 at 16:06

GOP’s ongoing hypocrisies

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Rhetorical question mark
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Here is a quote I found about the latest perversion of their so-called “family values“!

What it means for a lawmaker to be “pro-life” is not a rhetorical question any more. The refusal of Senate Republicans, nearly all of whom identify as pro-life, to support the 9/11 First Responders bill, also known as the James Zadroga bill—a measure that would provide funding for healthcare for firefighters, police and others who became ill as a result of their 9/11 related work—gives this question new urgency.

The shameful spectacle of antiabortion Republicans preventing, as of this writing, the possibility of even a vote for this measure before the holiday recess also makes clear that this movement has gone beyond  its historic valuing of  the life of a fetus over that of a woman.  Now it is mainly the male 9/11 workers whose lives are apparently expendable, because they cannot afford their own health care.

Let’s face it, they are anti-everything but themselves! Most of all to them human life is cheap and it is more often cheapened by their narrow-minded politics than not!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/21 at 16:41

The biggest regret I have about living in China

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I can’t buy   Lapham’s Quarterly! Here is a recent snippet:

The US appears in 2 cases out of 5! Does that say something about the USofA, or what!

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/14 at 14:43

No longer the Blue Planet, morphed to White Planet

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Check this link to read about planet Earth being almost totally snow covered!

I just had a thought. Did God cover Earth in snow? Didn’t he make everything or know about it’s creation, or happening?

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?

Institute of Geosciences of the Universidade F...
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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/14 at 13:54

What a funny day this has been!

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Jeremy Paxman, British journalist and broadcas...
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It started with me tearing after seeing my current real hero, Christopher Hitchens, being interviewed quite sympathetically by Jeremy Paxman.

How come so many interviews in the UK seem so civilized while those in North America seem either pandering or aggressive? I think that is one way of defining the cultural divide between the UK and North America.

It used to be Alistair Cooke who personified that divide. Of course, Hitchens has been living in the US for about 30 years now so he crossed the divide in many ways long ago.

Now it seems likely that he will die in the US and that will be another curiosity about that divide. The fact is that Hitch sounds so British and so civilized so I would have expected that he would choose to die nearer his home turf somewhere on that “blessed Isle” but he prefers to live in America and made that choice of his own volition those 30 years ago.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/12/05 at 09:02

Foreigner rights in Afghanistan

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PUSHTAY, AFGHANISTAN - JANUARY 09: A US Army M...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

These views direct from the mouths of Taliban mid-level leaders have been published in The Guardian. Here is an excerpt:

“Apart from that they have no rights, they have no right to tell us about democracy and human rights. That’s an Afghan issue and it will be decided by the Afghans.

“The Americans behave with arrogance and if they don’t want to be defeated in Afghanistan they should talk.

“They don’t belong here,” he said. “They are foreigners, outsiders.”

The puppet masters and their puppet Karzai don’t seem to be doing so well! From the sound of this article, it seems to me that US and NATO leaders whistle in the wind every time they talk about the situation in Afghanistan.



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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/11/29 at 12:58

I guess the US and India must be wondering what’s going on in China

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Chinese immigrant workers building the Transco...
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The headline in Yahoo News says it all:

Chinese workers build 15-story hotel in just six days

How can they do it? Where will this end? Why can’t our workers do that? What else are they going to do?

You should check out the videos! The images are something else since they make the speed look OK and not outlandish.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/11/16 at 17:29

I have said it here and elsewhere!

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Sheila Dikshit Chief Minister of Delhi India
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India is a ramshackle country. It is run by the very rich for their own purposes and as far as the rest of India is concerned let them be damned. If you have any doubt about that extreme statement. consider this latest headline:

New Delhi apartment collapse kills 61

30 still believed buried in rubble

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | 12:21 AM ET Comments12Recommend11

The Associated Press

Police and rescuers raced Tuesday to pull survivors from the debris of a four-storey apartment building that collapsed in a congested neighborhood in New Delhi, killing at least 61 people and injuring scores of others.

The 15-year-old building housing about 200 people — mostly migrant workers and their families — collapsed Monday evening into a mountain of concrete slabs, iron rods, bricks and mortar in New Delhi’s Lalita Park neighborhood.

About 30 people were believed still trapped under the rubble, said New Delhi’s top elected official, Sheila Dikshit, and emergency efforts were hampered because fire trucks had difficulty navigating the neighbourhood’s narrow alleyways.

At least 61 people were killed and 78 injured, said city police official Mohammed Akhlaq.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/11/15/apartment-collapse-delhi.html#ixzz15RMbd6vz

It is evident that the only reason this building collapsed is that either the owner or the contractor cut corners and let the inhabitants of the building be damned!

How can India ever challenge China for economic position in the world as long as this kind of mindless incident can happen in the capital city of India.

This is just more evidence that democracy is not a panacea, nor is transparent government, or freedom of speech. A building collapse in a capital city with serious loss of life is a travesty and not democracy!

The existence of the Taj in India is just one more bit of evidence that India does not work very well as a country for its ordinary people. And Bollywood is just another travesty of human values! It means little in the scale of India humanity, slum dog millionaire or not!

I’ll vote for China vs. India every time!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/11/16 at 03:39