New York City, 9/11, and its aftermath

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Narratives

by Saul Bloodworth

I can't quite follow the outrage about the fake Holocaust memoir written by Herman Rosenblat (or his ghostwriter). So yes, he fabricated the part of the story that got him the book deal in the first place, the heartwarming story about his future wife throwing apples over the fence at Buchenwald.

So, everybody who is familiar with Buchenwald must know right away that this was made up. Buchenwald was not a place were children would get apples (let alone in the winter of 1944/1945). It was a very brutal camp for political prisoners, mainly Communists, Social Democrats and Union leaders, but also priests, Jehova's Witnesses, homosexuals and POWs, mainly from Tchechoslovakia, Poland, France and the Soviet Union, and also Gipsys. More than 50.000 died of hunger, cold, typhus, forced labor, or they were shot when they try to escape.

Among the prisoners were Leon Blum, the former French chancellor, also Ernst Heilmann, the head of the Democratic party in the Prussian government, who was killed, as well as Ernst Thälmann, the head of the Communist Party of Germany. He was killed as well.

Only a few of the inmates were Jewish, except for 1945, when Jews were brought there from Auschwitz. And I doubt there were a lot of children.

http://www.buchenwald.de/index_cten.html

So, why am I not outraged? Because, in the end, Rosenblat was a victim of an attitude created by the publishing industry as well as Hollywood: Confuse fact and fiction! Pretty much most stories sold to you as "based on a true story" are fake, for the simple reason that real life does not make good stories in terms of Hollywood storytelling, i.e. the suspense and the happy ending and the good/bad-guys formula. Oddly enough, the same publishers that want fiction to be true force non-fiction writers to include narrative elements.

Of course he could have sold that story as fiction, but in this case, the publisher would not have bought it. The problem is the publishing industry, not the Rosenblats. So, lets try to untangle fiction and non-fiction and just label everything correctly. It would be a great step towards reclaiming the truth.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Whom The Shoe Shills

By Saul Bloodworth

By coincidence, the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie started the same week than the Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoes, trying to hit George W. Bush. A plot to kill Hitler is not exactly the same thing than showing contempt for the Commander in Chief. After the plot to kill Hitler failed, about 5000 people were executed. Al-Zaidi is still alive. But he is in jail, he was reportedly tortured and nobody knows what will happen to him. His only defense is the Arab Street, at this point.

The chattering classes can't get enough of it. The video is on every channel. Readers of HuffPo are calling on Americans to send their old shoes to the White House. You can replay the shoe insult, or utter an opinion about it where ever you feel like it.

So, here is the point: For eight years, not one single American has mustered enough courage to throw a shoe, or an egg, or a tomato at Bush. So, I'm not saying I would have dared if I had the chance. Probably not. I'm not pretending I'm a hero.

However, isn't this week an opportunity to shut up for a while, stop chattering, and give it some thought if you would have dared to rise your hand against a real dictator? Or, at least, against someone who does, after all, allow Americans due process (just not foreigners)? Just a little bit more modesty right now would be nice. There will be more than enough time next year to show off easy Anti-Fascism.

And while I'm at it, the Unites States is still occupying Iraq. So, if Al-Zaidi gets killed in jail, that will be an American responsibility. The Obama magic will not gloss over it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bride of Chucky

by Saul Bloodworth

Now to something completely different: What can be done about Proposition 8? What outrages me most, by the way, is that a church based in Utah can influence legislation in California. This is not how direct Democracy was supposed to work. If a Korean-based church would pour money into an anti-gay campaign, would we put up with it? Surely not.

Anyway, the damage is done, now lets think about revenge. I've given that some thought, the first idea I had was: Introduce a Proposition that outlaws the Mormon Church in California. Ok, that's probably not doable, constitution-wise. So, here is another idea: What about a Proposition that does away with their tax advantages, on the basis that the Mormons are behaving like a political group and not like a religious affiliation?

A better idea, but still, legally difficult. Then I came up with a real idea: Lets call for a Proposition that bans Mormons - and everybody else of course, for that matter — from marrying child brides younger than 14, especially for men who are already married. This is a clear-cut non-discriminating goal everybody can agree on.

Yes, I know what you are about to say: Marrying child brides is already illegal in California, and elsewhere, and the Mormons have officially banned it. So what? This is about Public Relations. Lets have a campaign, fueled by gay money, to make sure that everybody knows we are against that evil practice of marrying child brides which surely still exists among Mormons, because why else would we run a campaign against it?

For legal reasons, it would probably make sense to throw something in that constitutes new legislation, such as: Law enforcement should be obliged to check on people who are suspect of marrying child brides for religious reasons, i. e. Mormons, like, once a year. That should do it.

If the Mormons want to have an ugly public fight about sex, they can have it

Monday, December 1, 2008

Last Man to Die

by Saul Bloodworth

Well, here is an interesting story: An American soldier, André Shepherd, who was supposed to be deployed to Iraq has deserted, he is asking for political asylum in Germany. He told at a press conference: “I’ve done enough research to come to the conclusion that what is happening in Iraq is not the equivalent of World War II but outright massacre. We are not the freedom fighters we think we are.”

Shepherd went AWOl already one and a half years ago. He has lived underground with German friends since, but now he came out of the woodworks.

So, now we will see an interesting conflict unfolding: Legally, Shepherd is entitled to political asylum, since Germany regards the Iraq war as an illegal act of aggression (as do most countrys). He also has the backing of the German press. Politically, however, this puts the Merkel government in a bad spot, since everyone has hoped that the relationship with the U.S. government would improve, now that Obama is elected.

Furthermore, there is a fierce debate in Germany going on about the treatment of Wehrmacht deserters during World War II, 23.000 of which have been executed (sorry, no English information available). As of now, some of them have been rehabilitated, but not all of them. There is talk about putting up a memorial in Berlin. To extradite an American soldier in this climate would be political suicide for everyone involved.

So, lets see what happens. It goes without saying that the American press is not covering any of this.

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