Tag Archives: World War II

A Collision Course in Europe and the US with Russia?‏ – What is the real Crisis?


Air strike in Kobani An air strike in Kobani, Syria, in October. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

 

 

 

“United we stand; divided we fall.”
Aesop

It would seem  the world is facing a critical number of security issues at similar time, the last which is part of the reason for the 28-nation meeting in Newport (Wales) this week. As part of the military alliance heads of state including US President Barack Obama will express their views on the situation in both Iraq and Syria, with the profound dangers of ISIS at this stage, increasing concerns on e.g cyber threats, issues in the South Chinese Sea what may be called territorial disputes and others. However the meeting is most likely to be dominated on the Ukraine crisis with the question as how far to take matters  in support of Ukraine against Russia challenging the political integrity of this nation, – the last by backing separatist fighter in Ukraine at a scale increasing over the last weeks.

Ukraine’s government in Kiev alleges with NATO support – which Moscow denies – that Russian troops are being actively deployed in the east and south of the country, this with the risk  of direct military conflict between the two nations with the potential of both NATO and the USA being pulled in.


The biggest challenge for NATO and the US is to balance both the pressure  but also providing Russia a gracious exit as one unbalanced step too far may trigger an escalating point of no return. Hence strategic discussions being more import than putting out fires. The crux will be NATO’s Clause nr 5 which says an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all members. Ukraine now is a “partner” but not an official member but it is anticipated that Ukraine will seek full NATO membership, which might be the desire of the Baltic states as well.


The US will needless to say reaffirm it’s commitment to NATO’s Clause 5. The problems as a result of this at the moment is as important as the response on the problems being faced. It’s a critical issue where Russia,  and both NATO &  US face each other “in the eye” on either compromise or an escalating devastating conflict. History learnt us that both past crisis around Berlin and Cuba had somehow a “last minute escape” from irreversible confrontation, and it is within reason to suspect that both US and Russia may come up with a solution reached under pressure amidst the risk of spiralling conflict.


One may look at the old Greek as how to face this in a broader context and it was Aesop who once said: “Lay not the blame on me, O sailor, but on the winds. By nature I am as calm and safe as the land itself, but the winds fall upon me with their gusts and gales, and lash me into a fury that is not natural to me.”..

In passing, this is what applies somehow to both parties in the current conflict. The “wind” is an unpredictable force and the “fury” of conflict could be immense. What Aesop says further is interesting as well and reflects some applicable wisdom:  “The north wind and the sun were disputing which was the stronger, and agreed to acknowledge as the victor whichever of them could strip a traveller of his clothing. The wind tried first. But its violent gusts only made the man hold his clothes tightly around him, and when it blew harder still the cold made him so uncomfortable that he put on an extra wrap. Eventually the wind got tired of it and handed him over to the sun. The sun shone first with moderate warmth, which made the man take off his topcoat. Then it blazed fiercely, till, unable to stand the heat, he stripped and went off to a bathe in a nearby river”…..Persuasion is more effective than force! –The question in Europe is how, how to do this as effective as possible without errors in calculation.

It is safe to say that it is sound to use pressure to prevent conflict but utter isolation may provoke war, this to  be considered as one of the learning experiences from both the processes leading up to both the 1st and 2nd world war. Obviously  Germany was both responsible for the start of both war’s but the Dual-Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary made the Russians feel threatened, and as a response they joined a Rival-Alliance with France. This put Germany in a position of threatening peace in Europe, which may have provoked the First World War. It should be noted that Rival-Alliances should not be aimed to put Russia in a spot they see no way out despite their errors of judgement. Perhaps they already don’t see a way out, it’s hard to assess.

Furthermore, coming back on history and the dynamics before the 2nd world war, –  the Treaty of Versailles triggered strong currents of deeply felt cultural dissatisfaction in Weimar Germany, responsible perhaps for a climate in which Adolf Hitler was perceived by the Germans as the answer on their grievances, – not knowing what the man was lying ahead. We know from President Putin that he is prepared to “play hard ball” but not at all costs and he may have his assessment “on the West” ready.



Coming back to Aesop, who said (perhaps) at the personal level: “Once upon a time all the rivers combined to protest against the action of the sea in making their waters salt. “When we come to you,” said they to the sea, “we are sweet and drinkable; but when once we have mingled with you, our waters become as briny and unpalatable as your own.” The sea replied shortly, “Keep away from me, and you’ll remain sweet.”……. In other words within the current European scenario stick to your own country and your country will stick to you.  “Keep your place in life and your place will keep you”. The perceptions Of President Putin are clearly different than US President Obama and whilst Ukraine has its own autonomy, Putin still considers somehow Ukraine as the backyard of Russia, the previous USSR. Increasing connections at military level between Europe and Ukraine are considered by Russia as a security risk.

Prejudices work both ways and conversance in sustained ways may soften the views from bilateral perspectives with an understanding that since the fall of the USSR the underlying Russian current is with an intended reclaiming of Ukraine now, it may strengthen its position against an increasing NATO alliance where the US keeps a strong foothold.  If the Ukraine crisis may be considered as the symptom of a disease, one need to avoid a remedy which is worse than this disease. At the end of the day the US has had a history in both Vietnam, invading Iraq and Afghanistan (which could have been dealt with differently) and on which the mixed after effects are visible . In Iraq more dangerous than ever before with the rise of ISIS. The Russian leadership out of security reasons may perceive to have the same rights as the US where it comes to invading countries if the last fits a “security strategy”, – hence the dynamics being dangerous as due to a risk that both super powers are not willing to back down. Obviously every nation has a right to exist and Ukraine is no exception on this but history learns that in many occasions this is not a point of fact. The question is whether Russia has perceived both increasing NATO influence in Europe, supported by the US, as a threat for its national security and if this is the case whether this could have been avoided and whether those perceptions can be reversed. Hard to say at this stage but once the trigger for this change of direction can be found, knowing that it is not in Russia’s interest to be isolated, efforts can be made to wind down this process ultimately leading to forces within Russia to restore the old status quo of the USSR. As such Russia is better part of Europe , participating like eg Germany does in constructive ways, – and not being a frustrated isolated and destructive force outside Europe with different perceptions on national security and increasing antagonism with “the West”.

Every conflict requires its unique response and in Europe applies that it is important to take care that by preventing one evil, one may not fall in a far greater evil. And being in the process to try to bend Russia from its way “in”, it should not break it whilst seeking a way “out”.  National pride might be for some part at the root of  domestic perceptions and one needs to be careful not to break this pride by not playing a good card (the sanctions) far too often without a convenient way out for the other party. Losing national dignity at this level comes at a price of wrong chosen liberty with the conviction the battle is won by the strong. The last which is not always true as an unexpected poisonous bite, as part of a pointless tit for tat strategy without sustained “face to face discussions”, could make the shortcut on success a failure on the long term. The art of crisis management is to create a new reciprocal bond to prevent issues like this in the future, and Russia needs to be included in such bond if it seeks a way out. Russia is somehow cornered and the dynamics for constructive dialogue are by far not ideal anymore. Partners are able to reason but both the US and Russia are not seen to be partners anymore, if they ever were. They were closing in at some stage, however the relationship is worse than almost ever before since the Cuban missile crisis where the US did not tolerate Russian supported nuclear missiles on Cuba.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  said Monday that his country’s military would not interfere with the situation in Ukraine and that he stood ready to “converse” with the West to reach a peaceful settlement to the crisis there. This gesture was supposed  to be embraced within the pending NATO conference in Wales with genuine creativity rather than increasing tensions and new potential sanctions. It would seem Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling on Ukraine to start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.  Putin said Ukraine should “hold substantive, meaningful talks, not about technical issues but about the question of the political organization of society and statehood in southeast Ukraine, with the goal of safeguarding the legitimate interests of those people who live there.”


NATO meanwhile claims there are at least 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine and the EU is giving Russia a one-week ultimatum to scale back its intervention in Ukraine or face more economic sanctions. The question is how strong are both the words and the actions in a situation which has deteriorated the last couple of months with high level propaganda in the media, not to speak about the Malaysian plane being shot down in the airspace of Ukraine held territory by pro-Russian separatists. The last a most tragic and dramatic error of calculation in a real war zone.


The conduct of public business in politics has an obligation to preserve peace at all costs and not running the pathway of an unavoidable collusion by lack of diplomatic creativity and discernment. Every man of his nation should be a man of his time as well. A high measure of public service needs to be seen in light of pure principle centred leadership rather than cutting corners with each other on false propaganda. We are living in a time we  neither can afford ignorance to the past, nor to the present , nor to the future, – and those in public office at the critical moment of decision making now need to be aware of the huge responsibilities to future generations, superseding national interest and national security issues in some aspects , but not at a cost of the real dangers of our time. The last, and the real ones,  which seems to find its manifestation in eg Iraq and Syria at the moment. Hence reason enough to find a bilateral satisfactory solution in Europe as if Ukraine would be considered to be a partner in NATO why not as well Russia, – provided they solve their conflicts in a peaceful way, with an immediate cessation of all sanctions after such agreement. Lets put it this way, there are far more important issues to solve at this very present moment and it is most important not to get into inflated “Cold War” dynamics from the past. Leaders allowing this to happen with the backing of their own military advisers would do better to look beyond this with a clearer picture in mind to find a settlement which fits all parties, – as such preventing both pointless and repetitive patterns  in history.

We need to strive to make others see that those matters in both Iraq and Syria are the real issues and avoid an escalating conflict in Europe. Peace among more unified civilised nations is the most important issue on earth otherwise we may be the victim of the widespread violence of seriously uncivilised and brutal forces, – plenty enough here on earth. It’s the kind of peace which makes life worth living and this peace is under threat from far more greater and spreading dangers than we see now, which is the reason we need to reconcile our differences on the issues where we are able do this by reasoning and making deals. The new face of potential all out war, this time in Europe again,  may have life ending implications as such war once started can’t be controlled anymore. Such war can only destroy and never create and serious errors on misjudgment on reciprocal abilities to reason out conflict as part of a multilateral security arrangement in which Russia is involved as well is more effective than sanctions from the West, and Russia reminding the world that they still have one of the most advanced nuclear arsenals. It needs to be understood that Russia has a historical fear with roots to the second world war, and the existing military pacts are coming too close to Russia, – in their perception. The point is that perceptions not being changed by the reality of “inclusion” may lead to self-fulfilling perceptions and possibly war like we have seen under different dynamics in both the lead up to the 1st and 2nd world war.


Both Russia and NATO & the US need to speak in rational terms on the legitimate future of Ukraine with greater reference to the grave dangers in both Iraq and Syria, which is a task of civilised nations. This is not allowed to fall on deaf ears as history will judge those who make decisions in the present on how it worked out in the future. The option to help Russia on a more enlightened attitude towards Ukraine as part of a trade off deal can’t be missed. War is not inevitable among civilised nations but violence at larger than expected scale is inevitable from existing and spreading groups in both Syria and Iraq. We can be as big as we want as a human species but not in harmony with fast spreading evil who may destroy all human dignity on the places where they are allowed to spread their toxins by death, mutilation or worse.

Only the sum of many acts and the sum of the efforts of all civilised nations is able to turn the tide by destroying ISIS and their efforts to create an Islāmic state in Syria and Iraq.

To preserve  peace and avoid the threats of war will be a challenge for each generation anew in different identities and requires now to make a united stance against increasing sectarian violence across the borders of inflated perceptions on those which were earlier considered to be opponents. Relations between nations with frictions on relatively trivial issues need to change and new bonds need to be created against the greater dangers of our time. Communication  should be more than an exchange of threats and sanctions, where the options of a mature dialogue on the broader perspectives from both sides, including the anxieties from both sides, are not fully explored. And the last applies to the current issues in Europe where the risk is that people get too much fixed on their opinions, not always based on the facts. No nation suffered more on the battlefield of war than Russia during the 2nd world war and an increasing united alliance against it’s own state, including former parts of the USSR are perceived as a danger on their part. Reaching out in inclusive diplomacy may help a new bond. The last not being based anymore on underlying historic and  persistent ancient historic for a potential new menace,  from both sides however.

All what world powers have worked for could be destroyed in the devastation of war in the first 24 hours, giving way to the sectarian violence which will be the fruit of those endeavours if life proves still to be possible in some parts of the world.


Therefore I tend to say that nations in Europe and particular Russia need to evaluate their position to the long term desired dynamics and both Europe and the US need to help Russia a way out amidst the rumbling background powers this country has in terms of extreme dynamics, like the US has the same  in its own backyard, – all hard to balance. Certain buttons are not supposed to be pushed too hard where the other party has not a favourable image anymore. We know from both Russia and the US that there are mighty background powers, not to be under estimated, and when both the US President and the Russian President are unable to make a deal being satisfactory and long lasting, the background powers pushing for potential confrontation will get stronger.

The answer is to continue to reach out and look at long-term strategies to form new bonds based on different foundations than in the past, where the last is possible.


Massive amounts of money being spent on modernising the capacity for multilateral destruction is better spent on the common enemies we have, including terrorism, the last increasingly advanced, – but besides this a more unified struggle against the  roots of evil and hatred against humankind. At the end of the day violence breeds violence as a self-fulfilling prophecy and in our hands with God’s help lies the seed to unwind this ongoing process of what we may call a  self-destructive trait of humankind, – never ever solved since the creation of human beings.


We now have to avoid a remedy which is worse than “the disease” and too often in history it proved  we did do the last the last bit rather than the first one.  Whilst change of habit can’t change the nature of people, –  changing the nature of our response might change the habit and might change our culture, – the last which we need to watch closely  in our decision-making  at times of crisis.

For sure  we are lacking many answers but this is this is the  last option we have.


Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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21st Century’s collision course of nuclear disaster, – both the possible and the impossible!


Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Those who get confused about the real priorities on earth and lose their cause will pay the costs

This is the reason I want to speak about the prospect of war tonight, not because I like it but the risks are more clear than ever before. The risk of people as part of humankind as a whole being confused about the real enemies and threats we are faced with.

This is the topic for tonight

Tonight people in Western Australia‘s Pilbara region are being warned that the pending Cyclone Rusty could bring 250 km/hour winds slamming into the coast and inflicting massive destruction. Major parts of the Queensland coast and New south Wales have been battered by storms, twisters and flooding at a scale of increasing force. Both the east and west coast of Australia are encountering changing in patterns subject to greater forces of violence of nature in the future.

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That’s nature only.

Like one small wave or earthquake may cause a tsunami, destructive in all its power, – a minor escalating conflict may cause atomic war

Just moments before a tsunami hits can be a time of serene calm, – as calm and hidden can be the preparation of war. In some places the water actually pulls back from the coast. In some cases, harbours and bays are entirely emptied of their water. And people may be misled by those signs, whilst full destruction is pending.

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The same applies when times are filled up with hope, where the absence of war does not mean there is peace. Peace though being desired as the most important revelation on earth, – peace being desired as the most important power being able to combat both war and the preparation for it. Peace being required to combat the elements of nature and not destruction ourselves by choice through science being used the wrong directions.

It will be neither Air Force One which brings this peace, nor is it the breaking of a man’s spirit which may cause war, – but the sum of all efforts in either direction of both peace or war will make the difference between our existence or our total destruction, – the difference between the worst possible menace of violence, or our ability to communicate with each other and try to solve problems, – civilised within the potential of our humanity, as civilised we need to be at the major platforms of international discussions

“Civilisation” in the international arena of politics and eliminating dangers, both about forces of nature and war, should be based by principle on communication and efforts to change perceptions and give countries a chance to stick to international acceptable standards, – knowing we do not live in an ideal world. Hence the reason to do it this way, rather than the other way round.

When the bible speaks about the Kingdom of God being pending within the given variety of historical options and debate, – regardless indeed the potential of global self-inflicted destruction, – we have to remember that still a natural law applies: that we can only bring so much of God’s domain into this world as we have access to and willing to apply.

In the past 100 years, since 1914, we have seen two “World Wars”. World War 1 was more profound in it’s destructiveness than the sum of all the wars over the last 2500 years. World War II was four times more destructive than World War I.

The nuclear annihilation of two cities in Japan was the end of it

Two small bombs.

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The nuclear bombing which crippled Japan for many years, – had the most painful physical effects for many.

In no comparison with what is available now.

Any humans which survived the first blast of this explosion in eg one city only had major radiation exposure. Some 140000 people who survived this first nuclear explosion being used in war, sustained radiation exposure with many 3rd degree burns and were after the blast subject to the long term after effects of radiation poisoning. They were subject to increased risks on various cancers, the unborn being exposed, – and once born months later, far more vulnerable, with the far reaching increased risks of leukaemia and other malformations later in life.

From the first survivors only some 10% did live for a further 2 weeks as due to the wounds, the pain and the agony.

Nurses being overworked waited just for people to die as this was the last blessing to be relieved from their pains.

The long term after effects were horrendous.

The 2 nuclear bombs destroyed everything in its path. Those bombs killed about 165000 people within the first 3 months in Hiroshima and some 80000 in Nagasaki at a similar time frame

Nothing in comparison with what is available and possible now when any nuclear power would opt to use its arsenal, apart from the domino effect on other nuclear powers doing the same out of retaliation.

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The Tsar Bomb eg developed by the USSR and detonated in 1961 over the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, had a power of 50 megatons, – about 10 times the total explosives used in WWII, including the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Its fireball was so huge that it reached the ground while almost reaching the altitude of the bomber plane 10 km in the sky. It was felt almost 1,000 km from ground zero, and the heat from its first flash could have caused third degree burns some 110 km away. The mushroom cloud that formed was about 65 km high and 45 km wide, and the blast could be seen and felt in Scandinavia, where windows were broken. This bomb was originally designed to be one of 100 megatons, in other words twice the power as been exploded.

The Soviets decided in the end not to go ahead with this 100 megaton bomb

Mind you, – – those nuclear explosives were developed in the early 1960ties some 15 years after the end of the second world war and now we are living in a time where small nations developing nuclear weapons which could equate the 100 megatons in about 20 years or less, as those initially being designed by the Soviets and exploded in 1961.

The potential problem for every country in the third world which wants to be a nuclear power, provides the risks they may develop the sort of weapons both the US and Russia already had in the 1950ties, – and the world for certain should not allow this regardless the fact that the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, India and Pakistan already have nuclear bombs of various strength, -with Israel being included for almost a half century.

North Korea eg is an increasing power, -however a very unusual and unpredictable power, – last but not least as part of its almost total isolation. Despite good connections with both Russia and China in the past, the last 2 superpowers are getting concerned as well, – and the UN does not affect North Korea in any way to change positions of the regime.

There are different ideas about diplomacy and how to apply this in certain circumstances, – but so be it.

There are ideas about applying force, – so be not at this stage!

There is nothing against down to earth diplomacy, face to face at top level, – to prevent an otherwise potential worst case scenario. Only a minor shift in perception may change the risk of war. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, – which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”

Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term for the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, guided by both Russia and China as the long term developments and scenario’s may hit them as hard as the US in terms of costs protecting its citizens. It will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours.

The diplomacy of the kind being applied till so far did not work, however top level face-to-face diplomacy has not been tried as yet. Top level diplomacy does not mean bending towards NK’s demands, but high level direct diplomacy should be both aimed to ease the tensions and to create a fruitful alternative, – or NK indeed to face the gradual implications which would make regret its actions.

Such meetings with NK is not rewarding them for bad behaviour but allowing them by choice, and after exploring the alternatives, to engage as the last possible option into the domain of civilisation, – besides preventing the possibility that nuclear technology might find its way to Iran, al-Qaeda and others.

The last scenario would be only the start of a more devastating process, – widespread nuclear terrorism included – –

In the long history of the world, at times there were good powers in the Middle East, – like there were repugnant powers as well, living at the cost of many others, – those who died, forgotten in the dust of history.

As history often shows, people do not learn the way they should do, as a group or as a society, – and with this knowledge in the 21st century we need to make this different to survive as a human race on this planet. The flaws in foreign policy from the past should not be the repeated flaws in the future. Nuclear war starting in the Middle East could easily annihilate the human race, with a destruction and chaos as never being met before.

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Like a tsunami may hit us unexpected at the lower coast lines, – nuclear war could hit us unexpected anywhere and unprotected everywhere.

The US may play a major role to help fruitful dynamics, along with China and Russia.

The US can’t be indifferent as a broker, however this does not mean it would be dishonest, or should be dishonest with integrity by principle, – regardless the agenda of placing some safeguards for Israel. Safeguards being justified within the context of ongoing threats. Safeguards, – as the alternative of doing nothing to bend the road among the dynamics in the Middle East more positively, – means simply the clock is ticking towards more chaos and violence. Whether this is in Egypt or with the Palestinians, – Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran, – or any other areas with conflict including Syria. The last with a promising diplomatic Russian intervention yesterday, with the current regime being ready now to talk to all parties, – despite the risk of so called lip service to dialogue in more sustained ways.

We know it’s all complex, but terrorism and war are even more complex, – and safeguards should be there for any party agreeing with the fact  that broader violence is an inflated perception, leading to nothing else than a final destruction of this whole area and with this at least part of the world. Destruction of what once was build in terms of culture and difference. The Middle East being ancient and rich as once was the Roman empire, the first even older than the last.

Everything is a matter of perception and perceptions do rule the world, either in the leaders of people and governments, or in the people themselves. Whether those perceptions are right or wrong, bizarre perhaps at times – if we put up barriers feuded by prejudice, and as such preventing that we work with the most crucial different perceptions of our times, – we are taking away the opportunities of people coming together and making the impossible possible.

Impossible it seems before arriving at meetings, impossible when people are angry at times and reasoning from emotions, leaders living with ideas of going to war, – especially when those ideas do resonate at Departments of existing Foreign policy or at major military platforms. But history shows that the impossible is possible, even when we are faced with the impossible, like we are faced with the impossible of earthquakes and tsunamis when forces of nature do hit us wave by wave leaving behind bewildered people amidst destruction. But the last are situations where people despite destruction and losses of lives find each other in their willingness to help. That’s again a difference in perception, guided by what hits us.

Guided by what hits us, – whether it is a major bushfire or flooding, a tsunami or an earthquake. Those are challenges we don’t ask for but they hit us unexpected, – like a major rock from space can hit us unexpected.

And you know, – we train doctors and nurses, medical teams and fire brigades and all the others to help when required, – but the terrible contradiction comes in when major war hits the horizon.

War may hit us unexpected but the difference is that the dynamics leading to war are premeditated, dynamics who find their roots far too often within inflated perceptions not being properly discussed or taken to a level of exploring different alternatives.

This is the world as it does present us to day, whether it applies to the problems in the Middle East or in Korea, whether it applies to tensions between the US and China. And even when it seems that certain perceptions are not subject for change, those perceptions being purely based on blind hatred and prejudice, – whether it is the prejudice against the Jews or prejudice of any other kind, – still it is worth giving communication a chance, perhaps a last chance. Even when it seems against all odds. However, there should be zero tolerance for people and even countries who simply kill either on their own or in groups, – just for killing and destroying lives.

Zero tolerance for this!

leadership and I mean true leadership is not the rhetoric from behind the desk in front of a microphone, nor is it confronting people with the facts after disaster happened with the knowledge it could have been dealt with differently. Leadership as well is taking fear for granted and leave it behind in order to tackle the problems which need to be tackled. Leadership is not watching a train taking the wrong railway path and simply watching how a collision will occur and tell us thereafter that it occurred without taking action to alarm those being able to stop the train, or plane, – going into a collision course. This applies to the dynamics of potential world events as well, and we know they are closely watched with far too often too little proactive action. And if we speak then again about eg North Korea, the questions is what kind of discussions with NK do we mean? What kind of settlement do we seek? – – Not an American forced process which may escalate problems by American weapons or war. Not the security of us being a slave from a dogmatic regime running the treadmill of their own insecurities by isolation themselves of the rest of the world by their war machinery. Not only by their current war machinery, but by their nuclear potential just years down the line. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye for this.

I am really talking about a genuine process which helps both sides to reconsider an ability to take a different direction, – a direction of helping to grow one nation sidetracked from common civilisation, – anxious about the concept of liberation as it would as such destroy the current status quo.

What we know from history is that nations did arise and disappeared at times in the dust of history, a process over many and many more years. We know as well that dictators grew old and were replaced at times. We know as well that the people of some nations said that they had enough and went on the street to provoke change. Change at times so desired and needed. All this is not possible at the moment but we can’t allow one nation at this point of history potentially destroying history itself by simply not talking. Total war as a result of this, triggered by error or miscalculation makes no sense as no one will surrender without resort to those forces which could destroy us all. Believing that negotiations and fruitful discussions do not make sense means that people feel it is inevitable that NK goes it own way by further producing thermonuclear devices and more advanced missile systems in the future, – allowing as such that at some stage we will or may be subject to international blackmail. Not believing in the only possible way of discussions, to change perceptions as an act of real leadership, is a regressive defeatist belief leading to the belief we have no grip to change those forces and powers which need to be changed, – forces which need to be modified based on simply the reason at this time in history.

This time in history!

Whilst sensible words and conversations do not harm and open options for further dialogue, easing tensions, – provocative words and actions may lead to war.

This time in history!

Whilst there is no “magic formula” to make peace, man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible and I believe we can do it again whilst we learn from the past and walk the many miles to reach out to make the impossible possible, – like this happened eg during the Cuba crisis, like this happened eg when the Iron Curtain between East and West Berlin was abolished, like it happened eg when a first US President did visit mainland China for a new chapter in history.

This time in history again!

Facing the facts of this world we can’ deny fanatic nationalism being on the rise, with the situation worldwide being similar to the conditions that triggered both past World War’s. In 1994 Africa’s Rwanda proved how tensions suddenly can explode; church-going neighbors turned on one another with genocide. Close to 1000,000 died. Even women and children that took refuge in churches were hacked to death by machete.

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Again this time!

Multinational wars in Africa claimed some 2,500,000 lives, including the hidden war in the Congo, almost completely ignored by western news media. India and Pakistan have exchanged angry threats in the past, backed by nuclear missiles.

War usually does cause famine by disrupting farming, like happened during and after the 2 World Wars. Stalin created death by starvation of millions of his own countrymen in Russia . After the second World War about a fourth of the world was starving.

Corruption and war has starved millions in both Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia and North Korea. Zimbabwe had a corrupt and brutally racist regime, using selective starvation to crush dissents. Wealthy nations do show “compassion fatigue,” Sometimes the news media just ignore situations until hundreds of thousands are already dead. In other places, the problem is not one of war but gross inequality: the rich are sumptuously stocked, while just across town the poor cannot afford even a balanced diet. All too often the poor in so-called “developing” countries have to stand with empty hands and empty stomachs whilst rich harvests are exported for hard cash which then being used to buy weapons being used by the government against its own people.

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All this in our times!

The World Health Organization reflects that at least 5 million children die every year from malnutrition. At the same time in the well developed world many children are grossly obese with already early signs of both diabetes and high blood pressure.

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The world is shaking both by its bankruptcy of moral values in some countries as literally by earthquakes. Besides this there have been major upheavals in societies and governments in the past century. Empires have been broken up, and divisions have split nations along ethnic and religious lines. In 2008 there was a near-collapse of the world economy due to greedy financial manipulation, with great difficulty slowly recovering but the markets both in Europe and the US still unsure, the last as due to a huge deficit. In early 2011 we observed an Islāmic Spring with still uncertain outcomes.

We can’t deny it, it happens all in our time, in past time and currents times over and over!

In many places around the world people put heavy steel bars over their windows. Often honest people being in jail whilst criminals walk the streets. Confessed rapists and murderers set free and courts finding technical excuse to do so. In some places 80% of all children are born to single mothers with not rarely the father not being known. Many semi-slave laborers as part of the human trafficking industry, often enslaved and very young within an increasing dangerous and powerful evil business overtaking in the years ahead the industry of the “drug barons”. Poisons being poured out into rivers whilst people downstream have no other choice but to drink the contaminated water. Multinational corporations hiding their trail of injustice and profits in a legal jungle of complex contracts where government officials turn a blind eye for cash. The exponential increase of our human population in the 21st Century will raise more expectations on normal living circumstances and shelter, – unsustainable as more people adopt modern lifestyles of consumption and pollution. Climate change will provide a burden for us all, – but in particular for those people with little shelter and less normal circumstances of living.

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The 21st century, – all our time and may be the end of times if we don’t pull together as civilised nations and use reason as the guiding force to streamline our decisions, decisions or choices which will determine how we proceed this century.

Conflicts are increasing over essential resources, especially water and energy. Accelerating climate changes with profound changes in patterns both in Australia, the US and other parts of the world. Political and economic instability including the slowly spreading of nuclear weapons give little hope in objective terms. Church officials being exposed as pedophiles, seducing or raping little boys and girls. The Roman Catholic Church turning a blind eye for a long time to this like they turned a blind eye to Hitler Germany to continue as a Church. A reflection of the violence of institutions, indifference and inaction and slow decay. But still amidst this good people as well fighting this decay.

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Many good people in our times as well! —-

Going back as not being finished yet:

Hitler, Lenin and Pol Pot who did mislead millions of people doing the most repugnant and wicked things, apart from the “smaller evils” like eg Idi Amin.

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However, – still we have the last choice, if people say to kill we don’t need to kill.

If we were abused as children by parents, we don’t need to abuse our children..

For some, – religion as part of their appeal with Al-Qaeda being a prime example now.

All in this world and in our time!

And still, – we can only bring so much of the Kingdom of God into this world as we have within ourselves, – which includes our sense of piety or respect for life, – within the concept of a practical and down to earth wisdom on international relationships.

Our times are full of shame and sorrow despite the hope for a better future where forces of nature should be the enemies and not humankind divided in itself. The victims of the violence and senseless bloodshed are across all religions, black and white, rich and poor, young and old.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

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Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and indifference amidst this is a different sort of violence on its own. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, the hungry and those being victims of broad-spectrum abuse, whether it is human trafficking or the abuse of elderly in homes.

I am not saying this because I have remedies for this. No not at all. It’s more that I am speechless of the complexities and dangers of this world, – our only world.

It is not about me but it is about all of us, young in heart and spirit to do what life asks us to do with the predicaments of our time. This time and for all times, just to set the records straight for future generations.

The question is when we may find in our own hearts that sort of leadership re humane purpose that will see and hear the terrible truths of our existence, to be replaced by the kind of love and commitment which helps people and nations to grow with real destination, with true distinctions in our search for meaning in life, – neither enriched by hatred nor revenge. But a meaning which frees our children from the injustice inflicted by others and allows them not to build their futures on the misfortunes of those who lost their fight for justice in the agony of life.

Let us look around towards our fellow men and women to seek the bond of common faith.

This faith which can teach us neither to be indifferent nor to have illusions, but to see the world as it is and still keep hope by working and healing wounds in hearts and spirit, – by working to be brothers and sisters with a common goal to make the impossible possible.

Whilst there is again no “magic formula” to make peace, – man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible.

And I do believe we may do it again by being free man and taking our bullets of self-destruction to the ballet of international coöperation, – to counteract the problems of our time, to counteract it for the future of our children and their children, – but it will come at a cost we can’t foresee as yet.

All in our time.

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Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”


Kennedy giving his speech on Martin Luther Kin...
Kennedy giving his speech on Martin Luther King, Jr.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” — Robert Frost

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCrx_u3825g

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” —George Bernard Shaw

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Being asked at some stage why this blog had the pretentious title; “We dream about things that never were and say: why not?”, – I refer back to one of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) “Back to Methuselah“, which actually is a series of five plays on its own.

In “Back to Methuselah” the above quote is used by The Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The play was performed for the first time in New York City at the Garrick Theatre in 1922 and entailed for the time a most interesting science fiction fantasy which took three nights to do.

The former US Senator and assassinated Presidential Candidate Robert F Kennedy (1968) borrowed this quote and said it differently: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”

Kennedy and Martin Luther King were the people at the forefront for change in the United States during the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King was assassinated just a couple of months before Robert Kennedy was killed.

The movement for change came to a standstill, the Vietnam War escalated, – social issues to be developed in the US were put on hold. The last until the movement for change embodied in President Barack Obama evolved into a new episode in US history, at a time crucial for various developments in the world.

If the further movement for change on issues of human rights, on Peace and International Stability requires to get stronger, and if the quote in above fiction play (from Bernard Shaw) is being allowed to embody a stronger emphasis, then the “I” part in the quote needs to be changed in the “We” part.

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We are all strongly interdependent and if the “dream” in whatever entity resonates as a ripple effect across the generations, like the waves are coming and going but (!) always coming in terms of new energy, “We” may create a movement eventually which breaks the obstacles for Peace and stability, the obstacles to reduce poverty and keep the ingredients to protect this small planet against  climate changes and other disruptions of various nature.

We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”, reflects a shift in perception so to say.  A shift in thinking where new and better options are explored, new ways discovered. Where the creativity from the  right part of the  brain takes over the reactive activity from the  left side of the  brain, the last where those activities are not balanced in the actions of people. Actions which are not right and call for change. Actions which require passion and creative thought for peace and development.

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Where conscious activities take over the activities from the mind, as it is not the mind which dictates the outcome of the future, the first determines then the outcome of our common activities.

Obviously we can do this as people in breaking with the past where this is required and at times we do this by choice, – using this gift we all have.

At the end it is not “I” it is “We”!

 

There is no pretentious aim in the title of this blog, – as it is not about “me”, it is about “We” as a people, “We” as people, “We” embodied in the future with plenty of issues to be resolved. “We” who bear both the seeds of potential and defeat.

Defeat we had, potential we need.

Far too often we see the scary demeanour of empty confidence and coolness in this world.

People who both often speak too noisy with overbearing pride. People often who build their lives at a cost of others, –the last not rarely with intolerance and suppression. We see this in families, our communities, in organisations where people are still able to manage from inflated principles, – and finally we see this in our country and many countries around us.

Often in “the culture” as well of our political systems, – whether they are democratic or the opposite.

The more suppression there is the more violence it may create, with violence creating retaliation and retaliation creating more violence, – whether this is the violence in our demeanour or the violence of a society.

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Again and too often we see the sickness of not rarely whole societies, – with true respect for those who turn against it. And too often as well again we see the sickness of the souls of those people with the kind of sickness we are neither able to remove nor to heal.

What we can remove however is the hidden sickness of our own souls and shine as brightly as we can, – knowing that we don’t live in a perfect world. But the last thing which remains by free choice is trying to take away some part of the misery of humanity and this world, when it comes our way drop by drop and piece by piece, – either by coincidence or by choice.

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In the final analysis as human beings, – we have the last choice. And again this is not about “Me or I”, but it is about “We”, – where the sum of our individual activities do help to call the trumpet of our collective activities. The last in alignment with a massive human orchestra, directed perhaps by those conductors representing global efforts in favour of increasing international coöperation on the issues of our time.

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This part is not seeing things and standing by only, – and wondering “why?”. This is part of the active process of “Dreaming things that never were and say: Why not?” A creative and proactive activity, an ongoing movement for change where only “we” as a people can  make this change.

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In the broader sense of the word it is a team effort of gigantic proportions, which does not fail when one of the leaders would be assassinated, but where the group activity would make sure that the anti-movement would be eliminated by the proper law enforcement which would be the fruit of our collective endeavours, – and the movement would endure, regardless death, which surrounds us day by day.

Whilst the reality of this world may make many of us pessimistic, – the power of being hopeful and believing in the potential goodness of human nature and going beyond the realities of ignorance and violence, – provides us with the seeds to “Dream things which never were and say: “Why not?”

So let us go forth therefore unto keeping the human spirit alive, against all odds.

Let us go forth into the field where we are able to touch the lives of others who walk in “the dark”, whether they are rich or poor, – whether they represent countries in regression or under repression. As both in our communities we are able to offer the peace which helps people to move forward and inevitably among countries as well, – we are able to support those who need guidance. Not the support of weapons, which only give destruction and not the provision of hope, – but the support to inhabit this planet within the range of our human destiny where forces against its survival can be controlled by the rational end of the human spirit.

The last to be shared with the vigilant efforts within our families, communities and finally between countries, – where law enforcement on peace, human rights and the protection of our environment is not impossible.

Not even impossible in times where annihilation still is possible, – when people can’t do without this enforcement on peaceful efforts to settle disputes of any kind.

Therefore we need to continue to dream things that never were and continue to say, – as acting we must: “Why not?” Each time and in each generation those efforts need to be renewed. Each time and in each generation new identities need to be evolved to combat the danger of evil spirits and evil movements, – whether it is organised crime or human trafficking, whether it applies to countries who foo the world or people who represent terrorist activities.

Where non-violence needs to be the universal aim, – violence can’t be always prevented as ready we need to be to combat the risks of greater destructions.

Never ever we will live in a perfect world. Never ever will there be an enduring peace as there is always the risk of conflict. But “We” as a people need to dream things to create the antidote for the evils of humanity, – which is an active process starting at the base of our own conscience in all our day to day activities where we have to make choices, where we have to make choices to make things better or bitter.

Therefore we have to dream things which never were and say” Why not?” Not because the people have to do it for us, but we have to do it for the people, for those who deserve our care and compassion.

Again lastly (I touched base on this before), the last responsibility we have as people is to remove the hidden sickness of our own souls. Either the sickness from the past or the present, which manifest itself in small and often unnoticed deeds. It’s a process of personal growth which means we need to leave certain things behind us and replace this by better things today and shine as such as brightly as we can.

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After sustaining and surviving the most horrible experiments in 2nd WW concentration camps, –  it is as Victor Frankl once said about choice.

Indeed, at the end we have a free choice.

They can take away everything from us, and even at the last moment we have the final choice as how to respond or not respond at all anymore.

So neither death nor life needs to face us in the things we don’t understand, as long we play our own part on this little planet.

At the end nothing is terminal, everything is transitional, – even where death separates us from our duties here on earth.

But the duties continue in hopefully endless generations to come, each with its specific problems where man made problems need to be resolved.

And finally therefore the “We” part in saying we dream things that never were and say “Why not?” is so important, because the power of our collective dreams for a better world in action creates a ripple effect which can’t be stopped, – neither today nor tomorrow!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/the-question-as-how-to-serve/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/rest-well-golden-eagle-in-memory-of-nelson-mandela/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/to-sweep-down-the-mightiest-walls-of-oppression-against-our-human-rights-and-create-the-biggest-movement-on-earth/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/peace/

Challenges of our times and generation

Some predictions for 2013 after 2012?


DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 - John F. Kerry, Se...
DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 – John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts (Democrat), USA captured during the session ‘The Future of the Middle East’ at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2007. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

>”Don’t sweat the small stuff when so much else matters.”<

Predictions are not always easy and sometimes impossible. We have one certainty and this is that not nothing is certain. Our agenda for tomorrow based on today or yesterday may well work out, but sometimes it may get disrupted by the unexpected and we have to deal with things as they face us. The day may end differently than we expected, despite a good start perhaps and despite the fact that we assumed everything would by all right.

The same applies to predictions on a New Year, we hope for the best but nothing is certain. Same applies to the weather forecast. We may have good grounds to say it will be a sunny day tomorrow and go to the beach, but we may have to change plans as it proves to be a rainy day with a thunderstorm after eg a very humid day. Let’s be happy that the forecast that the world would end on the 20th of December was nonsense, nobody is able to predict those things.

In other words we may have our intentions but we are not sure whether they come true. Hence what I have to say about 2013 is based on assumptions, based on trends and certain facts perhaps but knowing as well that everything can be changed by the unexpected. In other words and if you like, read what is written below for your pleasure only. It is written by a country Physician, – so be on your guard as Physicians are not supposed to know anything about the future, not to speak about international developments. However what is said is not too difficult and perhaps we all know about it already. Besides this there is no pretension to be complete on those things as completeness on those things as far beyond our abilities.

2012 was for sure not the most dramatic year fortunately. As I said the world did not come to an end and for some this was a bonus, if they were aware of those predictions. Still there have been plenty of issues in 2012 with the seeds of events setting the scene for 2013. This includes eg the launch of a long-range rocket in North Korea, a country with just a new young leader.We had the conflict between Israel and Gaza, or actually as well the non – coöperation from Israel towards a new Palestinian State next door with still clearly significant Hamas impact and the potential of new rocket attacks from East Jerusalem, – if again a conflict situation. Hamas still being supported by Iran, not particularly Israels biggest ally so to say. We all know this. Nothing new. There has been always friction in this area.. Even in the Old Testament there were many reflections on struggle and endless fights. The problem now is that we have different means to start war’s. It’s a bit scary at times. Iran’s nuclear ambitions within this context are only adding oil on fear.

The ongoing civil war in Syria with endless killings and with the remote risk of escalation is an other example, and sadly spoken there is no reference for life at all in Syria (its leaders).. The only thing which is positive after the international community being tight into “non action” is that Russia is getting a bit over Syria with its troubles as well, which may aid international coöperation to end this pointless conflict, – based on a dictator hanging in for power. It’s a terrible example.

There are the current tensions between China and Japan about an absolute insignificant rock in the ocean, which means apparently enough for those countries to send Navy vessels to this direction. And we all hope that no idiot will start to sink a ship in this breeding conflict as little things can have major implications. However feel assured, neither the Chinese nor the Japanese are idiots, they need to show to their own people that they take this issue serious. However one may ask for what reason. One miscalculation or error in judgement may ruin plans. Interestingly Kennedy during the missile Cuba crisis in 1962 was at the end more concerned about his own Generals than about the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Gives an indication perhaps that playing with fire may give unexpectedly a fire and sometimes a big one.

The continuation of Obama’s Presidency in 2013 may cause him more grey hairs, but his team approach will help to set the tone of international developments where both wisdom action and restraint are more balanced when the election outcome would have been differently. History has not always been that lucky.

Syrian dictator Assad still being in office with all the ongoing massacres will drive him into increasing isolation.Hopefully it is just a matter of time that international approval will help to stop the needless killings and extreme violence in this troubled country.The whole Middle East area is already troubled enough.

Needless to say that the Middle East will be most challenging in 2013, more so than in 2012. This since civilization festered area with religious hatred and conflict for certain will not easily find a harmonious solution for all parties involved. The most practical interim solution will be straight on US – Iran discussions to test Iran’s willingness to coöperate in multi part talks to restrict/reduce the chance of an escalating war without end.The emhasis should be to end all terror related violence as only this will encourage Israel to help the Palestinians into the developments needed with the protection of all people in the Israel/Gaza region.It is just wait and see whether it will go this direction, but it would be wise to include Iran subject to prove of genuine intentions to keep friendly relations with all neighbours in the area, including full safety guarantees for Israel.

It is amazing to see that the Euro crisis has been able to drag on for another year without a final conclusion. In December 2012 Greece is still in the Eurozone and different European countries are struggling with various intensity to stay straight, so to say. Unemployment ratio is increasing likewise the closure or reduction of various businesses. For many the belief in the Euro future is bleak with Germany however insisting that the Euro should survive. Needless to say that a potential fall of the Euro will have lots of implications for the people of Europe, but also for the nations with strong Euro connections.

Leadership changes took place in various countries during 2012 and generally spoken not much change can be expected immediately after those transitions. However, the leadership changes in both North Korea,China, Russia, Japan and other States will set the agenda for changing dynamics in 2013, with the inclusion at least of a stable and trustworthy foreign policy approach of the US under the same President with a good successor of Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. John Kerry is a foreign policy expert and an impressive elder statesman in the US Senate. He will not need much “in-house training” to aid US foreign policy on critical issues in 2013.

The most important issue perhaps of being resolved at present is unfortunately financial . If both the US and Europe are unable to solve their issues with the required political will, it will enhance the weakening of the “western hemisphere” in almost every dimension. Fiscal cliffs or not, the balance between outgoing’s and innings need to be right. The current US deficit and the Federal Reserve printing heaps of money not backed by any “golden standard” or “oil” is asking for trouble down the line with the risk of a massive new recession.Utterly complex matters within the US not fully controlled need to be be managed or controlled by vigorous new legislation. Gun control is important and a public topic at present but the system of financial self-regulation is vital for the US to continue to exist in the way it does and not go down the road as the Roman empire once did. Some countries perhaps would be delighted with a reduction of US power, but the risk of a significant reduction of US power could destabilise the world and President’s Obama’s second term will be vital to face and deal with the issues as they are.The potential foreshadow of social unrest and increasing violence as a result of a possible second recession makes gun control even more significant to protect US citizens against itself. The potential destruction of the US not necessarily may come from the outside but can come from the inside and the years ahead are critical for the US. Inflation and possible recession are going hand in hand if no firm control on the Federal Reserve, but the powers behind this are significant and dealing with this is a risk for the US President. However what needs to be done needs to be done. At the end of the day it is all people’s work translated into energy, rewarded by money, – which is decreasing in value by the private control of creating money by the Federal Reserve. Man made problems can be resolved by men, only if the political will to support the required directions resonates through various legislative branches in both Europe and the US.Without any predictions being possible it is wait and see how the dynamis in this area will evolve in 2013, knowing that any international conflict could ruin the efforts of each country to solve its balance between spending and cutting costs in a way which protects those who have worked hard for their money, but also those who live from their superannuation, those who are disabled and fragile in society, the elderly and the children included. “Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” as was once said by Nathan Pyle, – however I doubt this for 2013 (in no uncertain terms).. Increasing costs for food and energy against reduced value of our money is harmful wherever we may live on this world, and still the majority of people can’t afford it anymore and live below any reasonable standard of living.

Various countries in the Middle East will face the problem of opposing Islamist groups taking responsibility of taking Government as many Islamists have their own political frictions with the potential of increasing sectarian conflicts in the years laying ahead. Initial peaceful countries could turn quickly into new areas of intense conflict.

The US has renewed interest  in the Asian Pacific for both economical and security reasons after withdrawing from both Iraq and eventually in 2014 from Afghanistan, but the vacuüm created will have both Iran’s and India’s interest to have their perceived deserved share of influence. Also an area of different dynamics with an uncertain outcome at this stage after US withdrawal by the end of 2014.

It is anticipated that US dependence on oil exporting countries is going to reduce in quite sustained ways with significant “US dollar” issues. There is a tendency already of increasing countries less relying on the value of the US dollar with as final result (forgetting about a few other issues) that the US impact on foreign international policy may reduce in value and strength..

President Obama shortly in his second term will have greater influence to balance the critical important relationships between the US and China. The new President Xi from China needs to get agreement and support for a different set of policies in a rebalancing act on the Chines economy and the demands of some 350 million middle class people. The facts behind the conflict between Japan and China in the East Chines sea could be well that the Chinese government can’t afford to look weak. It is clear that the US has been worried about China for some time and it is not hoped that Japan might be forced to act in a very trivial conflict with apart from this the still contentious issues around Taiwan.

As we all know, words from leaders may lead to action and both feeding empty rhetoric and false sentiments besides fear, are unhelpful to balance the required coöperation between Washington and Beijing.Tha call for action goes together for the call for great care on both sides. Again note that it has been an international interest to have President Obama reelected as US “Commander-in-Chief”, even though a number of US citizens feel different about this.

Iran has been faced with various sanctions in 2012 together with increased inflation and unemployment.The desire of Iran to go nuclear and have potential weapons of mass destruction is going at a significant cost for Iran.It’s standing in the region as due to the Arab uprising is not as strong as it was before.It’s ally Syria is fully involved in a civil war and Israels insistence on a preëmptive attack may seem to have diminished somewhat, waiting what a second Obama term will deliver in terms of security for Israel. The question remains whether containment of a nuclear Iran is possible. Israel will still reconsider its options and in terms of US foreign policy it would be wise to test Iran on its willingness to have serious discussions on security matters in the Middle East area, including its place about Israel. If Israels security is without any doubt accepted it is neither in Israel’s interest nor intention to start a preëmptive war with Iran, but also this is a wait and see matter as how dynamics will evolve. Needless to say again that this is an area of both great concern and importance and proactive management from the US Administration is a need to keep the right balance as from other countries this can’t be expected, unfortunately. It’s a critical issue in US foreign policy in the Middle East and it would be hoped that John Kerry will be granted with a new US mission to explore the potential coöperation with Iran to balance US vital security interest in Israel, without a major Middle East war.

Climate change and the implications of Climate change, the protection against terrorism of any kind will remain high on the international agenda, likewise and hopefully increasingly the protection of human rights. The last often an issue of international lip service and a need being recognised but not often materialised where it proves to be required, including the issue of increasing human trafficking. Also in this domain we have to wait and see how international coöperation will work out, but at least a stable world will contribute and a world with increasing conflict will compromise, – any form of human rights! Hence the importance of the 2013 agenda that some countries are going to deal seriously with their own financial affairs as what we can learn from history is that the great depression of the 1930ties was one of the triggers of the second word war.

America’s stronghold as an economic power has been compromised in the past and it is by far nor sure this will be sorted in the future. A sudden recession or an unexpeced and escalating conflict could ruin each potential to overcome its problems if both leaders in Europe and the US are unable to get the required support to control internal economical dynamics not being sufficiently managed in the past. Fruitful international relationships are  of ongoing importance, which will be really the challenge of 2013 with a new generation of leaders in vital countries of potential conflict.

Far more to say about 2013, but let’s leave this to the experts with more insight information about existing background dynamics. What often seems true on the surface is different from the inside, with the knowledge reaching this inside.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

“Lass sie nach Berlin kommen” – Berlin 2012 takes a proactive lead!


Chancelor of the Federal Republic of Germany D...
Chancelor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. Angela Merkel on the open door day at the Bundeskanzleramt in Berlin, Germany Français : Dr Angela Merkel, chancelière de la République Fédérale d’Allemagne, lors de la journée portes ouvertes de la Bundeskanzleramt à Berlin, en Allemagne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angela Merkel

Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum (“I am a Roman citizen“). Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!” – John F Kennedy

“Lass sie nach Berlin kommen”

On the 26th of June 1963 at the Berlin Wall, President John F Kennedy was emphasising the support of the United States in the above quoted way to West Germany, 22 months after a Soviet controlled  East Germany established the Berlin Wall as a barrier between East and West.

 The message was aimed both at the Soviets and the Berliners, and was an obvious statement of U.S. policy in the aftermath of the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Many years past and the world faced many changes and dangers!

 Now,  for almost half a century after this speech – after the agony from the past, after the agony of war – Germany may assist in keeping Europe together in the way it was intended to work in the positive.
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Efforts this time not only in Europe as a whole, but in the United States as well, – apart from other countries.

From the streets of Amsterdam to the halls of power in Paris the eyes are in part again on Berlin.

Not this time Berlin being the victim or an aggressor, but Germany being a major financial power in Europe to lead this continent out of the biggest financial crisis since World War II.

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European leaders are close to panic over a debt situation that could take down the entire global economy. An other recession in the US could even bring President Obama’s re-election in 2012 at risk.

The leaders of both France and Germany this week agreed on a new fiscal pact that  will assist and prevent another debt crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy outlined the basic elements of the plan to increase an essential budget discipline, after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris.

During the entire crisis, Angela Merkel has worked diligently and closely with the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other nations which share the Euro. Sarkozy however, the other strong leader in Europe, is not performing as expected in the polls for the pending elections next year and proved in the weeks past to be willing and follow the German Chancellor’s perceptions and example on the European crisis.

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Sarkozy is happy with the concept of German’s idea of countries ceasing control of significant part of their budgets to a central authority if so required, at the cost of some national sovereignty.

It is true that more stability is required with sanctions if EU countries allow or commit to spending not in their budget at a final cost for other countries.

Much of this crisis has been inflicted by irresponsible financial behaviour. Government leaders from the 17 euro zone nations should meet at least monthly to discuss ways to boost economic growth as the Euro needs to be saved including the European Union.

The last being required as otherwise the repercussions could be most dramatic with social unrest in various countries being the result.

“The crisis requires an extra commitment towards unity and a Europe that will not repeat the mistakes of the past,” – said Sarkozy, speaking with Merkel at a press conference.

The unity in the US was once an issue for different reasons but where unity in Europe can’t be maintained for other reasons it would open the door to potential chaos and possibly violence.

The Berlin-engineered action plan for tackling Europe’s crisis, including vigorous rules to keep national budgets under control is vital to be implemented and accepted at the next European Union summit, as it reflects a valuable strategy to keep both the Union and the Euro intact, – learning from reckless financial behaviour in the past for which citizens can’t be held responsible.

Governments have an obligation to meet the commitments to voters and looking both after welfare of State and citizens. The current situation requires as well an incentive on greater consumer spending, increasing taxes for the higher income groups and keeping interest rates low.

As the difference between rich and poor is increasing in some European states, those states are at risk of more social unrest as e.g. reflected in the UK not too long ago, – the last for issues not related with the current EU situation.

However if the EU and the Euro do collapse as a result of past political and financial failures, the social dynamics in various European countries will change for the worst.

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Hence the courage of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at this time of crisis in Europe being applauded for taking a leading role, with significant financial experts in Germany.

The EU leaders are having to debate revising EU treaties and other measures to strengthen both the economical and political integration in Europe and I am sure they will get there over the hurdles in the years to come, as the problem resolving ability from both France and in particular Germany in this attempt with the leadership being shown – reflects favourably on the qualities being available,  despite the crisis not being resolved as yet.

 It shows that in an interdependent world both recourses and leadership requirements are vital for sustaining major crisis, – and let’s be happy that Germany now is at the forefront of one of the most positive post-war endeavours, – which might turn out this time to be a blessing for both Europe, the US and possibly all financial markets.
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 As can be seen dynamics do change with positive engagement, a lesson to be learnt and so valuable for international dynamics.

 This does not take away that times can be difficult and complex, but nobody could have crossed the Ocean if they would have been able to escape the ship in the storm.

 Escaping the ship by storm is still a risk in the years ahead, but the dangers in an international economy with potential new recession in the US round about 2013 is an issue where all parties being involved need to weather the storm and eliminate the internal risks to destabilise the boat.
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Not doing this could have “Titanic proportions” for the Western hemisphere. Our problems are made by man and can be resolved by man, willing to take this vital task on board and willing to counteract the obstacles, – with a united will to weather the storm. Reason and spirit have done this in the past, – reason and spirit may do this in the future.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf
 

 

The Art of Leadership and Lessons from the Past – Edward M. Kennedy


Edward Moore Kennedy
Edward Moore Kennedy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leadership lessons  (Edward M. Kennedy)

 
“Ted Kennedy’s life is a reminder that much can be achieved by late bloomers; that you don’t have to have your career all figured out by the time you’re   
   25, 35, or even over 45.”
             – Sarah Green in a post on Harvard Business Publishing.

His life was marked by tragedy and somehow recklessness perhaps in his early years, but change within himself  later in life  made him become one of the greatest Senators in US history. He went through personal lessons of resilience and agonising redemption, realising that he had to face his own shortcomings., – which he did.

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We have to make sometimes very personal choices in life and whatever triggered his change,  he started to reshape his life in his late 50’s making him from the age of 59 until his death a most fascinating leader – showing that leadership starts with self-control and responsible decisions. However not only this.  If we are fortunate enough in life to find someone who loves us for what we are,  we may be able to multiply affection and love by giving of what we once received.

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Good leaders are just human beings as well, the last at times forgotten by the public and media.

The assassination of his 2 older brothers contributed to his first years of struggle and (hidden) heartbreak, – “Teddy” now representing his  “legendary” family following events in 1968.  However he really found a new voice whilst standing up for those not too well off in American society, showing to be a key figure amidst liberal principles.

Edward Moore Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was the Democratic US  Senator for Massachusetts, serving almost 47 years. He was the second most senior US Senator when he died and the third or fourth longest-serving member of this college, being perhaps one of the most positive and powerful legislator’s in American history.

 

He was the last surviving son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (both assassinated in public service)  and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the last being killed in action in World War II; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. After the assassination of his brother John an Robert he was for many years the most important living member of  the Kennedy family.

Kennedy’s New York Times obituary described him: “He was a Rabelaisian figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy.”

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Following his failed presidential bid, Kennedy became one of the most influential members of the Democratic Party, and was later in the 1990’s called a “Democratic icon”as well as “The Lion of the Senate“.  Kennedy and his Senate staff wrote more than 2000 bills and more than 300 were enacted into law. Kennedy supported another 550 bills  becoming  law after 1973. Kennedy was most effective in dealing with Republican senators and administrations, sometimes even at the irritation of some Democrats. During the G.W. Bush administration, almost every bipartisan bill being signed had significant involvement from Kennedy. A late 2000s survey of Republican senators ranked Kennedy first among Democrats in bipartisanship, which should be an example for the Republicans (in 2011). Kennedy was committed to  the principle “never let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” and would agree to pass legislation he viewed as incomplete or imperfect with the goal of improving it down the road. Somehow different we see this with President Barack Obama as well. As long as it works for the better progress, often a good compromise is required. In April 2006, Kennedy was selected by Time as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators”; the magazine discussed that he had “amassed a titanic record of legislation affecting the lives of almost every man, woman and child in the country” and that “by the late 1990s, the liberal icon had become such a prodigious cross-aisle dealer that Republican leaders began pressuring party colleagues not to sponsor bills with him”.Even the Republican presidential nominee John McCain said in May 2008: …”[Kennedy] is a legendary lawmaker and I have the highest respect for him. When we have worked together, he has been a skillful, fair and generous partner.” At the time of Kennedy’s death, sociologist and Nation board member Norman Birnbaum wrote that Kennedy had come to be viewed as the “voice” and “conscience” of progressive America ( American progressivism). He worked on major issues of our time including civil rights, healthcare, the war in Vietnam, Watergate, and the quest for peace in Northern Ireland.

Kennedy’s passion was at times most powerful and contagious.  Besides this he was able to disagree on issues without making it personal. He was therefore greatly admired across the political spectrum.

What can we learn from him in terms of leadership, – without subdividing the issues too much?

1. “Stick- to – itiveness” and give it the very best performance.

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Whilst his performance at the start of his political career was a learning curve and subject for improvement he won his Senate seat for the first time during the Presidency of his brother, Jack Kennedy. He was perhaps in a fortunate position but for certain was he not “a celebrity Senator”.  He proved this after each re-election, especially when he began performing for his constituents and collaborating with his colleagues.

He had an unwavering tenacity and perseverance which did include in a steady pace mastering the details, studying and learning amidst changing issues.Kennedy rolled up his sleeves and earned his place, even through rough and threatening times. He continued planning , timing and cultivating a degree of patience. The reward for his “stick-to-itiveness” was that he knew he stayed the course by following “True Compass”

When Mitt Romney challenged Kennedy for his Senate seat in 1994, the crucial moment of their debate — which probably made  Kennedy win the re-election — involved Kennedy pressing Romney for the specifics on his health care plan, with Romney forced to  admit that he hadn’t worked out all the details. “Well that’s what you have to do with legislation,” the Senator replied. Kennedy knew the job. His career rewards followed from his service and perseverance to master the details to be required for progressive change.

Ted Kennedy faced various public crises which could have destroyed him, yet he proved to be resilient and able to learn.  He restored confidence in his leadership. The still-mysterious incident at Chappaquiddick where a young woman drowned nearly ended his career. Whilst showing at that particular time no courage and ducking accountability he bounced back by redoubling his efforts to do his job well. Even fumbling during an important interview during his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1980, he recovered by applying more energy and passion to his work in the Senate.  He was not perfect but he learned from his mistakes and became a better human being, persistent and committed as he was.  Besides this he never claimed victory for himself but was generously able to share credit

2.Find a purpose recognised by yourself as a very strong one.

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Kennedy reached a stage of mind  to feel that his live belonged to the community and his newly found values did suspend part of his ego. He rejoiced in burning up for the values he stood for before handing the responsibility for his course to the next generation. Ted Kennedy believed in public service as the best profession and in government to help all citizens getting their chance for a better quality of life. Once he found his voice and his core mission after overcoming some misery from the past his position and “Compass” were clear and often he spoke for the people who could not speak for themselves.  The goals were so important that he was willing to work with political opponents in the Senate to reach agreement on measures that served the people.He supported President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind legislation” for school reform.  The cause of children less privileged was that important to him that he rather would compromise and get a bit done whilst the alternative was no action at all. He took action by calling on higher principles which did resonate with principle centred members of the other party. He proved that his ability to compromise for a better outcome was a strength rather a weakness, the last based on ongoing efforts to build strong relations across the political spectrum. With at times an emotional appeal for what he thought to be right he was able to get the more intellectual minded on board from the other party. His emotional bank account on the Senate floor had a large surplus, he was well liked and well trusted on his views.


3.Never forget family & friends.

The hard-working Ted Kennedy was at heart a family man. After the assassination of his brothers he was the stronghold and the father for many amidst the larger Kennedy family, keeping people together, encouraging close to lost children, playing touch-football at the family compound in Hyannis Port and arranging  family outings to historic sites,-  apart from sailing away from the pier in Hyannis Port through the waters of Nantucket at the Cape. In spirit his late brother President John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy were always close to him and the love for his extended family guided him through tough times in his life. He was a role model for some of the Kennedy children and helped them with their own belief system and the power of the words: “I can” and “I will”.

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He did neither always agree with family nor friends but he was able to agree to disagree without losing his affection or staying amicable. Whilst being able to continue to be friendly and loving he was able to work together with a range of people, based on trust. He understood the power of being considerate  and friendly.

In summary:

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Did Ted Kennedy add value to life? Yes he did! He stood for the people who had no voice, trying through legislation to improve the living conditions of fellow citizens for many in his country. He made no major paradigm shift as eg Gandhi did with the perception of “non violence ” (under all circumstances). However Teddy Kennedy tried to mobilise the available recourses in the US Senate to help change at various levels. He stood by his principles but was prepared to listen and seek compromise for the better. He was a trustworthy icon in the US Senate working with an excellent team supporting him to work the required changes for the better. He was not free of mistakes and made a few but made good on them by getting a better person and sticking to his compass, which always directed him back to the original course of action. He had a mission, imagination and was both persistent and committed to give it the best performance, – at some stage not for his ego anymore but for the benefit of others. He did own up to his mistakes and learnt from them with a faith to allow eventually the higher power in himself taking over.

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With his belief system Involving the will of giving and with his own trials and errors in life, he showed us: “Together we can, together we will!”

And that’s enough, –  good enough!

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

Our future lies in our children as well!


Vietnam
Vietnam (Photo credit: jamesonwu)

Our future lies in our children as well!

Fortunately, in history, we still  have remarkable  people, – people who left their foot prints, their legacy,  at the times they lived.

People who reflected courage at times of the worst violation of human rights.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian before and during the 2nd World War, saw  the dynamics leading to the upcoming of Hitler. He sensed at an early stage the dangers and went to the US, – realising however that he could not commit to a post war engagement without being involved in the German resistance against Hitler.

He returned to Germany and during the 2nd world war he became increasingly aware that taking Hitler out of the total picture could perhaps save millions of lives.

He engaged himself in a plot to take Hitler’s life but by “miracle” (as Hitler called it),  2 serious assassination attempts failed very closely. It did reinforce Hitler however in his belief that he was supported by supernatural powers.

Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo and put in a concentration camp. Just before the end of the 2nd world war he was killed  following explicit instructions from the German government. He left some literature providing an insight in the moral dilemma’s he faced with taking an (evil) life, – to preserve many other lives.

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He was an example of true courage.  He said once: “>The test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children<.” – I would like to add to this that the moral value of a society is neither its reputation in the world nor its gross national product. The level of greatest morality in society is far more connected with the way its looks after its children, the elderly and the frail, – facilitating optimal education to offer people a future with value and dignity, in peace.

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This world is still a world where children do suffer. In various countries uprooted by civil war, poverty and lack of basic education. Besides this there are many countries where many thousands of children (millions perhaps) are sold or disappeared in the sex trade or child pornography. Daily abused in the most horrible dimensions. Often the perpetrators walk free as e.g the case recently with a Belgian Arch Bishop. He abused children in his care and in the 21st century in Belgium, he was only advised to leave the country – without any prosecution.

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Not to speak about countries reigned by some dictators, often far worse, – but these dimensions about child abuse are almost at a global level. This is the violence different from the bomb at night in Gaza, slower than the shot in Afghanistan, – but at least as deadly in terms of physical and mental torture. It is the silent violence and the slow decay within existing institutions supposed serving the countries, – like e.g. in  Belgium, where high-ranking government officials have been involved in  pedophile rings, and where some influentially in the top of the Roman Catholic Church walk free.

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This violence again is different from e.g. the violence applied by the US in Vietnam some decades ago, where the US Government was in a place to decide which areas in Vietnam would be destroyed with mass bombardments. It is the violence different as applied in many other pointless war’s as happened e.g in Iraq. Nevertheless it is often institutional violence, like it was institutional violence which intervened in John F Kennedy’s Presidency of the US, with high-ranking Governments officials being involved with cover up’s at the highest level of US Government. It was this institutional violence as well which killed both Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy during the anti Vietnam-war demonstrations,  – preparing as such (in a way)  the winning campaign of Richard Nixon.  Even in the US there are potentially dangerous dynamics if not wisely put to an end.  Still e.g. the Iraq war and 9/11 left many unanswered questions and if the Bush administration with Dick Cheney & Donald Rumsfeld would stand trial in an International Court of Justice, the verdict could be less favourable than most people would think, – if all available evidence would be presented. The potential however in the US reflects still the choices being possible to change the political climate, which is different from some other countries. The choices of not allowing the past to become the future of our children. The statue of liberty however has only value with a supplementary statue of responsibility in the White House. If the US would falter and loses its freedom it is: “because we destroyed ourselves”, – Abraham Lincoln once said.

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Neither western democracies nor countries elsewhere on the world are free of failures of both judgement and perceptions, but  with democracies is has been rarely necessary to put dissidents in jail whilst this seems common practice in those countries where there are no free elections. The beauties of a democracy remain restricted if  most value their right to remain indifferent against potential evil systems tolerated in their own society. Every democratic country gets the criminals it deserves in the highest positions, where there is a free vote, – but on the other hand each free vote can add to the law enforcement being required. People being elected at various levels of government do represent the choices of people and in real democracies it is not really justified to blame politics for everything, – as everyone in those positions of government can be replaced through those who are committed to their democratic votes and the legitimate need for change. The dynamics in e.g Syria are far less straightforward, especially when the crack down on dissidents is relentless and supported by Teheran.

Nevertheless certain countries can’t continue killing their own people without repercussions on the long-term. It happened in the former Yugoslavia and there are still trials in The Hague with generals involved in genocide and all other abuses of human rights.

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Like the principle of non involvement in business does not work in the time of knowledge workers, non involvement does not work in the business of the political administration of any country, and most of the non democratic leaders are operating from obsolete and inflated paradigms driving their countries on the brink of disaster.

In 2008 the US made a choice for profound change and Barack Obama became the first African American President. Despite a multi trillion federal budget deficit inherited from past Administrations, he was able to carry out various reforms. Without compromising on the needs for the children, the frail, the elderly and the middle class he needs to find ways to attempt a significant reduction in the federal budget deficit to keep the US a sustainable country. No representative of the Republican Party during the 2012 elections will prove to have similar credentials as this first African-American President, who may prove in retrospect  to be one of the finest US Presidents in history, – provided being able to serve his 8 years term in office.

Education is the key to help less privileged groups to better standards of living all over the world. It can push countries to the next levels of their endeavours. The inhumanity and dilemma’s of this swiftly changing planet can’t be resolved by ongoing oppression of groups who want to see positive changes in their society. The world can neither be moved by those who represent a dying history of obsolete principles of government, with full prove that it does not work, – nor can it be moved by democracies with decay in their systems as allowed by those having a free vote. Our security can’t be secured anymore by nuclear warheads. – Security is far more likely to be settled in the way reason meets across the borders of division. The future will be an achievement for those who find ways to work together at the forefront of those challenges in our time.

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The world is wicked dark and grey, despite its beauties on many of its corners. Obstruction is in the midst whilst oppression does not leave from the streets. If we ask the children all over the world what makes their times bad, they will tell. They will tell the stories about hunger and dysfunctional families. They will tell their stories about violence and rape. They will tell the stories about schools without books. They will tell the stories about friends being gunned or knifed down. They will tell the stories about trading childs for sex in Taiwan and Cambodia, apart from other countries. It is this silent violence which goes barefaced often under the protection of civil servants or in some countries – the church. The grievances of many under oppression are loud and clear but often not heard. Often they are wiped under the carpets. Those carpets often so nicely shining from the top, but so dusty and dirty at the bottom where nobody looks.  As long as the world will exist there are always wicked leaders who ruin the ethical principles of life by wearing out the people who refuse to remain indifferent towards human suffering and humiliation.

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Through the agony of deep divisions we need to change our world by our choices. We need the world and the world needs us. ….Those who take history as a relentless master in the challenge to keep both reverence for life and diversity, will always meet the world as a strange place, – whilst it take miles to make it change. However there is a time fixed for this…This time will come at the fittest time where people will be set free… This optimism takes no account of the present but is worth both enduring inspiration vitality and hope for the future, – where others have resigned to claim the future for themselves.

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And still, we see this hope and optimism in children.  And don’t let us forsake them, – they are our future!!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gdGkf5Kb2w&feature=player_detailpage

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/on-the-issue-of-human-trafficking/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

 

Further memories


Many things happened.

English: West Schouwen lighthouse (Haamstede) ...
English: West Schouwen lighthouse (Haamstede) Nederlands: Westerlichttoren – eigen foto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mum and dad met during the 2nd world war and whilst my dad was actively involved as one of the leaders of the “Flying Brigade” resistance group, my mum was dedicated to her role as a “courier” for this group. Many messages and documents went as such from one group to the other. Intelligence about German defence systems across parts of the Dutch coast line passed as such as well to  Allied Forces in England.

Both my mum and dad were the only survivors  following someone  betrayed the “Flying Brigade”, and this fate, this coincidence actually, determined the road to their marriage – which ended some 26 years after the 2nd world war.

In retrospect my parents were good and decent people and though their relationship with each other had such imperfections that it could not sustain, they tried to live life as good as possible. They made an impact in what they provided for their children and what they expressed in their own ways to friends and relatives.

I loved the walks with my dad in the forests near Haamstede when I was young, as he always told me about things of interest and he showed a lot of interesting places in Zeeland, like eg  particular spots at Zierikzee and Middelburg.

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I still see my mum cooking in the kitchen of our house in Haamstede on the hot summer evenings, with the evening sun shining through the side window, and children sharing the table after playing football.

The owner of the little local Foodland at the time (“Van Dijke”/ van Dike) was always kind enough to bring a supply of shopping home in those early days, or bringing e.g. a new gas bottle.

I was really fortunate enough being born within comfortable circumstances. No matter what the difficulties were at some stage,  no matter what the challenges were when I was a teenager,  where it really comes to in life  is affection, respect, encouragement and good examples   generating the sort of strength and love – which is essential in life, besides meaning.

Personally I  had many good examples, both nearby and far away. Still do I have warm feelings for all those people for what they gave me during various moments in life. This appeared often in little things and most of the times they were not aware. It is one of the mysterious things in life of what we give  to each other without knowing it, and the impact it has at times. Sometimes this happens during trivial circumstances and simple encounters, – sometimes this happens during  vital moments within our human endeavours. Moments with seeds being planted in our hearts and minds,  and wisdom – at times many years later – growing through the grace of God.  In my case there have been people I never met who made an impact.

In moments of reflection we may look back at the colours of our own life. For each of us they are different. If we are lucky,  the colours may get warmer when the years pass by. However not for all of us do the blend of light and the peace of nature come together, – like it may happen e.g. in those late sunny afternoons where the mix of circumstances and light do create an inner peace with whatever we experienced in life.

Both my oldest and younger brother are still alive.  One brother, 4 years older only, died suddenly in 1999.  His name was Tjakko.  Among the brothers he was perhaps the “lion” of the Wolves,  both fierce if required but also kind and generous. We played a lot when we were young and apart from some rivalry there was always encouragement and support.

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Many of  my childhood memories go back to the town of Haamstede at the lighthouse, where so often we went on holidays during the summers in the company of childhood friends. Like my dad,  – Tjakko later went to study law (in Utrecht). It was within reason perhaps to suspect that he did consider a career in politics at some stage,  but the political dynamics in the Netherlands did not really appeal to him, neither was he attracted to courts of justice. At young age he became director of a road construction company. Both as a result of this and his investing endeavours in property he became quite prosperous in Haamstede, where he lived for years already.  Before  he died he was able to reconsider his options in life as he had the type of wealth he could afford this. He was not the type of person who would be happy with an easy lifestyle as he had a degree of restlessness making him to seek new endeavours. Three days before he died we had a last telephone conversation in which we discussed a family reunion in the Netherlands. I was living at that stage with my wife and children in Scotland. When we heard about his sudden death on monday, we  traveled as soon as possible to Haamstede to be part of the funeral preparations and share with the family in sadness, together with his wife.  They had no children.  Quite a number of people were profound devastated.

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For various reasons his life was an unfinished life, – he died far too early.  – Still I do remember sailing with him at the lake near Veere (Veerse meer) in the county of  Zeeland, both with him and his future wife at young age.

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Some years between the age of 16 and 18 I spent with a lovely foster family in Apeldoorn. I was able here to finish secondary school as only this environment provided the support being required at this stage in life to help me with some attention & concentration issues at school. This was a somewhat different environment than I was used to. Quite an artistic and warm hearted family actually.  There were 3 other children, all a bit younger.   Wilgert, the oldest, died at the age of 25 in Groningen following an accident with a bus, one of those terrible moments where a split second of lacking perhaps the required concentration to avoid pending danger proved to be fatal.

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Five years ago we went for a broad family reunion and stayed obviously in Haamstede, – besides travelling to Scotland and see old other friends. Having had the opportunity to live so close to the sea in Cullen,  in-between Inverness and Aberdeen, was a great experience for both my wife and 3 children. Together with their friends, our children often jumped from the harbour in the sea. There has been always something special with Scotland, the country of both “the high road and the low road.”  Very special as well was both our stay in England and South Africa,  before this.


When I was 4 or 5  I was hit by a motor bike whilst skiving off preschool, – on my way to a friend’s house.  Can’t remember the impact but when I woke up there with many faces bending over me, but I lost conscious and woke up days later in the hospital of Goes, in the county of Zeeland. Considerable head injury and an open fracture of my leg was the verdict. My poor pre school teacher Miss Mathla was possibly in trouble as young kids are not supposed to escape from preschool. I could recover that summer in Haamstede but it was not the most pleasant holiday.

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Funny enough I still remember some preschool events and St Nickolas arriving by boat in the harbour of Goes. Goes was a great place in my perception and I was sad for days with the prospect of moving to Apeldoorn, if I knew what sadness was in those days. At least I did not like it.

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Adapting to Apeldoorn took time. The school was different, likewise the culture. However, also there were friends at an interesting primary school being called the Sondorp school, named after the previous school inspector. There are many stories about this school and my old school mates have many memories as well, last but not least about the head master. He made the school what it was with pride, but on another note he often used his hands when kids were naughty, or when “he thought” the kids were naughty. He reigned with a vigorous regime, not rarely at a cost of the children. Practices as in those days at schools would not be tolerated today and it always puzzled me why my dad did not make the required efforts to tame this man, – but it would seem that the other teachers did respect the way up with his approach. He became the victim of his own attitude and one day -(so I was  led to believe)-  a mob of teenagers were waiting for him.

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We had a good class though, – at the time of this headmaster, united in our awareness of the daily potential dangers. Some pupils were  however more at risk than others. My performance was seriously not that great with this teacher in the last class of primary school, whilst with some other teachers before I worked hard because they were really nice and genuine.

The first part of secondary school was not that good. Often in trouble with teachers. The school system at that particular school at the Church Lane (Kerklaan) in Apeldoorn, next door to the swimming pool, was less than inviting or stimulating – the least.  It went somewhat better at a different school but I think my mind was a bit preoccupied with other things going on. Things were not ideal at home.

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Matters profoundly changed after finishing the Teaching Training College in Amsterdam,  after passing an entry test for the medical faculty. I found direction.

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Being able to do the medicine study in Maastricht, the most beautiful city of the Netherlands, did open various doors to the future. The city was great for students who liked the outdoors as e.g. rowing on the Maas, or climbing rocks in the hills of Belgium.

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Life evolved further in Sneek, the county of Friesland. This as part of a hospital job which combined General Surgery, Obstetrics and A&E.  It was reasonable preparation for working and living in Venda (South Africa), which we did at Siloam.

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With England and Scotland in between, we arrived 10 years later in Australia…..

 

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We all may have our specific mission or goal in life which provides fulfilment, despite obstacles. No matter what can be taken away from us, still at the end we have the last choice within the given set of circumstances we have.

The lighthouse in Haamstede was built to give light, was built to endure burning.  I still have this picture in mind and it has a meaning for me. Lighthouses do not move, they give direction.

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Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/granddad-and-grandma-wolf-rostock-mecklenburg-roots/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/my-dad-during-the-2nd-world-war/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

Granddad and grandma Wolf (Rostock -Mecklenburg roots)


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My family roots is a story on its own, more detailed than being described below:
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Granddad (Louis Gustaaf Wolf) was born in Klundert ( the Netherlands) on the 15th of February 1865 and married grandma (Louise Ploos van Amstel) on the 3rd of May 1899. She was born in Reitsum on the 16th of July 1877  and was the daughter of Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ahasverus  van Amstel and Anna Geertruida Binksma. They had 6 children including 1 daughter who died at a very young age.
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The archives of the Wolf family go back to the 17th century. Elias Wolf was born in Rostock in July 1717. Becoming Mayor of Jever he married Margarethe Christiene   Kohnemann.  One of their children was another Elias Wolf, born in Jever on the 24th May 17 68 and he became the owner of some plantations in Essequebo (Guyana).  He was President and adviser in the criminal justice department of this colony and married on the 5th of May 1792 with Sarah Barkey in Rio Essquebo. They got 5 children, including Frederik Hendrik Elias Wolf, born on the 30th of November 1803 in Breda. He became Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church at Leeuwen and married in Gendt on the 9th of April 1828 with Johanna Henrietta Coenen.  Both got 5 children including Elias Frederik Hendrik Wolf, being born in Leeuwen on the 18th of January 1829 and this Elias became a Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church in Utrecht. He was married with Sophia Carolina Charlotte van der Goes.They got 7 children, one of which was my granddad.

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Considering the directions his brothers and sisters took in life, I can only assume granddad had a colourful family.

Actually I don’t know too much about granddad’s younger years. He went obviously through primary and secondary school and opted to go into medicine but in his 5th year, just before the clinical part, – he realised that this was not the future he wanted. After careful consideration he stopped medicine all together despite his good results  (I don’t think his own dad offered him to try a different study as there were more children to raise).

How and when he met grandma (oma ), I don’t know. He moved with his wife to Canada and started about 1890 one of the first Dutch settlements near Yorktown. Perhaps he was comfortable to be a bit away from his family as he did not follow the usual patterns of life, – or family expectations.  Who knows… Auntie Sophia was born in Yorktown and did live amidst the real Wolves and Indians. The stories were  quite colourful.

After a couple of years grandma became terribly homesick and both granddad and grandma returned to the Netherlands with the family. Obviously if grandma would not have been homesick in those days,  for sure I would not have been able to write this story in Australia.

History for our family would have been totally different. This applies as well when my dad and mum would have been caught by the Gestapo during the 2nd world war.

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The family had to settle again in the Netherlands after the Canada experience. For granddad this was perhaps not the easiest time in his life as he really liked Canada, – likewise his daughter Sophia who loved the lifestyle in the outback and the horse riding etc. For grandma it was clearly different as again she was more close to her own family.

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Granddad got eventually employment with the “N.V. Maas Buurt Spoorweg”  (Maas-Buurt Railway Company) in Brabant and became President – Director of this company in 1918  after the retirement of  President – Director J.M. Voorhoeve, – following the 1st world war. The 40th anniversary of this company was a huge event in October 1911 with lots of celebrations and praise for mr Voorhoeve, including an appreciation  from the Queen of the Netherlands at the time. When granddad took over the reigns it would seem he did do this in  an energetic way with leadership and insight in a time of challenges and turmoil. With an increasing number of bus companies in those days leading obviously to growing competition and with the economic recession, this job was really a tough job.  There was the need as well for more social reforms in those days in the company itself and granddad did properly engage to this, so I am led to believe. He loved his  job and cared for his employees.  He reflected fairness courage and determination, besides a good sense of humour. In speeches he could be quite funny.

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On the 1st of June 1935 he retired from this place and mr Schafers took over as President – Director. Later on the Dutch Railway lines (“Nederlandse Spoorwegen) took over this company and the future of the Maas – Buurt Railway Company came to an end. Granddad served the Maas – Buurt Railway Company for almost 35 years and left his legacy in the railway business in “good old Gennep”. He retired at the age of  70 and both grandma and granddad had 6 children. One daughter died at very young age and Elias (my dad’s only brother) died suddenly in 1934. His death drove grandma to total despair. She recovered very slowly.

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During the 2nd world war both provided shelter for Jews in their own home at the Parklaan in Bussum. This was at times nerve rocking,  last but not least as due to my dad’s activities in the resistance movement.  Granddad  loved to smoke his pipe and tell stories. He died on the 27th of March 1948 in Bussum at the age of 83 as a result of throat cancer.

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Even though he died before I was born, he made a real impact on me when I was a child.  His original painted picture frame is still positioned  in our hallway as if he is keeping an eye on the family.

Grandma was as remarkable as granddad, but in different ways. She survived him many years and died later in the 1968 after being moved to Apeldoorn. She left a history of memories in Bussum and at her age she could not coop with this transition.

I remember that she was cared for by miss Flick in Bussum.  “Juffrouw Flick” we called her.  She was never married and was some  10 years younger than grandma and she undertook it to look after her as there was no way grandma would move into a retirement home with more help. However at the  end she needed nearly as much care as grandma needed.

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As a family we did visit grandma on regular occasions when she lived in Bussum.  Always on her birthday, which was just before our holidays in Haamstede. Often we did visit her on a sunday and when we arrived she sat in the front bay window waving to us when we arrived. Miss Flick always moved her chair to the frontal window so that she could see us arriving on her drive way. We were always welcomed in the first instance  by mis Flick and a tiny dog who barked a lot but did not do any harm. I clearly remember the meal time events between 1 and 2 pm. All those warm meals were well prepared by miss Flick, who had a remarkable ability and reputation. As usual there were bible readings and prayers. Grandma was a very devote Christian. As children we kicked each other with our shoes under the table and giggled a lot during those moments,  being supposed to respect those serious moments, – despite angry looks of our parents. Obviously we looked during those prayers whether our parents did not look, and if they did not look there were again a few kicks under the table. Nevertheless grandma loved us as  grandchildren and she was always teary when we left again later in the afternoon. Her house was filled with furniture breathing an atmosphere of history and many memories. Her desk was full of family photo’s.

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She had a special chair on which we were not allowed to sit by our parents.  This chair was called the “holy chair”. At a stage in her life grandma had “an appearance from heaven”,  some time after her eldest son died – so we were told – and as ” this person” did sit in this chair the chair as such had a special meaning for her. As children we looked with the eyes of children and had no idea what she endured in her life. There was otherwise nothing unusual with grandma. She was grey and small, both very generous and reflecting at times the kind of wisdom perhaps not entirely from this earth. Somehow she was more closer to heaven than we have ever been and in silence she always prayed for us, more than we ever did. There was something around her which made her different from others, even different than our other grandma in Bussum where we had at times sleep overs. She was clearly my “Wolf grandma”, – a grandma of a special kind who reached a special age.

From the lives of this special granddad and grandma I sensed somehow that life may become harder when we live for others, but it also becomes happier and it brings more fulfilment.  Perhaps not everything was that positive in my later childhood, but examples were not the main thing  which gave direction in my life, it was the only thing. Hence that I am still grateful for all  the receptive moments of influence and decision, –  to make the desired circumstances. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is merely a matter of choice as some would say.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/further-memories/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/my-dad-during-the-2nd-world-war/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

For those who are left behind…


English: The Anne Frank House alongside the Pr...
English: The Anne Frank House alongside the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Nederlands: Het Anne Frank Huis aan de Prinsengracht in Amsterdam, Nederland. Français : La maison d’Anne Frank sur Prinsengracht à Amsterdam, Pays-Bas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My dad’s story is like many untold stories anywhere in  the world. It includes my mum as well, as she was involved as well. This story in which they revealed something special to me,  is what I value so much in them long after they have gone. It happened at one particular stage in their lives.

The story where people at some stage stood up against what was evil and wrong in their times. The story of people  trying to protect the right of others and their own fellow countryman against the pressures of their oppressor’s.

It’s the kind of story still happening in day-to-day life  anywhere on this world, where people are shot perhaps or wounded by powers not having  justice at heart. People at the wrong side often being used as well as  puppets for those groups or powers preying on their victims, – those not being able to make the right distinctions between right or wrong, – but at least responsible for what they did.

Those are  story’s as they still unfold  in many countries, where people sense the evils of their times and want to change it, – where people see  what is wrong and try to make it right. Whatever they do in other areas of life, –  the measure of their character is what they did  when times were not comfortable  or easy anymore , what they did at times of pressure when the risks were high. The times when they showed ‘grace under pressure”, when their inner voice asked to do what they had to do.

Those examples still show ripples of hope to break the walls of oppression, for those suffering the implications of this oppression, – wherever they may live.

Often those story’s as they do occur are not heard, and often people disappear in e.g. the “chambers of hell”, being tortured in countries like e.g Libia  (as we watched on television), – but also in many other countries.

The stories are endless and often tragic, – and still it seems that despite the beauties of this world, the many positives and the many opportunities, – the burdens of human kind are as clear as they always have been, – and still human rights at a large-scale are allowed to be obstructed or compromised by those nations allowing to do so.

This is one of those many stories, – as it happened during the 2nd world war, in a place somewhere in that small country called the Netherlands.

Being the youngest with 3 older sisters and 1 older brother, my dad was born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  He grew up in a family with very different characters. His parents being well grounded in their beliefs and religion. Though I have not known granddad in person as he died before my time, the stories about him made me think he was the “pioneer” of  the family. He had a  good character as well, with a strong sense of justice.

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One of my dad’s sisters (Sophia)  was born in Canada and spent  some years in Canada before the family moved back to the Netherlands, being used to the Canadian style of life, – including horse riding.

Dad’s health at young age was not that great and at the age of 7  he had mild TB. For this reason he had prolonged in-treatment and could not attend primary school until he was a bit older. Other members of the family sustained other ailments and setbacks in those years between 1920 and 1930. When my dad spoke later in life at times about his youth, his family and other events, – he always spoke with a degree of respect for his parents.  He had to smile on the memory of his own mum (Louise Ploos van Amstel), who once did knit adapted underwear  and a bra for a naked little female statue, which he received from some of his friends whilst being a student in Amsterdam. The generations were different and dad was clearly the youngest. Grandma was lovely though, always kind  besides being sensitive.

Dad’s older brother Elias died suddenly in 1934, which obviously had a profound impact on the family. It drove grandma actually to total devastation and she needed a long time to recover. After my dad did finish secondary school (“gymnasium”),  he decided to study Law in Amsterdam at the V.U.

The 2nd world war however broke out which obviously disrupted his studies, as he decided to join an increasingly active resistance group, operating  mainly in both Amsterdam and Bussum. Quite a number of young students were involved. He worked close with Joop Kemper, who started this group called “The Flying Brigade” (FB).

Johan Louis KEMPERJoop Kemper

http://www.eerebegraafplaatsbloemendaal.eu/Dbase/Biografie_K/Johan_Louis_KEMPER.html

Dad and Joop Kemper became the leaders of the FB. One of the previous members of resistance group CS-6 joined the FB as well, though FB and CS-6 were not the same. FB worked together with CS-6, the “OD”, “Group X” and Professor Oranje.

The first aim of the group was to give shelter and money for Jews, to prevent them from being arrested and moved to the various concentration camps in Germany. For this purpose they tended to meet in the youth chapel in Bussum to discuss strategies and tactics. Besides this they collected information on defence material on coastal areas north of Amsterdam and in the county of Zeeland. Photo’s about harbours and other strategic points were sent to England by couriers. It proved however that providing shelter for Jews was not enough as dangerous Gestapo officers and collaborators compromised the safety of Jews.Many of the last were shot or put on transport to Germany. This was the reason the group (FB) decided to target the most dangerous Gestapo officers and collaborators as well, and they were able to collect weapons from other cooperating resistance groups.

Obviously the Gestapo became quite anxious to discover “the where about” of FB as a number sabotage targets and assassinations became succesful and damming for the Gestapo itself. —

One day FB was planning to liquidate a dangerous traitor called Somer but the Gestapo became aware of the plan and prepared an ambush via infiltrators.

On the 9th of September 1943 the group (FB) decided to meet again in the youth chapel on the Meent weg (Meentway) in Bussum, to discuss the assassination on Somer  the next day. Somer was as far as the archives concerned a dangerous spy and traitor, but the Gestapo was already fully prepared.

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The meeting was in process but the person being hired for the assassination proved in retrospect to be a Gestapo infiltrant, who managed to get the trust of one of the group members. He was a specialist assassin and seemed to be most suitable for the job, being recommended by “friends”. It was noticed on the 9th of September that various car’s were parked around the chapel place, the last next door to the Reformed Church. It would seem that some people were walking around at the time of the meeting, keeping a close eye on the youth chapel. During the meeting in which the potential assassin was involved,  my dad raised technical reservations about certain aspects of the planning and in particular the car being used. The plan was to go ahead with the execution the next day, at a place in Amsterdam.  Dad discussed his reservations in detail whilst feeling a degree of uneasiness about the situation.  Especially when 2 people in the group, the specialist assassin included, looked at each other in a particular way, – his intuition became on the alert, but he could not pin point the danger as yet. The others were oblivious about the raised concerns. The assassin was as I said introduced by a trustworthy member of FB and  nobody appeared to have any suspicion. My dad (who felt that something was not right) decided to go out the room to discuss “some financial issues” in a next door room, and said to get back as decisions needed being made, but to give it an hour or so. He disclosed his concerns to my later mum – who was a courier for the group at the time – and both decided to go outside to discuss the matter with Wim Hille, who appeared  the most proper person to discuss the matter as he was a senior member of the group.

They sensed  they were followed. When Wim Hille appeared not to be around and dad discovered a particular blue car being parked under the trees, – he became aware of an immediate critical danger and wanted to go straight back to the youth chapel to warn his friends.

Right within the main entrance already, – a car was parked and dad tried to get back via the back yard entrance of the youth chapel, – but he was stopped in the garden by the Reverend’s wife who told him only in a few words what happened. My later mum warned my later dad not to get back in the youth chapel itself, – as it appeared that the Gestapo had fully arrived.

Both managed to escape via the back garden, followed however for a little while by some men. The Gestapo action was obviously fully concentrated on all the people inside the chapel.

With full strength they had invaded the youth chapel  and instantly arrested everybody being around. There was not even the time for an exchange in gunfire.

The house of granddad and grandma at 27 Parklaan sustained extensive searches by the police that night, the next day included as well. Dad’s sister was taken to the police station but later released.

Following extensive Gestapo interrogation and torture, – all dad’s friends were shot on the 28th of October 1943. They were accused of assassinations on people in public life including the police president in Utrecht, a police captain in Bussum, but also sabotage, – providing Jews with money and shelter, – besides maintaining close coöperation with the resistance group CS-6. The last group was responsible for both the assassinations on General Seyffardt and Minister Folkert Posthuma.

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There was a moving church service  after the death sentences were executed. CS-6 was largely liquidated as well.  – In memory of those 8 people who died for their country, – on the 6th of November 1943 this church service was held in Bussum. The church was filled with emotions and (Reverend) Ds. J.J. Louet Feiser emphasised in the eulogy on the meaning of those lives being lost, and what those 8 people had to say. They did understand the critical situation and the evils of their time and responded in the way they did, – knowing that life could take an end as result of their joint efforts (>1 Peter 5,6 and 7 < – was at the centre of his reflections).

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My dad had to seek permanent shelter until the 5th of May 1945 as he became a prime target of the Gestapo. He always carried a pill with him, which would cause instantly his own death for when he would be caught by the Gestapo.

The war had a lifelong impact on dad, – largely as due to the loss of his group. As an Attorney and staff officer (section arrest) after the war he was able to question those Gestapo officers being responsible for the executions of his friends and he got a lot of information about the 2 traitors being involved.

He started after the war a law firm with a good friend and married my future mother, who survived the war as well.

Years and years went by and after changing profession and being a school inspector for a long time in different area’s of the country, besides 2 unhappy marriages, – he died in 1995, leaving a legacy among his friends in the education system  in the area’s where he worked,  – but for sure as well within the efforts and choices he made during the 2nd world war.

My dad had his struggles, but he had his victories as well. He was for certain not perfect but looking back he was brave enough to put his life at risk for his fellow Jewish human beings, who had to face the agony of Hitler Germany. In times of  real crisis he stood up. Like my mum did in those days, long ago now.

The courage of life in most occasions is less dramatic than the courage in the very last moments of critical decisions we may face, – however it is no less a spectacular mix of both triumph and tragedy,  for those who are able to finish their lives. Dad stood up as one with others against the evil systems of oppression during the 2nd world war, – knowing as well that life could take an end.

As Corry ten Boom once said: >”The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but it’s donation.”<

My dad’s story at times of crisis in circumstances of war, is one of the many available all over the world in all its many variations, – his story however being  trivial perhaps compared with what some others had to endure, those who did not survive as he did. Nevertheless he was no bystander watching how things were evolving, without doing anything within the domain of his decisions.

Many people after the war said: “We did not know!”      Many people in Germany said this as well, and in part many indeed in Germany were not aware of the concentration camps..

In history many died in their endeavours for their own people and still many will continue to die, – either at war or in their endeavours to fight for human rights, – or bringing  liberation to those being oppressed.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; – Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. –Let us not forget”.

Viktor E. Frankl, a famous Psychiatrist who survived the concentration camps in Germany once said: >>”Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; – to life he can respond by being responsible. – – Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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Let us not forget,- let us never forget!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-ougiqwtNQ&feature=player_detailpage

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/granddad-and-grandma-wolf-rostock-mecklenburg-roots/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/further-memories/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/