Tuesday, 26 January 2016


  We are prone to opposites.  First there were particles and anti-particles, yin and yang, and now rape and love.   Where did the crime of rape start, from what cause, and how extensive is it today?
At the moment we know that Life started on this globe some 3.8 billion years ago, but reproduction was all asexual while Time did what Time does and took 2.2 billion years to create sex that led to us.  Today, there are those humans who still ask: “Why?”   Much pleasure has resulted along with much pain, much grief, much exploitation, and much profit.  Is it not due to a biological flaw?           Males, producing trillions of sperm while females produce a single monthly egg, inherit a much stronger sexual desire that persists for decades after sperm production ceases.  The abuse of this desire varies considerably with mindsets and environments.
  In these past 2.2 billion years Nature used a trial-and-error approach to build about 5 billion species, 99% of which failed to persist into modern times.  But, variety remains.  A male praying mantis allows his mate to eat him while copulating; harems are common in the mammal world; species that mate for life include: gibbons, swans, black vultures, French anglefish, wolves, albatrosses, termites, prairie voles, turtle doves, schistosoma mansoni worms, bald eagles, and humans (if we overlook high divorce rates such as 50% in the USA.)  
We humans share 99% of our genes with our closest relatives:  bonobos and chimpanzees who diverged from  each other a mere 2 million years ago.  Bonobos took the female-dominated path devoid of aggression while chimps became male-dominated and highly aggressive.  Bonobos became more slender-built than robust chimps and they use frequent sex, both homo and hetero, for social bonding, limiting quarrels, and mutual pleasure.  Male chimps fight each other for dominance in order to monopolize females in estrus.     Bonobos today are limited to the Congo area while chimps are more widespread.  Do not current human traits reveal that we are descended from both?  I like to believe I am more bonobo, but what about the overall picture?
The written word is too recent, a mere 5 to 6 thousand years, but artifacts can reveal much.  For a dozen thousand years, Goddesses ruled a more-peaceful us, yet one or two societies abused males using them as serfs and replaceable studs. (Merlin Stone’s “When God was a Woman” and Elaine Morgan’s “Descent of Woman”).
  Since written records originated most societies attached stigma to rape except in warfare.  Greek, Persian, and Roman armies were permitted to rape when force had to be used to conquer a village, town, or city.  Greek gods raped, even Zeus, the supreme god.  In Hinduism, rape is a crime.  In the Rome of 50 BC, Lucritius called rape a primitive act.  Emperor Diocletian decreed victims could resume life blameless, but under Christian Constantine victims were sometimes burned alive but usually just disinherited.  Islam denied punishment for victims while forced intercourse in marriage could not be rape.  This persisted in English common law until 1991.   In the Hundred Years war both Richard II and Henry V had rapists shot.  In the France of the 1600s, sex in a marriage not condoned by the parents was considered rape.  Napoleon went to extremes.  When his army was reluctant to invade Italy he persuaded them with: “You want women?  The Italians have women and they are yours for the taking.”  Yet, in Egypt, he had rapists shot.  When Stalin was asked for help in reducing the widespread rape of women in Europe he replied that his soldiers needed this privilege after enduring the hardships of battle. 
Living today there are 16 million men who are descendants of Genghis Khan (died 1227) who had his lieutenants select the most beautiful women in villages throughout his vast empire to stand by for his visits.  I had one of these as a high school student who traced his ancestry back to Genghis and a Hungarian woman he raped. The European Journal of Human Genetics claims there are some ten other men who can rival Genghis.
Today, we can argue that men, even those denied the Bonobo inheritance, have controlled biological impulses and that annual rape, per hundred thousand population is a small percentage, ranging from a high of 132 in South Africa to 67 for the USA and 29 for the UK.  In numbers, annual totals have been 24,206 for India compared to 83,425 for the USA.  These are reported figures. Most rapes go unreported and can be zero reports in some countries.  Conflicts, considered environmental causes, inflate these number enormously.  In the 1937 rape of Nanking (Nanjing, capital of Nationalist China) Japanese troops raped an estimated 80,000 women. But “Comfort Stations” were set up, 1932-45, throughout Japanese-occupied Asia to reduce the wholesale raping of women. Tens of thousands of women were forced to serve.
In Europe, during and after WWII, there was widespread rape by all armies, but the degree is much disputed among historians. We accuse the Soviets of raping every woman, regardless of age, in areas they occupied, even raping Soviet women released from forced-labour camps.  Soviet historians deny this and point to millions of rapes by Western forces and to German rapes of Soviet women.   Actual facts will never be known as most women are reluctant to admit they have been raped.  Nevertheless there is sufficient evidence to tell that rapes were in the millions.  When German troops invaded western Europe in 1940 there were thousands of rapes but, once control had been firmly established, German troops paid a small fee for sex and inter-marriage did occur.  Their invasion of eastern Europe was a much different story.  German military brothels grew to some 500 throughout Europe with 35,000 captured women, each forced to service over 30 men a day.
Estimates of rapes by US troops in Germany range from 11,000 to 190,000 (a Feb 2015 article in Der Spiegel).  Rapes in Italy were also numerous: 1,336 by French Moroccan troops were reported in one province in a 10-day period.  In Okinawa 10,000 women are estimated to have been raped by US troops.
The above is a small sampling of male abuse of women and does not include atrocities committed by groups like Daesh, Taliban, Boko Haram, etc, or “honour” killings of victims by relatives, both male and female. 
     Much of the above is too often dismissed as “wartime”.  Have we improved in times of relative peace?  In a recent survey, 25 US universities admitted 590 rapes but 3,329 female students claimed they were raped.  The US military had 20,000 rapes in 2014,down from 26,000 in 2012.  A UN report shows that police annually receive 250,000 reports of rape, a mere fraction of actual rapes.
Personal experiences and environments shape us.  In my boyhood days in Ontario, sex was a main topic among boys but was almost all fantasy, limited to occasional kissing and necking.  Then came WWII  and   hundreds of thousands of boys sent overseas.  In the UK we were amazed at the availability of pubs and dance halls along with an attitude “enjoy today because you will likely be dead tomorrow”.  As sex was so available I never heard of a single case of rape.  Our mindsets did not permit it.  Neither did they permit homosexuality.  But I did hear 3 padres of different nationalities argue that female intolerance of male desires led to wars.  Later I listened to hundreds of husbands complaining they loved their wives far more than they were loved in return. 
At government expense, surviving Canadians brought 43,500 British brides and 21,000 children to Canada.  They could boast that the only Canadians who did not marry the girls they got pregnant were those who were killed in action.  Male sense of love and responsibility also resulted in 300,000 war brides arriving in the USA from the UK, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Philippines, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.  Later, war brides from Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq arrived.  Chinese women who had children by Japanese occupiers were left stranded in China until quite recently when some have been welcomed in Japan.
May I close with an episode that contributed to my distress and contempt of rape?  In 1945 I was among 11,000 aircrew POWs from Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Silesia, fleeing the Soviet advance. Most Commonwealth POWs took the northern route to be liberated by British and Canadian troops.  I happened to get into the group ending up in Bavaria to be liberated by Patton’s 3rd Army after our camp was caught, 29 April 1945, in the middle of a tank battle that is described in more detail in my book “It’s All Pensionable Time”. Patton himself, flanked by two pretty nurses, came into our compounds stating “Boys, you will all be back in Britain in 72 hours.”    For me, the 72 hours became 15 days.  We were ordered to stay behind barbed wire and troops were posted to ensure we did. Yet hundreds of us did slip out to explore the countryside.  An RAF friend and I entered a small farming village, surprising a young woman hoeing a large plot of land.  In panic she fled to her house but we intercepted her trying to explain we wanted only to talk to a real, live woman and showed her a tin of coffee grounds we carried.   Just then 3 groups of freed slave labourers came by, bent on rape.  Sensing the lesser of 2 evils, she sought our protection and allowed us into the house.  Seeing this, the groups waved us “Good luck” and went on to other homes.  
   We found a frightened elderly couple, 3 young women and several orphaned children.  We spent several hours with them. They were delighted with real coffee, an unknown delicacy in wartime Germany.  All of the women, ages 14 to over 60, had been raped many times.  Two of the teenagers feared they were pregnant and would be rejected by their boyfriends if they ever returned from the fighting fronts.  At dusk we knew we had to return to camp where we sought out the army commander to beg for help for the village women.  He had no interest, and told us it was the turn of German women to deliver.  I was ashamed to learn that a fair number of our exPOWs had slipped into Moosburg to rape, boasting that the next generation of Germans would be only half German.  None, whom I called friend, was among them.

georgesweanor@comcast.net ww.yeoldescribe.com

Friday, 8 January 2016


   Vladimir, I have just read your “My Dear Americans - an open letter to the American Nation”.  I had to buy it from Amazon, which makes you a Capitalist?  My reply is free, making me a Socialist?  I understand you have another 17 or so essays soon to be published for our benefit, so, maybe, I am a bit hasty in replying to this one, but, pretend you are a docile Russian bear, and do bear with me.   Mind if I assume my preferred role as a Citizen of the World?  It is a must because you imply Russia runs from the Ukraine to Mongolia, so I will add your  “Americans” are only United Statesians who have stolen the name, America, for themselves.
   You do have a knowledge of US history superior to what our politicians know of Russian history but, like us, you are an old romantic.  You chose a starry night in Rome on the roof of a nice-but-modest hotel with your beloved Olga but she went to bed, leaving you with a glass of spumante wine to help in dictating this letter to a machine.  Your words soon convey a sense of deep hurt imposed on Russia over the last century by a selfish West that used Russia; that kept it from needed warm-water ports; that distorted history with lies; and that imposed sanctions while creating their own vast, oppressive compared to Russian, empires with the USA the biggest culprit.  Now, I have agreed with most of that since my high school days but must add that many empires have also done some enduring good.  Take a look at my March 2015 blog on British Imperialism as well as benefits of Chinese, Persian, Roman, Ottoman, French, and Polynesian empires as well as Russian.  You do claim all Russians are kind so, in kindness, you warn us: 
   First you say that Russians are much better prepared for the New Era, already here, of climate change.  You lament that the US still clings to loans, mortgages, welfare, McDonalds, popcorn, chewing gum, pornography, paper money, Suvs, Batman, GI Joe and all those luxuries essential to the US life style.  You decry US myths and Hollywood versions of history all of which has been preached since the arrival of Columbus.  You tell us to forget ipads, TV, and bitten apples.  We will need waterproof items such as powerful flashlights, long-lasting batteries, candles, kerosene, cereals, canned meat, and hunting skills for which Russians are much better prepared. The civic consciousness of Russians and innate sense of unity to Mother and Father Russia is more effective than US flag waving in vulgar profusion while Russians keep pictures of Yuri Gagarin and Sergey Yesenin with photos of grandfathers who did not return from war.  The US Democracy is ruled by a few greedy and unscrupulous people. The working class struggle was strangled by prohibition and the Great Depression. WWII was made a source of fantastic US profits.  The secret of the US successful supermarket is printing ever more paper money, nullifying the little gold there is in Fort Knox.  
   You continue: “Russians do not want, and will not start, a war, yet bellicose talk of eliminating us forces us to be ready which we are much more so than the puny US Rangers, Delta Force, and Navy Seals with a total of 5,800 men and women, sufficient to replace a ruler of a small country with one willing to obey US orders, but useless against Russia.  The most sane of your politicians are delicate and impotent in face of greedy opposition.  Mountains of US garbage production suffocate the world.
   My great nation does not possess the blood-thirsty genes you accuse us of.  The US entered WWII after Hitler’s fate had already been sealed by us - so you manipulated us into small units, and, using Perestroika, brilliantly broke up our USSR.  Large is the value difference between states and countries.  Thousands of states exist.  The1815 Congress of Vienna listed 39 states in Germany alone.  For Russia the last century was a string of humiliations, torments, trials, and betrayals. At Sochi Olympics, John Kerry, US Secretary of State, and I agreed on many issues but he has had insufficient clout in Washington.
   The Ukraine is the home and heart of Russia, Kiev Russ was its capital.   The US, for its own goals, seeds hatred among Ukrainian brothers, imposing sanctions and threatening war.  Let me warn you: Your aggressive, but poorly trained, forces cannot prevail against us.  Examine your invasion of Grenada: Your seals are not seals.  One of two groups drowned when in error at night were dropped at sea.  In the other group a vital walkie-talkie was left in a helicopter causing the operation to be limited to blowing up a TV tower and freeing the British governor.  The entire backbone of the US Supermarket Protection Force is a mere 39,000 men.  I have a million well-trained soldiers.  In 2012 more US soldiers died by suicide than were killed in battle.  You have too many obese and drug-addicted people and your sanctions hurt Europe more than Russia.”
   Now, Vladimir, it is my turn: Like us, you are right in some of your statements.  You say you talk quietly and decisively as you need not shout like Hitler and Mussolini to cover the doubts in their own hearts while you suffer no doubts due to your faith in Mother Russia, but "Russia" needs defining.  Its Siberian conquests, starting in 1580, did require Cossacks, Lithuanians, and thousands of German slaves.
   I did find your letter rambling and repetitive (but so is mine) with no mention of your popularity in rescuing Russia from the economic chaos of the breakup of the USSR.  The words I read convey a strange mixture of loneliness, a desire for love, and dire warnings of Russian military capabilities.  It seems to me, Vladimir, that you and your oligarchs are much like US Republican oligarchs, all believing salvation requires them to dominate the world. 
   Also, Vladimir when your words dwell on the impotence and unimportance of small states, you and your Russia behave just like the Americans with their Manifest Destiny.  Your Russia is not all Russian.  Do you not owe it all to the Vikings who were so good at exploring, fighting, raping, settling, and building?   Was it not they who invented in Kiev the term “Russ”, so, yes, the Ukraine is Russian if we overlook the original inhabitants which, like in all of America, south, central, and north, were decimated and subdued.  And your treatment of Poland reminds me of Mexico and the US.  "USSR" and "Soviets" were much more correct names.  When in 1945 in Silesia I mingled with hundreds of your countrymen and women I found they hailed from the Ukraine to Mongolia.  Some spoke English and I did notice that their love of Stalin was imposed by sergeants, and that their fear of capitalism was much greater than their fear of our troops.  My Polish friends told of Russian oppression being much worse than German.   I also found that many men, regardless of origins, have a biological flaw that results in the rape of millions of women.  We hid ours but exposed yours and those of the Japanese.  Western male restraint, aided by the $75 fine for fraternizing, surpassed Soviet. 
   Yes, I know of your Anne of Kiev, whose four daughters married into European royalty, produced future heads of state for European nations, but is that contribution not minor to what we owe Russia for its writers, philosophers, scientists, astronauts, and soldiers whose sacrifices produced the real turning point of WWII that you know as the 1941 Battle for Moscow while I like to think it was our 1940 Battle of Britain.
   Due to the Commonwealth’s blockade, Hitler could stockpile only a 2-month use of rubber and oil which actually was rebuilt for 2 years by the US via Spain until, just after Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, Hitler declared war on the US, hoping that would prompt a grateful Japan into invading Siberia thus diverting Soviet troops from his forced-to-be-short-lived blitzkriegs.  Japan did not co-operate so Hitler was doomed.
   Many small nations have provided humanity with great advances but it does take large associations to have the wealth required for insights into medicine, science, and space.  Sadly, human folly has seen City States, Nation States, and Empires all fighting each other so we do need an embracive United Nations, free of special vetoes, with no one left to fight and having human-rights police to police the police who police the rest of us.
   So, Vladimir, we do need a democratic you.  Our tiny, over-populated and over-used world demands a mindset to result in all of us working together if survival is our goal. Your stated goals mimic Obama’s but both of you face immense opposition.  Somehow, you have been more successful in accumulating wealth and homes which, Vladimir, implies his altruism beats yours.  Care to share?
   Your affluence does harm the insistence of our capitalist oligarchs who fear and preach the horrors of grinding poverty found in your communism, bolshevism, socialism, or whatever.  To them Fascism is much more comfortable.  And, Vladimir, there are your wealthy oligarchs fatally dismissed from your camp.  Why?
   You demean US schools for brain-washing students with myths and Hollywood versions of history.  True until the college years, but you neglect the fact that we Westerners do have thousands of wise and determined researchers who are allowed to publish books, articles, and films on our flaws and wrongs.  Our media, too much money-controlled, has always had a large influence on our policies - but our dissidents do have some.  So, Vladimir, do listen to yours like chess champion Gary Kasparov who has chosen exile from Baku, Azerbaijan.  The murder of dissident Boris Nemtsov in Moscow is another big worry for us.  But, then, we are most rude in our lack of thanks for your magnificent gift of a tower remembering 9/11.
   I would like to close with the exhilarating example of Chris and Helene Hadfield.  A Canadian astronaut, Chris was posted to the Baikonur Cosmodrome from where he spent 166 days in space including commanding the International Space Station.  He and Helene chose to find housing among the Russian community, learned the language and culture, thoroughly enjoying the experience.  Russia built this site, but after the breakup of the USSR now leases it from Kazakhstan for $155 million per year. Costs are shared by the Canadian, European, Japanese, Russian, and US space agencies.  We do need more examples like this.

georgesweanor@comcast.net       www.yeoldescribe.com