Sunday, 29 May 2011


It is gratifying that, unlike Harper and Netanyahu, Obama and European leaders agree with my long-time stance that Israel will only know peace if it withdraws to its original borders or gives up equally-valuable land to keep a few of its West Bank illegal settlements. And Jerusalem, sacred to 3 religions, must be an international city. Failure to do this will repeat what the Middle East has known for 5,000 years and, by association, destroy US interests in the area. Netanyahu's militarily-defensible borders do not exist short of the English Channel and the Urals.

Just since WWII, we have endured much bloodshed and suffering with borders in Germany, Poland, the USSR, Jugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Eritrea, Kashmir, Pakistan, India, etc. Enough already!

To understand, if that is possible, the current problems in Palestine, we need some history. As most N&S Americans are Caucasians, most outside of Egypt, Turkey, and Iran in the Middle East are Semites who emigrated with female gods in groups over centuries from Arabia. By 2000 BC the first were in firm control in the Babylon of the older Sumerian culture. Hebrews were one of the later groups and the Israelis an offshoot.

Now, there is much myth and the deliberate creation of altered Hebrew history for political purposes mixed in here and archaeologists have yet to confirm all that is written. Israeli archaeaologists are also digging for the truth. The many discrepancies in the stories of Abraham, Sarah, David, and Solomon now indicate that at least Abraham was fabricated about 600BC in order to justify Jewish claims and the forceful introduction of the Aryan male god Yahweh who ordered the destruction of all other gods including the goddess Ashtoreth (she had many names). This was not without strong opposition just as in 632AD when Islam moved in.

Over the centuries, scores of villages and city states took turns in prospering, attaining dominance, and grabbing more land from neighbours which eventually led to all of their downfalls, some to rise again only to fall again. During all this, the Jews, who were just as quarrelsome as all the rest, faced expulsions and captivity from Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, Turks, and Crusaders, not to mention the plagues of the 14th and 15th centuries BC. But page room dictates we jump to 1831 when the Ottoman Palestine ruler opened the area to Western interests permitting Baron Edmond de Rothschild, a Jew who made a fortune financing the British victory over Napoleon, to buy up housing complexes from landlords, evict the Palestinians, and import Jews who had a big advantage as they had western skills, money, and backing while the Palestinians were emerging from 400 years of Ottoman-Turk rule with little outside help.

For considerble Arab and some Jewish assistance in defeating the Ottoman Empire in WWI, the UK promised both a homeland. The UK did try to allot land fairly. As Jewish refugees multiplied with the rise of Hitler so did frictions which really erupted in 1937 when 5,000 Palestinians, 1,200 Jews, and 500 British were killed. Jewish terrorists, led by Menachem Begin, massacred some 91 more in 1946 at the British headquarters in the King David Hotel, then their Irgun and Stern Gang went on to massacre 250 Palestinians in Deir Yassim in 1948.

Due to this terror, increasing streams of Jewish refugees, and sympathy over the holocaust, we kept our promise only to the Jews. With more Jews in North America than Palestine, and with far more room, we declined to offer them Nova Scotia or California for a Jewish state but placed the entire burden on tiny Palestine, ousting 800,000 to make room, resulting in enormous problems for Jordan and Lebanon. Yes, the Jews have done an amazingly good job in creating modern Israel, albeit with much help in money, weapons, and people from other nations. Understandably, they wanted, and took, more, all at the expense of Palestine whose protests went unheeded, forcing the creation of Hamas and Hezbollah whose terror tactics we deplore while tolerating Israeli crimes. The delayed, feeble, and ineffective rocket attacks by Hamas brought massive and bloody retaliations that the Jews learned from the Nazis.

Fair play has been in short supply in the Middle East. The Arab Spring is long overdue and we do need to support it with all the help and guidance we can give.

Had the Germans entered the Ukraine as liberators rather than oppressors they might have won WWII. The Israelis have the talent, wealth, and backing to be the spark that can change their area, starting with Palestine and Lebanon, into a bastion of tolerance, equality, and dignity for all - and an economic common market.

Please, Israel, do not blow it again. And insulting, boorish behaviour towards your benefactor, the President of the United States, in his home is no way to ensure your future, let alone any respect.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


On her recent visit to Eire our Queen apologized for all the wrongs Britain had committed in Ireland. She did the same when she visited the USA. Great! Apologies are needed.

But I am still waiting for the other sides to own up to the fact that they have just as many, if not more, sins to repent.

While the Irish may be a likeable lot (I am one of them), they are a quarrelsome bunch and have never been united. They had a habit of raiding Britain and it was an Irish king (one of many) who invited England's Norman conquerors in to help him defeat a rival Irish king. The Normans, then English, stayed just as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who came to help the Britons oust the Romans, stayed. And, many Irish prospered by siding with their occupiers who were often oppressive. Irish were a big help in building the British Empire. The Sullivan family alone contributed 4 admirals. Droves enlisted in the British Forces in two world wars and Britain did contribute considerable help during the potato famines.

The revolt of 13 of Britain's 29 American colonies was due more to outrage over Britain's kindness to the defeated French Canadians in safeguarding for them their lands and culture than it was to such issues as taxes that amounted to sixpence per household to help pay for the regiments Britain could ill afford to guard the colonists from the anger of the Natives.

Confessions are good for the soul, and do help to dilute retained grievances.

Friday, 20 May 2011


Emotions, never far below the surface, erupted when my friend, Larry Best, told me this tale. In the 1960s Larry was a Sabre pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When he, his wife Debbie, and daughter Denise, were transferred to the RCAF base at Baden Soellingen that housed 3 of Canada's 12 NATO fighter squadrons, they used their first leave to look up Debbie's relatives, including cousin Irvin Zellmer. Here is a brief extract from Larry's account:

"Over local Schnapps and the V.O. Seagrams I brought, Irvin and I developed a warm rapport with him attempting English and me German.

Irvin grew up in Neuburg am Donau near Munchen (Munich). Before the war he was a railway engineer. In 1939 he was pressed into service to drive troop trains throughout Europe. As the tides of war turned against Germany in 1944 it was a daily occurrence for Allied fighter bombers to sweep across the European countryside seeking targets of opportunity. Troop trains were especially sought. Initially, RAF/RCAF fighters would make a pass which gave Irvin time to stop the train while all raced for cover. On the second pass they would blow up the train. Irvin would make his way back to Munchen, pick up another train, only to repeat the experience. He escaped serious injury until late 1944 when a section of fighters strafed the troops racing from the train. Irvin took hits in his back which passed through lungs, blew his left leg off above the knee, and took most of his right hand - a miracle he survived.

Irvin dug up a mememto he had buried and gave it to me for safekeeping as such objects were now verboten in Germany - a bronze and silver swastika, 12 by 15 inches."

POSTSCRIPT: I may have known Irvin. In fleeing the Soviet advance I had tramped many miles in snow but I was also transported by box car, getting to talk on 3 different trains to 3 drivers, all tired, cold, hungry, despondent, and facing a bleak future. One had lost his entire family to our bombs in Dresden, but all remained civil to us "Luftgangsters".

About 03 April 1945 I was among hundreds of Allied POWs being transported by crowded box car from Nurnberg to Moosburg. We had painted Red Crosses on the roofs. Near Regensburg a swarm of Liberators, Italy-based, escorted by Thunderbolts, appeared. Our driver stopped the train by some trees adjacent to farmland. As we raced across the field seeking ditches, nine Thunderbolts peeled off in groups of three to swoop on us, all guns firing. The passes they made lasted an eternity as 50-calibre slugs ploughed the ground on both sides of my prone body, hitting the Australian next to me. Not a pretty sight! We survivors catered to the dead and dying, then were herded back and locked into the box cars. The holed engine was patched up, as was the driver, and we struggled on to Moosburg across the Danube on the sole remaining railway bridge. One USAAF survivor had been a Thunderbolt pilot and recognized the squadron letters. He was furious at them ignoring our Red Crosses and the non-military clothing we long-time prisoners were wearing. He kept repeating "I know those bastards and I will have them all crucified."

There are a few wars that do have to be fought, but all wars leave participants with life-long pain and a sense of shame at belonging to the human species.

Saturday, 7 May 2011


Dear Barack Obana:

While we know that you will never read this letter, I must address it to the person whose signature appears on this 3-page request for electioneering funds an alarming 18 months before the election. We continue to place you among the best presidents this country has had but we do feel insulted being asked to contribute to what, at this early stage, can be those endless TV sound bites so meaningless and that engender accusations that are half truths as well as outright lies. They imply to the world that we are a nation lacking in intelligence.

As you well know, governing this nation, and contributing to the welfare of our world, is a colossal task that is greatly hindered by the time and money spent on fund raising - funds that are mostly wasted.

It is high time we adopted a much-more-sensible and economically-sound approach and, like Canada and the U.K., limit electioneering to a maximum of 8 weeks, thus allowing the past four years to judge whether or not incumbents earned their pay and perks and deserve re-election, not to mention the elimination of the waste of time, money, and electorate patience, all badly needed for worthier pursuits. So, if you need a few dollars for the 2012 election, get back to us in September 2012. In the meantime conserve your energies for governing.

And, while I am at this keyboard, let me emphasize that we admire your energy, intelligence, devotion, principles, and promise, yet we do have many concerns:

1. Compromise, as you argue, is what makes the world work, but we do feel that you are too quick to sacrifice principles to satisfy opponents who are more dedicated to your downfall than to the welfare of our world.

2. Good government is needed and we the people must fund it, each according to his/her ability through avenues such as income, property, and sales taxes which are made overly painful by a jungle of collection agencies. Highly frustrating and annoying. Could not all those high-priced economists you employ devise a single simplified agency? - and that goes for health care as well. While greed, self interest, and crime have been dominant among humans we have had, over 10,000 years, a number of good and just rulers with equitable solutions. We believe you are up to the challenge.

3. We, like every other nation, achieved our current form through means fair and foul. Let us strive for honesty in our use of history and strive for a future devoid of the foul.

4. We can bask in the fact that we have contributed much humanitarian aid to less fortunate people, but must admit that self interest has been too dominant in our support of unsavory regimes. Our largesse must be contingent upon it being used in accordance with our principles. One example is Israel. We can sympathize with them and admire their accomplishments but must deplore, and cannot fund, their continued expansion at the expense of others. Our lack of firmness here continues to create justified anger among all of the many versions of the Muslim world, thus adding to our problems.

5. Although a veteran of Bomber Command, 800 days as a POW, and the Korean airlift, I believe this country is overburdened with military might designed for an aggressive empire and not the current world. Why does it need 11 carrier groups, 50 attack submarines, the F35, over 900 bases and over 900 generals?

Yes, we have a daunting array of other major concerns like over-population, climate change, environmental damages, the rich-poor gap, the ruinous debt, drug addiction, crime, and so on - concerns that are heaped on your plate.

And yes, we expect too much of you, but to paraphrase King Abdullah, you may be our last best chance. Good performance, of which you are capable, precludes the need for electioneering funds.