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The Little Dutch Girl

by Keone Michaels Sun Oct 14th, 2007 at 01:50:05 AM EST

I was born September 11th in 1942, during the conflict we call World War 2. I am a war baby. War baby is a term that defines the underlying theme of my life and for many of my generation. We all can recite similar stories, the  human activity of war even the most remote cultures on the planet have experienced. And humans continue to have babies. War babies.

I was conceived and born in a time of war. My birth was a chance event hastened by the imperatives of life and death. My parents would never have met, my DNA would never have existed if not for the war. My father born thousands of miles away, met my mother while stationed at the Army base near her town. He, from a Russian Jewish background, she from a Scottish one, in those days would not even have crossed paths if not for the war.

Diary rescue by Migeru

My father came home from the war in 1945 and was a stranger. And although I played dress up in his combat gear we never really repaired the damage of my separation from him at birth as he went off to war in Europe. When he returned in 1945 I was reluctant to give up my grandfather as a father figure and even at the end of his life my father and I had never really been close. My relationship with my father was another casualty of war. A war baby. Again, probably a common experience for my generation.

Although WW2 itself was over, my early formative years were still shaped by it's looming after-presence. My first and only nanny was a refugee from one of our own prison camps for Japanese-American citizens. I remember a diminutive, sweet girl named Grace. She was homeless and just nineteen about 4 years or so after the war ended when she joined our household in the new government provided, "Veterans's subdivision." She was hired as a caretaker for the two children in our family. It was her childhood that the war took. Grace was incarcerated before and as she entered puberty. Damaged goods. Funny, I remember her as another child, not an adult. I lost contact with her after she moved on, but I'm told she ended her days in a mental institution. Just another war baby.

For about a decade after the war ended my parent's social life revolved almost exclusively around what I remember being called "The Club," or sometimes, "The Mess" on the Army base above our town. "Mess" was short, I suppose for the mess hall, and their lives were really a mess too. The war left them with few emotional resources and they scrambled frantically to "enjoy" their lives. I sensed a voraciousness, perhaps a determination to waste little time in proving that the millions that died had not died in vain. At the club, the liquor flowed freely and the camaraderie kept on in a well practiced social groove. As I said, this went on for about ten years after the war ended, then my folks drifted on to other things.

My early years in school I was an active, mischievous youngster whom teachers always needed to find some way to calm down and focus on the classroom work at hand. One year in the 4th grade, my teacher, an eastern European refugee named Miss Komar, whose homeland had been ravished in the war and who now sought a new life here with us, well, Miss Komar put a new student, in the seat right next to me. She was a student from Holland who had spent most of the war Miss Komar later told us, in Dresden in a bunker, in Germany.

The new student had a funny nickname, something like "Fitsie." Every Friday without fail, Fitsie would wear her Dutch national costume complete with a pointed hat just like the logo girl on the package of "Dutch Cleanser"at the store. I think in a way she was telling us that she was Dutch, not German. Those days, we still called the Germans "Gerrys" and the Japanese, "Japs" at the time and there was a lot of hatred toward our now defeated WW2 enemies. Her costume included a baby blue (the softest, prettiest baby blue I have ever seen) checkered apron. I was in love immediately. When Fitsie asked me to be quiet, I acquiesced more quickly than when Miss Komar issued the same request.

One fine Autumn day I daydreamed out the window at the leaves blowing around the playground and sat with Fitsie at our table doing our math work. Suddenly, bringing me out of my dream the siren for the new practice that was just instituted, a nuclear bomb alert.

As the loud speaker above the clock screamed out a terrible noise Miss Komar had us get under the table and put our heads between our legs. I looked at Fitsie as her face melted in absolute terror and tears began to flow. When Fitsie started to wail and scream at first I thought it was because I had spied her underpants in the initial scramble to get under the table's "protection." Just a few days before I remembered my mother had told me that a gentleman "never" takes the opportunity to look at a woman's panties and if it happened accidently, to immediately look away. Then I realized that when she screamed and clenched her fists and pounded the top of the table making a terrible noise it was not about that. It was something else.

Suddenly the whole class was focussed on Fitzie and me and the commotion under our table. Soon the nurse and the Principal came into the room. I remember the fine dark hair and little brown mole on Miss Komar's pale white skinned forearm as she reached under the table and gently raised Fitsie up and took her away. That was the last time I saw her, she didn't return to school. Her soul was sick and she was full of angst and terror. Collateral damage. Another war baby.

Looking back that nuclear bomb practice was a key war incident in my life. This fearful homage to the spectre of war signalled for us that our WW2 victory was no longer useful. The dividends of war had now been paid. Our handlers needed to provide more motivation to keep us moving in the right direction. The easy loans, the quick gratitude due the Veterans was now gone. More sacrifice was needed. In order to be safe, to be secure we needed now to be prepared for nuclear war. The cold-war had begun. Now, a systematic campaign to warn people and prepare the west for the impending nuclear holocaust, with an almost certain doomsday scenario began and the constant building of the nuclear arsenal and our crazy stumble down the road to mutually assured destruction with The Soviet Union was in full swing.

Even in our own hemisphere, small regional conflicts and incidents over the years from the "Bay of Pigs" with Cuba, an angry brouhaha continuous until today, to the squabble over The Falklands, helping our pals the British, have served over the years to remind me of war and the importance we hold of imposing our will by force, "defending our freedom" in the world it was termed. Let's not forget our brave soldiers parachuting in to Panama to subdue the horrid dictator dope-dealing CIA shill Manuel Noriega. Perhaps defending our "freedom to do business" might be more apt since it seems in the end that most human conflicts from a personal to a international level seemed in the final analysis to be about distribution of resources. Apparently, Mankind has a hard time sharing. That is why we have so many war babies.

Even in the best of times, the war has been always with me. Even in the sunny days after the Korean war. War has always been there, maiming our young men and sending many of them home broken and not fixable. For example there is my recollection of an incident one early autumn day right after the Korean war at the Mormon missionary across the street from my house.

I was on the Mormon mission property to visit my friend Wayne whose father ran the Mormon mission. As a result of Wayne's father's exalted position we were two young rascals with the run of the property. One day, Wayne and I rudely burst into one of the missionary's bedrooms, Brother Two. We were unexpectedly seeking his help to put up the ladder reaching the Mango tree full of fruit but just out of reach easily visible ripe and delicious fruit. Brother Two, a veteran of the Korean war, after returning from duty in Korea was now serving the Mormon church as a missionary. Brother Two had that clean cut look that some Mormons favor. Blue eyes, blond hair, square jaw. No fat. He was my hero.

Imagine Wayne and my surprise when instead of giving us his easy smile and helping hand, Brother Two violently rolled from the bed wailing and screaming pulling the mattress on top of himself, screaming. After he stopped crying and composed himself, he was dripping with sweat and red faced and sobbing and we were scared and apologetic. I saw Brother Two in a different light from that time onward. He drew my attention dramatically to war and it's consequence in the human animal. Another war baby.

And then of course there was Vietnam and the draft. I came of age during the Vietnam conflict. By that time I was no longer a willing listener when the powers that controlled our destiny beat the war drums. But I figured that I had to do something or I might be leaving my bones rotting in the jungles of SE Asia.

So I joined the reserves three weeks before the draft notice arrived at my parent's house while I was still in basic training on my way to eventually becoming a hospitalcorpsman stationed in a pediatrics unit at a West Coast Naval Hospital. In the outfit I joined most reserve units didn't make it to the front but stayed at home and did logistics and other duties. I knew I did not want to go to Vietnam and sacrifice my life in a dispute over resource dominance. If I had not been able to qualify for the reserves, I would have run away to Canada as did many of my friends. No way this war baby was going to go to war over profits. NO WAY.

More? Check out Iraq one and two. More resource wars. Horror? Terror? You name it, we have our chains jerked on a daily basis by the propaganda and disinformation that postulates nuclear horror, Islamic Jihad, or whatever acid generating stomach churning angst that is the primary tool of population control in most well organized human societies today.

It is unfortunate that my life has always been about war and not about peace. I wish I had not been a war baby. In the interest of not boring you, I've edited out the more mundane examples of daily drum beating of the war machine and included a few of the more colorful examples of the human destruction left in the wake of the global war machine.

All these depressing home movies I've just described lead me to draw a conclusion based on my own personal experience, that we are manipulated from birth to death to respond to the drumbeat of war. Propaganda and carefully crafted memes are constantly exhorting us in the pursuit our safety and security to give up our lives and the lives of our sons and daughters to die in foreign lands. What for? For the corporate profits of a few? Trite as in may sound we are manipulated from birth to death to give our soul to the company store.

It is time mankind evolved. I don't want my grandchildren and their children to be war babies.

Sorry for the length but ya know how it is.  

On another subject, can someone tell me how to transport the html coding from my NVU editor to your rich text editor?  I can't seem to bring my links with me so all the links are not there and I don't have time right now to put them in once again?  what is the best way to accomplish this in the future?


by Keone Michaels on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 12:49:16 PM EST
Thanks for the length.

I am not sure of the display of the NVU editor. If it is like dreamweaver you can copy the code from the code window. Otherwise you can always you save it as html, open it in a text-editor (notepad/emacs/what you like), copy it from there and paste it here.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 07:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try again, that's what I thought I did.  Maybe just a senior moment.

by Keone Michaels on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 08:52:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Use the tab at the bottom of the Nvu window to select the Source view, which gives you the raw HTML code, then copy and paste the HTML code into the EuroTrib editor.
by Gag Halfrunt on Sun Oct 14th, 2007 at 07:48:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this touching diary. I was born 6 years before you but was never touched directly by the second world war. My father already had two kids when the war broke out so he never had to serve. Being born in 1936 I was always missing the wars. I was just too young for Korea and just too old for Vietnam. I was well into my thirties when Vietnam got going; and I had interrupted my schooling to serve six months in the army in '61 as part of the reserve program.
I do remember very well the constant threat of nuclear war with the USSR in the late 50's and early sixties and the fear of it being all over during the Cuban missile crisis.
I knew Vietnam was a con job when it started; the same with Iraq. Any congressman who voted for the Iraq war and later said he was misled is full of shit. If I knew how could they not.
The person I most respected during the Vietnam period was Cassius Clay (Mohamed Ali).  He refused to be drafted, refused to fight and refused to run. He gave up everything and went to jail. I remember him saying "I got no reason to fight with the people of Vietnam."
I always felt that if everyone was like Cassius Clay, there'd be no more wars.
We really have no heroes now, during the Iraq time; maybe the Dixie chicks.  The only reasons the war is unpopular now is that it's taken so long. I don't know if most Americans care about what we've done to Iraq.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 05:03:36 PM EST

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 06:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Published on Thursday, October 28, 2004 by the Independent/UK

Ugly, Tasteless, Terrifying and Wild... Count Me In!

He's been America's most unorthodox political commentator for more than 30 years. But for Dr Hunter S Thompson the Bush presidency is evil beyond belief - and judgment is nigh

by Hunter S. Thompson

The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. Election day - especially when it's a presidential election - is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to them.

Which is not a bad thing, all in all, for the winners. They are not the ones who bitch and whine about slavery when the votes are finally counted and the losers are forced to get down on their knees. No. The slaves who emerge victorious from these drastic public decisions go crazy with joy and plunge each other into deep tubs of chilled Cristal champagne with naked strangers who want to be close to a winner.

That is how it works in the victory business. You see it every time. The weak suck up to the strong, for fear of losing their jobs and money and all the fickle power they wielded only 24 hours ago. It is like suddenly losing your wife and your home in a vagrant poker game, then having to go on the road with whoremongers and beg for your dinner in public. Nobody wants to hire a loser. Right? They stink of doom and defeat.

"What is that horrible smell in the office, Tex? It's making me sick."

"That is the smell of a loser, senator. He came in to apply for a job, but we tossed him out immediately. Sgt Sloat took him down to the parking lot and taught him a lesson he will never forget."

"Good work, Tex. And how are you coming with my new enemies list? I want them all locked up. They are scum."

"We will punish them brutally. They are terrorist sympathizers, and most of them voted against you. I hate those bastards."

"Thank you, Sloat. You are a faithful servant. Come over here and kneel down. I want to reward you."

That is the nature of high-risk politics. Veni, vidi, vici, especially among Republicans. It's like the ancient Bedouin saying: "As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn."

Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors. There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane. Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush - Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain - all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it.

That is why George W Bush is President of the United States, and Al Gore is not. Bush simply wanted it more, and he was willing to demolish anything that got in his way, including the US Supreme Court. It is not by accident that the Bush White House (read: Dick Cheney & Halliburton Inc) controls all three branches of our federal government today. They are powerful thugs who would far rather die than lose the election in November.

The Republican establishment is haunted by painful memories of what happened to Old Man Bush in 1992. He peaked too early, and he had no response to "It's the economy, stupid." Which has always been the case. Every GOP administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency. Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous "trickle-down" theory of US economic policy. If the rich get richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow "trickle down" to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to pre-industrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.

Things haven't changed much where George W Bush comes from. Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West - which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.

Houston is also the unnatural home of two out of the last three presidents of the United States of America, for good or ill. The other one was a handsome, sex-crazed boy from next-door Arkansas, which has no laws against any deviant practice not specifically forbidden in the New Testament, including anal incest and public cunnilingus with farm animals.

Back in 1948, during his first race for the US Senate, Lyndon Johnson was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and told him to call a press conference for just before lunch on a slow news day and accuse his high-riding opponent, a pig farmer, of having routine carnal knowledge of his sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children.

His campaign manager was shocked. "We can't say that, Lyndon," he supposedly said. "You know that it isn't true."

"Of course it's not!" Johnson barked. "But let's make the bastard deny it!"

Johnson - a Democrat, like Bill Clinton - won that election by fewer than 100 votes, and after that he was home free. He went on to rule Texas and the US Senate for 20 years and to be the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States. Until now.

Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with John Kerry turned into a series of embarrassments that broke his nerve and demoralized his closest campaign advisers. They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners.

Kerry came into October as a five-point underdog with almost no chance of winning three out of three rigged confrontations with a treacherous little freak like George Bush. But the debates are over now, and the victor was John Kerry every time. He steamrollered Bush and left him for roadkill.

Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful... I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President", and then I felt ashamed.

Karl Rove, the President's political wizard, felt even worse. There is angst in the heart of Texas today, and panic in the bowels of the White House. Rove has a nasty little problem, and its name is George Bush. The president failed miserably from the instant he got onstage with John Kerry. He looked weak and dumb. Kerry beat him like a gong in Coral Gables, then again in St Louis and Tempe. That is Rove's problem. His candidate is a weak-minded frat boy who cracks under pressure in front of 60 million voters.

Bush signed his own death warrant in the opening round, when he finally had to speak without his teleprompter. It was a Cinderella story brought up to date in Florida that night - except this time, the false prince turned back into a frog.

Immediately after the first debate ended, I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn't come to the phone. "The debate really cracked him up," he chuckled. "The champ loves a good ass-whuppin'. He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down."

This year's first presidential debate was such a disaster for George Bush that his handlers had to be crazy to let him get in the ring with John Kerry again. Yet Karl Rove let it happen, and we can only wonder why. But there is no doubt that the president has lost his nerve, and his career in the White House is finished. No mas.

Indeed. The numbers are weird today, and so is this dangerous election. The time has come to rumble, to inject a bit of fun into politics. That's exactly what the debates did. John Kerry looked like a winner, and it energized his troops. Voting for Kerry is starting to look like serious fun for everyone except poor George, who now looks like a loser. That is fatal in a presidential election.

I look at elections with the cool and dispassionate gaze of a professional gambler, especially when I'm betting real money on the outcome. Contrary to most conventional wisdom, I see Kerry with five points as a recommended risk. Kerry will win this election, if it happens, by a bigger margin than Bush finally gouged out of Florida in 2000. That was about 46 per cent, plus five points for owning the US Supreme Court - which seemed to equal 51 per cent. Nobody really believed that, but George W Bush moved into the White House anyway.

It was the most brutal seizure of power since Hitler burned the Reichstag in 1933 and declared himself the new boss of Germany. Karl Rove is no stranger to Nazi strategy, if only because it worked for a while, and it was sure fun for Hitler. But not for long. He ran out of oil, the whole world hated him, and he liked to gobble pure crystal biphetamine and stay awake for eight days in a row with his maps and bombers and his dope-addled general staff.

They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for war, as long as you are winning, and Hitler thought he was king of the hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshipped him. They were fanatics. That was 66 years ago, and things are not much different today. We still love war.

George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it.


"Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis," the famed author said yesterday at a hastily called press conference near his home in Woody Creek, Colorado.

"Only a fool or a sucker would vote for a dangerous loser like Bush. He hates everything we stand for, and he knows we will vote against him in November." Thompson, well known for the eerie accuracy of his political instincts, went on to denounce Ralph Nader as "a worthless Judas goat with no moral compass."

"I endorsed John Kerry a long time ago," he said, "and I will do everything in my power, short of roaming the streets with a meat hammer, to help him be the next president of the United States."

Which is true. I said all those things, and I will say them again. Of course I will vote for John Kerry. I have known him for 30 years as a good man with a brave heart - which is more than even the President's friends will tell you about George W Bush, who is also an old acquaintance from the white-knuckle days of yesteryear. He is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him. Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers. He hates music, football and sex, and he is no fun at all.

I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, but I won't make that mistake again. The joke is over for Nader. He was funny once, but now he belongs to the dead. Nader is a fool, as is anybody who votes for him in November - with the obvious exception of professional Republicans who have paid big money to turn him into a world-famous Judas goat. Nader is so desperate that he's paying homeless people to gather signatures to get him on the ballot. In Pennsylvania, the petitions he submitted contained tens of thousands of phony signatures, including Fred Flintstone, Mickey Mouse and John Kerry. A judge dumped Ralph from the ballot there, calling it "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court".

But they will keep his name on the ballot in the long-suffering Hurricane State, which is ruled by the President's younger brother, Jeb, who also wants to be the next president of the United States. In 2000, when they sent Jim Baker to Florida, I knew it was all over. In that election, 97,488 people voted for Nader in Florida, and Gore lost the state by 537 votes. You don't have to be from Texas to understand the moral of that story. It's like being out-coached in the Super Bowl. Only losers play fair, and all winners have blood on their hands.

Back in June, when John Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, we had a quick rendezvous on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet a harem of wealthy campaign contributors. I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him. His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry suggested I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.

That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead rat over a black-spike fence and on to the President's lawn. We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon - which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river. That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.

© 2004 Independent Newspapers, Ltd.


Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 06:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this article. Of course Thompson killed himself a few months after the 2004 election. He probably couldn't stand the thought of four more years with Bush.
I was in America for the first debate in 2004 and also, after it was over, thought Kerry couldn't lose- Bush was so bad. But was also worried that Kerry never really finished him off- he should have just cross the stage and stomped on him.
Mohamed Ali would have finished him off!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Oct 4th, 2007 at 01:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ...

by Keone Michaels on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 08:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A great number of Americans are too brainwashed to give a shit about anybody else except themselves.

by Keone Michaels on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 09:08:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My parents considered themselves to be refugees when they came to Canada from the US in 1969.

Last year my step-father in law died of a WWII injury. In Italy he was shot in the neck - hitting an artery. They patched him up and that was that until last year when that artery ruptured and killed him.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Oct 3rd, 2007 at 06:26:24 PM EST
very nice, heartfelt writing, keone, thanks!

constantly being on a 'war footing' has raised millions of men incapable of understanding and responding to anything but an authoritarian and hierarchical mindset.

this, as much as the shattered bodies, minds, homes and lives, has been the tragic outcome of this horrible subhuman activity.

fear and hate breed insecurity, which breeds need to control, which breeds aggression, which breeds someone else's fear...and on it goes.

stories like these do much to break the martial rhythms for a minute or two, encouraging us to re-examine the (mostly false) premises our collective prejudices build themselves on.

the only war story my shellshocked grandfather would ever tell me was the story of the xmas day truce....i can still hear the wonder in his voice as he recounted it to me.

he was awarded the MC twice in ww1, volunteered for ww2,  and was sent off to india because he whistleblew on some shady quartermaster.

i knew him as a gaunt, gentle, silent man, happiest working on his 'ship-in-a-bottle' models, while grannie ran the brigade...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 4th, 2007 at 05:16:55 AM EST
Thank you melo.

by Keone Michaels on Thu Oct 4th, 2007 at 06:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to this day, my father does not like fireworks. It is not just the bang, but the light reminds him of the "Chrismastrees" the allied bombers would set, to illuminate the night sky and mark targets.
by PeWi on Thu Oct 4th, 2007 at 05:25:34 AM EST
It must have been 69 or 70 in Madrid. You could rent a bed in the center in family hotels almost as cheap as the hostel. I ended up with a Vietnam vet who had grabbed the bed near the window. Franco's Madrid was very lively at night. Dinner was late at night after the tapas in the streets below. It was hot, plenty of TV, music and chatter.

So we talked a lot. Better, I let him talk. I wanted to know about the war. And he talked late into the night until the noise died down. He'd done two tours- or maybe three- starting before the big build-up. His story could be strange at times. Like when convoys would pay levies to the Viet Cong in the delta to pass through their checkerboard controlled territories. Or the sheer abundance of weaponry that would be wasted just for the hell of it on rat games- exterminate any rodent within a given area. His deadpan tales of platoon duty behind lines was haunting. By the time I saw Apocalypse Now or Platoon there wasn't much I hadn't heard that night.

I asked him why he hadn't gone back to Vietnam and what he was doing travelling in Europe for so long. He tipped off the night in silence or that's how his words came out. Back from his last tour late one night he shot up his parent's house. Rounds and rounds he needed the noise. He couldn't handle silence.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Oct 14th, 2007 at 06:09:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for the diary. I'm a bit choked up by it, I'm sorry I have nothing to say right now. It was deeply moving.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Oct 17th, 2007 at 04:52:58 PM EST

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