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4th May NL memorial day WW-II

  1. May 4, 2012 #1
    Every year on the 4th of May, the Netherlands memorizes their deaths of world war II

    When I was a toddler to teenager, every adult had memories of The War. Yes I am that old. Everybody knew plenty of people who died due to the hostilities or due to the holocaust. And every conversation in those times turned to that subject, invariably, ending to the question, how was it possible? How could a complete population, our neighbors, normally nice and kind people, have turned into such monsters? What could possibly be the force behind that, to drive normal people to such a madness?

    And then silence. Of course nobody had any sensible answer to that. But we all vowed that it would never ever happen again.

    Nowadays after decades of good progress in sociology studies, things slowly start to get clear.

    It seems that everybody needs an enemy.

    Does that make sense?
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. May 4, 2012 #2
    8 pm, two minutes silence everywhere in the country
  4. May 4, 2012 #3
    Actually, the question I intended to discuss in this thread is, can we? Can we prevent that it ever happens again?

    Here are some ideas about that.

    Maybe that many 'characteristics' are happening today?
  5. May 4, 2012 #4


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    I've never heard stories from direct relatives of the war. Of course it is taught in school, but I notice that it doesn't really sink in until you get older. Still it is very hard to believe that it happened and that it was so recent, it is good that it is remembered every year.

    I live in a Jewish neighborhood so I decided to look up who lived here at the start of the war: a married couple, the man of the house died in 1944 in extern kommando Ludwigsdorf, Poland, his wife already passed away in 1942 in Auschwitz. This realization is really strange, it brings back their spirits and provides a warning to never let it happen again.

    Your question might be a bit too vague: I think people are put into boxes every day. Religion or skin color are still issues in society. My landlord told me that the real estate agent warned him that my boyfriend is "colored", to which the landlord replied that the agent looked tanned as well. I reported the agent to the authorities, in case it happens more often. Who knows for how many houses we were declined because of this.

    The biggest threat is someone with power to start enforcing those perceived differences. As long that we can communicate freely with the current technologies I think that it will meet with more resistance, I do think we shouldn't take it for granted.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  6. May 4, 2012 #5


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    WWII was a terrible lesson that I hope is never forgotten.
  7. May 4, 2012 #6


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    Well, there was the Rwandan genocide of 1994, only 18 years ago.

    That lead to a civil war.


    I came to the US in 1966, and I remember that it was dangerous to be African American in parts of town, and more so in many cities and counties across the southern US.

    And then there is the current situation in DR Congo.

    I think I've heard that about 5000 +/- people a killed per day in DRC, and I recently read a headline about an estimate of 8 million people (~11% of the population) have been killed in the current, on-going conflict.

    Here's a rather interesting story about "The U.S. Ambassador Inside Hitler's Berlin"

    Many political experts at the time (~1933) wrote Hitler off. Many expected that he was a transient anomaly.
    At the time, Consul General George Messersmith wrote, "I wish it were really possible to make our people at home understand how definitely this martial spirit is being developed in Germany. If this government remains in power for another year, and it carries on in the measure in this direction, it will go far toward making Germany a danger to world peace for years to come. With few exceptions, the men who are running the government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere." The text was quoted in the NPR interview, but it is found here - Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Messersmith
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  8. May 5, 2012 #7
    Thanks very much Astronuc for your examples, I like to come back and discuss the details but that requires some preparation and I'm out maxed at the moment.

    Exactly, but did we really learn that lesson? Are we practicing preventive measures? Look at stage 1 classification:

    And yes, we love to 'fight' - creation versus evolution, left versus right, east versus west, democrats versus republicans, flaming wars that should not be mentioned...

    Exactly, it's a big part of the story, it looks a lot like demagogy.

    More later.
  9. May 5, 2012 #8


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    You don't have to leave Europe for a recent examples - think decomposition of the Yugoslavia. I am afraid I am a pessimist here - there is no way we can stop it in general. I was much more optimistic when I was younger.

    Sure, we should do our best to prevent such things from happening, in many places we are even temporarily quite successful. Let's hope it will be this way as long as possible.
  10. May 5, 2012 #9


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    I was about to say the same: the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 would arguable be the best example, because it's geographically so close to the atrocities that took place in WWII and Dutchbat peacekeepers were blamed for not preventing the massacre.
    The war crime suspects are currently under trial, for instance Ratko Mladić in The Hague, NL.
  11. May 5, 2012 #10


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    At the latter end of the Yugoslav War, was the conflict in Kosovo.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_War (neutrality of article is disputed)

    More recently, we have the conflicts (along ethnic/racial lines) in Sudan, one in which South Sudan split away from Sudan, and the other in the Darfur region.

  12. May 5, 2012 #11


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    Sadly, I agree.

    I think the Holocaust is taught wrong in schools. It's made out to be a "German thing" -- totally, totally wrong (as evidenced by examples given by other posters).

    It's a *human* thing. We're all capable of it, and that's really frightening.
  13. May 5, 2012 #12
    Thanks, Lisa; that's exactly the direction I wanted to explore into a bit. Of course, as Astronuc illustrated, there were specific circumstances in Germany that seemed fit to develop a nasty murder machine, the humiliating treaty of Versailles, economic misery and a gang of nasty geniuses who knew exactly how to condition the population.

    But indeed the many examples show here that's something of all places of all times. How susceptible are we then for the accumulation of conditions that ultimately could lead to disaster?

    Let me tell me something about myself. Based on the vow from the OP, never to let it happen again and some other reasons (adventure), I decided for a career as a warrior, and into the 'wild blue yonder' no less, to defend Queen, Patria and Peace, because we were told that a terrible enemy was out there in the east, watching for the slightest opportunity to jump us and then it was going to happen all over again.

    So in that time we were told that the threat of the enemy grew with the month, more and more hurdles of huns gathered around our eastern borders, in incredible numbers and we thought that with our limited assets, we would not stand a chance, should the evil aggressor elicit to start the hostilities.

    And then suddenly it was all over in the 1989. The "wall fell". Things changed incredibly fast. A military friendship program was established quickly and we got to meet our former adversaries. I had long talks with several of Czech, Hungarian, and Polish colleagues, who were not only kind, honest and actually just like us, but they also told us in turn what kind of incredible villains we had been. From their stories it became clear that our mutual enemy image was somewhat exaggerated.

    The conclusion was that the leadership of both our and their side had grossly overestimated and overstated the evilness of the opponent and shockingly, we had accepted all of that eagerly, because it seemed that we wanted it to be true.

    I think there is a root of the problem.
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  14. May 5, 2012 #13
    Kennis is macht. Our leaders (and us) need to know the potential enemies and neighbors and they (and us if possible) need to keep an eye on things, and know
    what is going on around us.
  15. May 5, 2012 #14


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    Part of the problem is that it is rare for a country to teach it's own atrocities. Britain has engaged in countless horrific actions in other countries to protect it's own interests (just look at how internal Iranian politics has been interfered with over the last century) but all we learn in school about our history is how good we were in the war and the Tudors...
  16. May 6, 2012 #15
    Reminds me of the last part of Constantine Cavafy's poem, Waiting for the Barbarians:

    "Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
    (How serious people's faces have become.)
    Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
    everyone going home so lost in thought?

    Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
    And some who have just returned from the border say
    there are no barbarians any longer.

    And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
    They were, those people, a kind of solution."

  17. May 7, 2012 #16
    Exactly, we need an enemy and we need to feel to be in danger for some reason. Why are horror movies/books so popular? Isn't the destruction of Earth an element in most science fiction stories? It's always the end of the world as we know it as discussed here. Please read the lyrics of that song again. What will become of us without having a decent enemy?

    But why would we accept anything our friends tell us about the enemy without question?(remember Saddam Hoesseins weapons of mass destruction). Why do we exagarate his evilness. What's going on in the mind? Something like: "I can easily say that, even if he didn't do it, because he is so evil that he would have done it anyway"

    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  18. May 7, 2012 #17


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    I'm almost afraid to say anything here, because the last time that I expressed this opinion I received 2 non-returnable infraction points, but I'm going to say it anyway. Human rights are a human construct. Nobody has any unless they are in a civilization that imparts them. Even then, they are not rights; they are privileges that we pay for with our taxes or community service. One of those privileges is protection from "enemies of the state". That protection, however, is up to ourselves (actually the able-bodied among us) to provide.
    I almost started a thread last week to honour the first anniversary of the first Canadian soldiers to have died in combat since the Korean war, but I know that it would have been deleted because they were deliberately murdered by a US pilot whose only punishment was for dereliction of duty.
    Monique, I have to ask you something because it has puzzled me since I joined here. I always had the impression that you're Dutch because you live in the Netherlands, but then I saw some posts that indicated that you were in university in California. Are you a citizen of the Netherlands or of the US? (It doesn't matter either way as to how I regard you. You're highly intelligent and have a gorgeous eye, which is all that matters to me. :wink:)
    Andre, I have to PM you because this reminded me of one of my favourite jokes which deals with this subject, and your profession, and can't be posted in a PG environment.
    Everyone thinks that the proponents and protectors of his/her philosophy is in the right, and the fact is that might does make right. I don't like that, being one who is not mighty, but it's true. Hitler had the IQ of an eggplant, but he had the incredible "street smarts" to assemble one of the most formidable military forces in history. If he hadn't been so stupid as to declare war on the USA the day after the Pearl Harbour attack, the Allies would probably have lost. Until then, the US had refused to help us against him. Once he did, we had some back-up.
  19. May 7, 2012 #18


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    Danger I don't know why you have said this because it is not true at all. Regardless if you have a problem with a moderation decision then appeal it, we don't discuss it openly.
    Obviously, if they were somehow enshrined in nature we wouldn't need to include them in our legal system would we? "Rights" are privileges that society holds in such high regard that they are made a foundation of that society's legal system and therefore the physical, social and political processes within that society work towards maintaining them.
  20. May 7, 2012 #19


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    Well, I apologize for the publication of that, but the fact is that I have received infractions just about every time that I have expressed an opinion in the past couple of months, including the fact that not only several posts, but also an entire thread, were deleted because someone on staff didn't like what I said. I think that it is time for others to know why I don't post much any more.
    In a couple of cases, the person who issued the infraction disagreed with it having been issued, so I still see some hope on the horizon.
    As for the second part, you are essentially backing up what I said, but you do specify "our" legal system. We do not share a legal system, unless you are a Canuck in disguise, and even our two systems are not even close to what exists in the rest of the world. We're about half-way between you and England (our solicitors wear powdered wigs only in the Supreme Court of Canada, or perhaps also in Court of Queen's Bench. Sorry, but I took law only in Grade 10, in 1971, so I'm not up on it).
    Every nation has it's own legal system, and a lot of them are not compatible with either of ours. That does not in any way make them less legitimate. Neither one of us has any obligation to agree with them, nor do we have any right to interfere with them.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  21. May 7, 2012 #20


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    No this is not the case, you did not receive any infractions for expressing your opinion but for the manner in which you expressed them. Let's leave this though because as I said we do not discuss moderation decisions in this way.
    I meant to say "in our legal systems" because many countries throughout the world subscribe to some form of human rights legislation. Of course many disagree on what counts as human rights; whether or not a privilege is valued highly enough to be afforded status as a right is an interplay between the values of the people and the values of the leaders (with more democratic countries favouring the former and more authoritarian the latter). I would argue that a legal system based on the latter is less legitimate purely because it is a legal system forced upon people who do not have a say in it, our right to interfere in this matter comes under the same debate as the right to interfere in any situation which essentially boils down to do you have the capacity to act in a way that will result in a positive outcome for those concerned?
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