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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