November 8, 2013

Tonight as I was ambling down the street headed toward Lala’s for dinner…

I was mulling over an article I read in the Guardian by Harry Leslie Smith (who is 90) entitled “This Year, I will wear a Poppy for The Last Time”………Brits wear Poppies on “Remembrance Day” (our Veteran’s Day)

he says: “We must remember that the historical past of this country is not like an episode of Downton Abbey where the rich are portrayed as thoughtful, benevolent masters to poor folk who need the guiding hand of the ruling classes to live a proper life.”

“I can tell you it didn’t happen that way because I was born nine years after the First World War began. I can attest that life for most people was spent in abject poverty where one laboured under brutal working conditions for little pay and lived in houses not fit to kennel a dog today. We must remember that the war was fought by the working classes who comprised 80% of Britain’s population in 1913.”

(close to a million British soldiers died in that war)

“Too many of the dead , from that horrendous war, didn’t know real freedom because they were poor and were never truly represented by their members of parliament”

“My uncle and many of my relatives died in that war and they weren’t officers or NCO’s; they were simple “Tommies”. There were like hundreds of thousands of other boys who were sent to their slaughter by a government that didn’t care to represent their citizens if they were working poor and under-educated”

I listen to BBC Radio 4 when at the gym….and as I was walking back to work…they were acknowledging “Kristallnacht”… 75 years ago …when the Nazi’s on November 9-10 1938 organized many a attack against the Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria….

they were interviewing Anita Lasker-Wallfisch …as she says:

“It didn’t seem to be a problem to be Jewish until I had my first anti-Semitic experience in the small school that I visited. I was about 8 years old and wanted to wipe the blackboard and someone said, ‘Don’t give the Jew the sponge'”

Her parents were taken away in 1942 and shot…she was 12…she was left with her sister Renate and they were both working in a paper factory ….they were sent to Aushwitz…but what saved her was they found out she played the cello…which she said they desperately needed as the Nazi leader hated the high pitch sounds of the other instruments…..her orchestral group of few…. played …. as the slave laborers left the camp …and then marched back at the end of the day through the gates of Aushwitz

she and her sister were liberated by the Brits….

She has a son Raphael who is a cellist……and a daughter Maya who is a psychotherapist…

I totally salute all of the veterans of the old too easily forgotten wars in this day of being soo pre-occupied with our smart phones…I think that is what Harry meant in his article today in the Guardian…and I seriously doubt he wants a smart phone

As I was returning from LaLa’s ….the windows of a Tatoo Parlor…on the second floor of an old brick building were open…and the song “I Will Survive”…came pealing out….

I smiled….and ambled home………………………..

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