Perhaps the most amazing, and depressing, thing about this collection is the freedom and breadth of the discussion — in a book published by Radio Free Europe, which was more or less the CIA.Â The contrast to the present day’s mainstream discussion is a measure of how badly the American Mind has been closed since the advent of Reagan.
The following links go to jpeg files that can be grabbed and Zoomed in on for easy reading:
Last year Minka Prolic, in whose home I stayed during wartime visits to Sarajevo, passed away.
Here then is some old journalism — Two Trips to Sarajevo — about private life in the city under siege, focused on Minka, her husband Hazim, their son Haris, and their extended family.
Comments about the stories and photos may be placed here below.
Many photos — enriched with comments from Sarajevans — may also be found on my Facebook page, in an album open to the public, whether Fbook members or no. Search there for William Ney, New York, N.Y., with education refs at CUNY Graduate School and St John’s College.
Provoked by bizarre and anti-democratic events in Michigan — Rachel Maddow (must see) with help from Amy Goodman seems to broken this story nationwide — I’ve been laboring thru William Sheridan Allen’s The Nazi Seizure of Power (1965), a conglomeration of newspaper reports, interviews and other local info that paints the rise of the Nazi party in a single German town, Northeim, during the Weimar Republic’s last years and Hitler’s first two. 1930-35.
The Social Democrats in coalition with the Catholic Center party were the ruling block of the republic and its last defenders as the global depression took root and undermined confidence.
Even so, in Northeim Nazi candidates attracted only a hundred some votes in 1930. But escalated to many thousands and 62% of votes cast by autumn 1932.
Why? It seems, in a nutshell, that the depressed life of the postwar decade left the generation of relatively educated Middle-classers then coming of age resentful of the political power of the Social Democrats — the party of less educated laborers.
Would-be Yuppies, expecting and expected to do better than their comfortable parents, in despair in hard times about getting ahead, are abruptly inspired with hope by a romantic (re German national spirit) vision of violently breaking the status quo left behind by the failed war and now preyed upon by international capital.
And yet the great enemy, as the political battle that put Hitler in power develops, is the party of the lower working class. Destroy that class’s only potent institution (the Soc Dem Party) and … and somehow things would begin to improve.
This of course resembles the new patriotic war of Tea Party governors and legislators on what’s left of America’s unions.
That Germany’s democracy itself would go as the Nazis (or the Communists, who also gathered more votes as things got worse) came to power seems to have been understood by the educated young adults who put Hitler in power.
Apparently their despair was such that it just didn’t seem important. Gilded Age cultural history re the glories of Wilhemine Germany, combined with the republic’s poor economic performance — as it tried to pick up the pieces of King Willie’s failed world war — just left Weimar with no love, it seems.
The Nazi Seizure also makes use of the voting records, which clearly show newly registered voters inspired by and flocking to the Nazi candidates in the early 30s.
This picture syncs perfectly with Albert Speer’s own extended account of how and why he joined the party in his first memoir: Inside the Third Reich.
In both books the generation gap is rather clear. Speer’s party membership was something his successful father never approved, even at the wild height of Albert’s own success. Once, Speer writes, his father agreed to attend an event with Hitler & co — but there refused to make conversation, and to shake the Fuehrer’s hand, and quickly departed.
( Speer’s mother, on the other hand, DID join the Nazi party — in secret, without telling her husband or her son, until she discovered that the latter had also secretly joined.)
Speer’s family had been wealthy during his childhood, but the hyperinflation of the early postwar years forced them to sell off the heirloom family factory and leave their high social place in the city for cheap country living.
Like his father and grandfather Albert took to architecture. But his new single-shingle practice was going nowhere as the Depression took root, and he had to get ahead before he’d be permitted to marry his sweetheart.
He begins teaching on the side, 25 years old circa 1931, and his students are the ones who persuade him to attend local Nazi meetings. Then he sees Hitler speak and immediately signs up, and years later struggles to say why, saying mostly, repeatedly, that Hitler inspired hope when no one and nothing else did.
Viewing it from our distance, it all seems so immature, and blind to the actual causes of distress — Industrialism and high finance badly out of whack in the wake of the first war. It seems the ill-advised reaction of youth — unbridled, gone off half cocked — to a bad time.
The patience of the parents if effective would have better served both Nation and society. Let alone Europe.
Argentina: U.S. Warplane Carried Unauthorized Weapons
The Obama administration is locked in a diplomatic row with Argentina over allegations a U.S. military warplane brought unauthorized cargo to the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.
The Argentine government says a U.S. Air Force jet was found to be carrying a number of items, including weapons, drugs and spying devices, without proper clearance.
The United States maintains it disclosed the items beforehand and had received approval.
Argentine cabinet chief AnĂbal FernĂˇndez said an Argentine plane carrying similar cargo to the United States would have led to the imprisonment of its crew at the military base in GuantĂˇnamo Bay, Cuba.
AnĂbal FernĂˇndez: “I want them to tell me what would have happened if an Argentinian plane with Argentinian military or armed men from the Argentinian security forces wanted to enter the U.S. with weapons, with machines to intercept communications, with numbered electronic equipment, with high-potential GPSes and all sorts of other things. They would certainly have ended up in GuantĂˇnamo, wearing orange overalls.”
The spat comes on the heels of President Obamaâ€™s announcement of his first state visit to Latin America. Obama plans to stop in El Salvador, Chile and Brazil.
Meanwhile recall the Pittsburgh G20 meeting, where a few hundred generally well behaved protesters were sprayed with tear gas and rubber bullets and the citizenry in general was then addressed with these pre-recorded robotic words:
“To Those that Remainâ€¦.
By Order of the City of Pittsburgh Chief of Police
I Hereby Declare this to be an Unlawful Assembly â€¦
I Order All those Assembled to Immediately Disperse
You must leave the immediate vicinity.
If you do not Disperse you may be Arrested and/or Subject to Other Police Actionâ€¦..”
There’s a ton of video out there re the performance of our men in black and blue. For example.
New York Police Dept has been refining anti-assembly techniques since the Tompkins Square Police Riot of the late 80s. Preemptive arrests of people identified by the intel boys as leaders is a hallmark. So entirely unconstitutional …
The American Republic is long dead. 1963 I would say marks the day. It’s only because the Bread & Circuses are still available in sufficient quantity that we as a people are so supine.
But with upcoming controls on the internet (a Circus) and recent all-time food and gas prices (eg Bread) … Well, we shall see.
And on the grander stage …
I think the Wisner Deviation in Cairo/Munich last weekend was a rare public picture of the our rather globalized shadow government in action.
It reminded me of when Paul Bremer, a dickbrain face for the Likud Lobby gang, was sent to Baghdad post Mission Accomplished and soon announced that, as King, he intended to privatize Iraq’s oil infrastructure, in accord with a plan that the LL/Neocons had concocted and briefed various Beltway powers on in 2002, well before the invasion.
Problem is — they hadn’t briefed the Oil Mafia. And had spent a good deal of 2002 trying to persuade the OM that the invasion was a good idea.
Less a day after Bremer announced this, the ex-CEO of Chevron flew halfway around the world to Baghdad, burst into Bremer’s office and told his secretary to beat it, then roared for twenty minutes or so, apparently suggesting among other things that Bremer’s life was in danger,
The Oil Mafia, you see, had no intention of letting Iraq’s considerable oil reserves pour into the world in anything like Free Market style. That oil has been repressed since our deal with the Saudis in the 70s and if it were allowed to freely flow would depress the price of oil in a big way.
Or this at least is the Oil Mafia’s position. And when Bush’s boy Bremer and the Pentagon Likud Lobbyists who made the war happen tried to change policy, the reaction was immediate — and entirely effective. Bremer withdrew his announcement forthwith.
Very like Wisner suddenly zipping out of the private sector to Cairo with a State Department brief then telling the world that Hosni should keep his seat as the White House tried to pull it away …
In any case it seems to me we have much to learn from the Egyptians, those in uniform and those of the street.
Something began spreading over the town. Mysterious fires broke out. The number of thefts doubled. A second lieutenant who’d got into the habit of lighting candles in his room in front of books expounding materialistic ideas suddenly scratched and punched his commanding officer. A lady of the highest society began beating her children at fixed intervals and insulting the poor at every opportunity. Another tried to practice free love with her husband.
“That’s impossible,” she was told.
“What do you mean,” she cried, “we’re free, aren’t we?”
We were free, indeed, but of what?
From Camus’ The Possessed, inspired by Dostoevsky’s novel about revolution and madness.
The big new background here, of course, is the utterly cynical and hopeless picture of the Pal State negotiations presented, with utter clarity, in the Wikileak diplomatic cables and, especially, the Palestine Papers.
Ed Note: See comments below to follow events into the third week of the Egyptian revolution culminating in the resignation of Mubarak and assumption of power by the so-called Supreme Council of the armed forces on February 11.
An amazing month, week and weekend.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed El Baradei this Sunday evening in Cairo took leadership of the … revolution and told the world — Washington — there will be no going back to the status quo ante.
The Egyptian demonstrations that began on January 25 were inspired by the Tunisian revolution, itself inspired by revelations in the first huge batch of Wikileaks US diplomatic cables.
The Likud Lobby is surely telling Obama that Israel and the West cannot tolerate a democracy in Egypt — a fortiori in light of the Palestine Papers and the continuing stream of Wikileaks diplomatic cables.
Quite a pickle for the American president, a man of words and little action.
But if he continues to sit on his hands and allows Mubarak to enforce a crackdown, sympathetic eruptions seem certain to occur thru out Arab lands.
Mub’s appointment of intelligence chief Sulieman as vice president on Saturday seemed a step toward Mub’s departure. But now it’s now clear.
The regular army has been supportive of the demonstrations — which is to say they have not attacked. The violence of Thursday and Friday was initiated by various secret police forces. Al Jazeera reports that the elite Presidential Guard troops number 22,000. I wonder if that’s true. And wonder where the loyalties of all these forces now lie and how they’re divided.
Ayman Nour, another top opposition leader, speaks today of negotiating with the army and other leadership figures, to form a “national unity” government to cross the interregnum to the scheduled 2011 elections. Not clear if he sees Sulieman an acceptable interim leader.
Tourism is essential to Egyptian life. The current status quo cannot go on forever. It’s clear that el Baradei is calling on Washington to pull the plug on Hosni and move forward. We shall see.
In The Plague, it’s the rats who play harbinger on both ends of the disaster.
They are the first to die in agony on the streets, filling the inwoners with wondrous dismay. And then their reappearance on the streets, going about their business, is the first sign that the pestilence itself is dying out.
So yes, If rats all over New York are suddenly behaving in a sociable manner, why, I wonder what it means.
Years ago, while living on the expanding eastern edge of Chinatown in Manhattan, I was walking home from Wall Street late at night and rats must have been busy at work because as I strode along I was thinking about the portentous rodents of THE PLAGUE …
And suddenly a rat scurried out across my path, directly beneath my foot as it fell — and screamed as his spine snapped with a crunch then bounced straight toward heaven a yard and fell dead.
Perhaps as we are told the Evil flee where none pursueth, but see here too the innocent, the poor fool, mind boggled, who in panic was just trying to get out of the way.
I still recall the crunch of his spine and his scream.
Needless to say I felt terrible, and wondered what it meant.
A friend says the Chinese view rats with great favor.
For it is said that when all the animals raced across the river, the rat with its genius won out — by riding upon the oxen’s back and then at the last moment leaping from its head to reach the bank first.
So it is that to be born in the Year of the Rat is deemed a blessing.
How good of the Chinese to honor the rat. And how interesting to hear that the rat won the race …
The whole Get A Job business always struck me as futile, a poor expense of spirit.
Friends suggest that my encounter with this favored creature yesterday means that I’ve been forgiven for crushing, in my distraction, his ancestor during the 80s on a greasy Chinatown street.
Well and good. But why as a race are they behaving so sociably?
Perhaps the season’s record snowfall — the lack of accessible garbage on the streets — has them desperate?
Or does their frank boldness bode some eruption to our state?