Tag Archive: atrocity

Ireland, Somerset and the Legion d’Honneur


…if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – Nichiren Daishonin, from his writings, page 4.  Written in 1255.


On being woken today by my clock radio, I heard that one of the two soldiers killed by the ‘Real’ IRA attack threw his unarmed body on top of the 19 year old Domino Pizza delivery boy, Anthony Watson,  to shield him from the bullets.  This was initially reported here in The Belfast Telegraph.  Almost to no avail, though.  The gunmen advanced towards them and shot them all as they lay prone on the ground.

We’ll soon determine which of the two young men it was, but I’m reminded of the words of the prophet Jesus, someone whose sayings have been an excuse for much of Irish and the World’s troubles.

13: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – The Book of John 15:13

“Friend” refers to a fellow human being, and the act is one of those continuing, astonishing acts by ordinary people that remind us that there is “good” as a concept, in humanity.

Following this act, another bunch of hoodlums called the ‘Continuity’ IRA have killed a policeman, as if to validate the justice of their cause and make a point of their own power.  The timing is no co-incidence.  The real reason is that were being left out of the show and shown to be ineffectual.  Their twisted logic meant that they had to do the same.

Fallout and Response

Community support shown for the two soldiers is a positive signIt’s to be expected that all the politicians of all flavours would “express disgust” etc about the killings and that they would say positive things about the peace process continuing.   It’s also to be expected that friends and commanders of the service people would express fine words and sentiments about their fallen comrades.   All these things happen every time someone dies out of time or in such a fashion.  In fact bizarrely, it’d be unusual if they didn’t.  All human life is precious.

People laying Flowers at the scene of the shootingBut what is really heartening, is to see the large public response of disgust to the killings and worry about the consequences.  With the obvious exception of the Omagh atrocity (also the rira), the people of Ireland as a whole have had nearly 15 years of peace and a buoyant growing economy.  They don’t want to return to the bad old days of thuggery and protection rackets.  Many children now don’t have an actual memory of those times, only the stories from others.

But the response is mainly verbal, from vox-pop interviews on the street and phone-ins, say.  We need more than a few flowers.

Real IRA graffitiSuggestion

What I’d like is a nice big symbolic gesture from these people to show that the few thuggish families behind all this stuff won’t be tolerated.

Can I suggest, that en-masse, thousands gather and clean up the crap graffiti slogans that litter the walls of Northern Ireland.  Call it  Direct action for freedom from fear! I’m thinking particularly of the blood-red one pictured left.  The symbolic demonstration that ‘this is too much’ to the people nearby (who are the ones doing it, make no mistake) will demonstrate that the people won’t tolerate this stuff, and if they don’t stop, they’ll be outed.  Leaving it to the council isn’t good enough if you really, really want peace.

Leaving it to the politicians isn’t good enough either if you really, really want peace.

The painted walls as tokenised history should be next to go, but the reality of this red crap is that it legitimises the evil ideas and actions of a few thuggish types.  If you really want peace you should be prepared to assert your right to it.  Like the young soldier who threw himself onto the pizza boy.


Harry PatchCo-incidentally this weekend, Harry Patch from Somerset has been given France’s Highest Award, the Legion d’Honneur, at the suggestion of President Sakozy.  Since his 100th birthday, Harry has come out his self-imposed silence and spoken vociferously about WW1 and warfare and killing.  Andrew Motion wrote a poem about his life.

Now watch Harry Patch speak at Passchendaele and compare and contrast his ideas and feelings with the events in Northern Ireland this weekend and Nichiren’s words at the top.

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Der Spiegel on World War 1

Today’s the 90th anniversary of the armistice, the end of the war to end all wars as it was called.  All we seem to have had here in the UK is pictures of loads of stark white, neatly arranged tombstones for weeks now.  It’s as if en-masse, the people get an obligation to feel sadness, do feel sad, and then move on to something else – like the latest global atrocity to ignore (again) or to “play” kill as many soldiers in as short space of time as you can manage in the plethora of shoot-em-up computer games that exist.

tommiesypresdead german

I’ve seen very little of the Germans in all this.  So I’ve fished about in German and come up with a neat bit in English about the German view of it all on Der Spiegel Online here and here, amongst other places.

The juxtaposition of the photos with the text underneath in the Der Spiegel photo-galleries demonstrates that life is for living.  To read the text accompanying the photo is a shot to the senses because of their apparent un-relatedness.  But Buddhism stresses the interconnectedness of all things….  They’ve done a really good job there, I think.

A particular bit of fascinating information is that the Germans really haven’t much clue about WW1 veterans.  They think the last one died last year, but aren’t sure.  They don’t do parades or memorials to the dead like in the UK because of the “stigma of defeat” as they call it.  They see WW1 being a prelude to WW2, which it did end up being, of course.

But at the time, it didn’t seem like that to the people in it!  They only knew, like we do now, what’s happening as we speak and live.  At WW1 end, they didn’t know there was going to be a WW2 any more than we now can tell what will happen in 20 years time.

However, because of the harsh terms imposed at Versailles, this set in place the German financial collapse, then the rise of Hitler and Nazism, and coupled with the Depression and certain “security” laws enacted by the German Democratic Government during the 20’s, Hitler easily strode to power, using the law to imprison and execute his enemies.

Those same laws are what our current Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is trying to push through onto us under the disguise of “security”.

This is the real reason to look to the past.  Not to feel a cosy respect for past glories, but to learn from history and ensure that the same mistakes don’t happen again.

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Thoughts on a 64 year old Massacre

France 24 item in English

64 years after massacre, villagers of Maillé may get some answers at last The Guardian

The forgotten French village massacre BBC News

The Nazis’ final atrocity: why, as they were surrendering, did one unit wipe out an entire village? Mail Online

Orphans of forgotten Nazi massacre hope for justice Daily Telegraph

25th August 1944 – Maillé, the martyred village. small page of A.C. Roy, descendant of the village of Maille

What most impressed me about all this was the German, Ulrich Mass, who has taken the task upon himself to try and discover some sense to everything, assign some justice and bring some form of closure to a bunch of people who are clearly severely traumatised, and remain so despite the passage of time.  The trauma has passed to their descendants and newcomers to the village as it’s clear from all the variations of the story above, that no-one says very much.

Mr Mass says:

…it was German injury, and I think, it’s my duty, AND it’s my moral duty to say that; and it’s my feeling.

A lady waters her pansies on the exact spot of her ancestor’s death.

The Mail article contains a wealth of personal testimony, mostly in list form which makes this moment in history much more real as the pictures are formed in one’s mind one, bang, after, bang, another, bang.  Relentlessly.

124 unarmed people died that day in France.

France2002_222.jpg France2002_223.jpg France2002_224.jpg

624 were similarly killed in Oradour-sur-Glane.  These are three pictures of a visit.  I couldn’t wait to leave.  The birds don’t sing much.

France2002_206.jpg In the same year as that visit I stopped next to a plaque on a monument in the fork of a road at Betete in the Creuse, France, near Genouillac.  Two people, GA Aubrey and GM Esmoing were killed by the Nazis and are remembered here.

Above a little alley in Gueret, the Department capital, was another little plaque to a young man shot on that spot.  50m down the road but a year apart in time was another.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me that day.

There are over 90 departments in France.    There are now a host of websites with information and pictures on individual and group histories of massacres and executions which puts paid to the commonly held idea in the UK that the French don’t talk or think about the war like the British.  See this website from Reims and this Wikipedia entry for instance. (paragraph amended 6 Sep 2009)


Mr Ulrich Mass greets Mr Bernard Eliaume

All this stuff represents man’s inhumanity to man.  Mr Ulrich Mass is getting along perfectly well with Mr Bernard Eliaume whereas 60-64 years ago would have been different.  As Nichiren said:

There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – Nichiren Daishonin / On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 1, page 4

I’m in two minds about all this.

I can see the point of tracking people down across all of space and time for their crimes.  I feel for the people still suffering in Maille and I think they deserve to be happy, just like anyone else, and to be relieved of their continual trauma.

But on the other hand I can see virtue in letting the past lie.  The South African idea of the “Truth & Reconciliation” committee and hearings has a lot of merit.  It made people acknowledge that bad things were done by all parties but that the only way to move forward was to acknowledge all these errors, not to forget and to try to ensure that shit didn’t happen again.

This has already happened in Europe just after the war under the inspiration of Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenhaur.  In 1948 Schuman made a speech at the UN proposing a European Assembly and by 1951 with the Treaty of Paris there was the European Coal and Steel Community.

Schuman proposed this;

…as a way to prevent further war between France and Germany. He declared his aim was to ‘make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.’

And so it’s remained.

People who wish to split the European Union apart, should consider the tales at the beginning of this piece before spouting their divisive rubbish.  The next time there’s an industrial scale war in Europe will be the last and no-one will be left to read any tales.

For the people of Maille however, they’ve been forgotten, and this is perhaps the real tragedy and the reason for their torment.  They need to be reconciled like the rest of Europe.

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Bush’s Double Standards in Texas, Pakistan and Afghanistan

I’ve just seen a news article today about a man who’s been locked in a jail for about 30 years and no-one knew where he was! He belongs to the world’s largest democracy, India, and has been jailed in Pakistan since 1973! This is the same Pakistan that George Bush has decided is a friend to root out the “terrorists” in Afghanistan. See this video: https://youtu.be/mZ0u0AznFTc

You’ll notice that the jailing policy in Pakistan is remarkably similar to the Guantalemo Bay lock-ups! Ah yes! A true friend of democracy and freedom, with justice for all, indeed.

Kurdish inhabited area by CIA

Kurdish inhabited area by CIA

Unfortunately, George also mentions the terrorist organisation , the PKK, who live some way from Pakistan, in Turkey/Iran/Iraq/Syria, because he is being interviewed in Turkey. He does a direct jump to the PKK after saying that he needs Pakistan to provide information on “terrorists” “hiding” in Pakistan from Afghanistan. This is the same Pakistan that is clueless about who they’ve got jailed, and why, like the guy in the BBC article above.

George Bush - Mission Accomplished

George Bush – Mission Accomplished

Therein lies the problem. If George really wanted the bad guys dead in that country, they’d be dead and there would be no more poppy fields creating such misery in Britain and elsewhere. The Taliban managed it, a little tin-pot group who struggle to get anything bigger than a rowing boat in the open, let alone put men on the moon. So why can’t George? Why doesn’t he want to?

Never a Dearth of Corpses

This is war in black and white – Never a Dearth of Corpses

George has his “in god we trust” induced “war on terror”. We all know that one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist. Now war isn’t rhetoric. This is war. It’s in colour now if they let you see the results, that’s the only difference.

George was never in a war, never in the military…“I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” – said Dwight D Eisenhower, former US president.

The PKK are a Kurdish organisation. They’ve been pejoratively called Marxist by George. Marx started the idea of communism after the French, who still live in “Communes”. Watch out France! George doesn’t like that. (oh I forgot! They do watch out – they have their own independent nuclear deterrent – and the rockets point east and west from France). Here’s a map of where the Kurds live and speak:

Kurdish Areas in Red– quite a way from Pakistan.

George is from Texas, as he’s always telling us. Now Texas was started by a minority bunch of English people deciding that they didn’t like their rulers, Spanish speaking Mexico. So they became terrorists. The Battle of The Alamo was part of this fiasco. Eventually, the terrorists won and then Texas was ANNEXED by the United States. For comparison, England and Scotland had been at war for centuries but had an official “Act of Union” in 1707.

The poor old Kurds meanwhile have been shat on for centuries and continue to be so by everyone – including George Bush now.

It’s not good enough to say that they should follow the law of the ballot box (in Turkey, say), 1 million Kurds, Armenians, Pontian Greeks and Assyrians were massacred after WW1 in what is now Turkey after being stirred up against each other, Saddam Hussein continued the process in Iraq due to the Bush family ineptitude. Currently, Turkey is invading Iraq to catch and kill some Kurds. This is on top of the pogroms from the Arabs and the Mongols in earlier centuries. But through all of history the Kurds have maintained their existence and language in and about the red area on the map. And unlike Texans, they are the majority in their areas.

It’s not their fault that the national boundaries don’t go round the red bits. The boundaries were drawn (mainly by the British who were after oil, that’s why they are so straight!) after WW1. Weasely promises by Woodrow Wilson, (much like the Bush senior promises of help to the marsh arabs and northern Kurds in Iraq after Gulf War I), led the Kurds to help end the Ottoman Empire with a promise of a secure homeland with the Treaty of Sevres. The Turks ditched that plan and it’s been hell there ever since.

It’s not the Kurds fault that the Turkish government has a weird prohibition on speaking Kurdish. I’d like to remind English speakers here that this was the case for the Welsh, IN WALES, as they were oppressed by the English until very recently.

My grandfather Rees told me that he didn’t learn English until he went to school, and when he did, he learnt it fast as the teachers whacked him round the head if he spoke Welsh – his language – in class! This was in the town of Brynamman around about 1900.

  • So, the PKK are fighting for a free homeland, in a place they’ve always lived, speaking their own language like they always have.
  • The Texans fought for a place to be the arrogant twats they are, in a foreign land where they’d never lived, speaking their language in preference to the native speakers.

Leyla Zana said patriotically and in a heartfelt way,

‘I shall struggle so that the Kurdish and Turkish peoples may live together in a democratic framework.’

– at her inaugural speech. The trouble was that she said it in Kurdish so she was locked up from 1994 to 2004. So it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it! Nelson Mandela famously refused a high Turkish honour because of this.
The PKK have supposedly made ~30k casualties (not dead!) since the early 70’s in fighting for their freedom. In actual fact, the conflict has claimed about the same as the number of casualties in the Northern Ireland troubles over the same sort of time period. (~40,000 killed and injured). Many of these N.I. casualties were the direct result of money raised in the streets and bars of New York.

The USA has caused the deaths of at least 700,000 Iraqis fighting for the Iraqi’s “democracy” (not their own!). By the way, the annual road US deaths toll is ~60k. The fuel for the killer cars originally came from Texas (where the Bush family got it’s fortune from) and now comes from Iraq! I’m telling you, there’s a shed load of bad karma building up here!

Now people have long memories. The Kurds are no different to the Welsh or English. Many English are proud of the great victories over the French at Azincourt and Crecy. These were over 600 years ago and people talk about them as if they were yesterday. (BTW, I’ve visited both sites!)

Kurds Being Killed without reason or just cause.

Kurds Being Killed without reason or just cause.

Why should the Kurds feel any friendship to the Turks or Iraqis when people alive now were witness to their atrocities? This is a picture of one. It won the Pulitzer Prize.

Surely the way forward for the Kurds is a solution like that in Northern Ireland. The Kurds need to find a way through Buddhist dialogue and the other forces at work, the Turks and especially the USA, need to stop referring to them as terrorists and recognise the validity of their claims. They are separate peoples with their own identity and should be seen to be so. Only then will the peoples come together, much like in the United Kingdom, and retain their own identities within a common framework. Just like Leyla Zana said.

The way forward for Afghanistan is to get rid of the Bush Administration and make sure nothing like it is allowed the reins of power in the US ever again. This would have benefits to mankind in many areas – the environment, global warming, global famine, global war, global freedom.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” – Dwight D Eisenhower

However, I’m seriously depressed at seeing this happen as it seems that Americans, the great swaggering bulk of them, seem incapable of electing anyone with more than two syllables in the name. Certainly within recent history. The UK seems to be going the same way. Even the opposition leader, Cam-er-on, wants be known as “Dave”, which is shorter, to compete with Brown and formerly Blair.

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