Monday, June 07, 2004


I am having a gala time for the last few days, with the D-Day celebrations reaching their peak yesterday. There are so many interesting programs on television and so many interesting articles on the web, that I just couldn't have enough even after printing a 100 or so pages full of D-Day tales. June 6th, 1944, a very important day for the world, when the Allied invasion of Europe took place. I am particularly moved by it, because that was the first war story I ever read when I was about 12 years old, from Cornelius Ryan's splendid book "The Longest Day". At the time I was highly inspired. These things sink in much more at that age. I also watched the movie which is also very well made. After that, WW2 history became a serious pastime for me, especially after reading the epic work by William Shirer, "The Rise and fall of the Third Reich". I always believe that the history of those years should never be forgotten. I totally respect the sentiments of people who do not want to dig up old and terrible issues. However I always think that given a choice, one should be overaware, rather than underaware of these issues. Just taking a broad look at the history of conflict in the world after the war could lead us to believe that the point was not driven in forcefully enough. We have yet to learn that we must think a hundred times before killing people. As Robert McNamara says in "The Fog of War", there was a time when political and military leaders would make mistakes and learn from them. The equation obviously changed with the atomic bomb. Now, we cannot afford to make mistakes. The problem is, that prevention of atomic warfare still does not obviate "less harmful' types of conflict including "ordinary" civil war and mass genocide. Anyway, this is a very complex and paradoxical issue which demands critical thought. The point in my opinion is what I said above. We should never forget what happened. That does NOT mean that we should continue to hold responsible nations which committed those crimes. That would not make sense at all. Those were different times, when the psyche of the people was so different so as to belong to a completely alien form of thinking and living, one which does not belong to any nation or race, but rather to a particular type of human being, who really ceases to be a normal human being and is driven by a unique psychology. We merely have to keep the fact in mind. Human beings are capable of great deeds. Good and bad. Maybe, as someone said, the only true position is of the complete pacifist....


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