I have studied and taught the Holocaust for most of my professional career. Humanity’s ability to be inhumane is staggering. Events in Ukraine have once again demonstrated this. As Russian Federation troops withdraw from Kyiv, terrible discoveries are being made. Evidence of the murder of civilians, rape, and torture fill the media. While the “fog of war” still may prevent us getting an accurate view of such claims, it is clear that the present findings are not mere propaganda. Israeli Holocaust historian, Yehuda Bauer has said repeatedly that we cannot objectively compare suffering, but that there is suffering in the present conflict, there is no doubt.
I am not able to fathom the depravity being shown in the current situation. Such actions did not end at Babi Yar, My Lai, or Srebrenica, but are continuing today. Let us give our prayers and support to the victims of atrocity, and make a stand for compassion and righteousness to make sure that evil no longer reigns.
The struggle had been long and hard, but at last freedom had been achieved. Seven years of resistance had led to the withdrawal of the invaders. But now with the conflict at an end and the opportunity to relax and recuperate, Dannon could do neither. The very thought of letting his guard down, of taking a respite from his hyper-vigilance filled him with even more stress. The conflict might have abated, but struggle would live on.
Jim Adams’ challenge is to “select two songs and discuss some type of relevant association between them.” I have chosen to go with Gordon Lightfoot’s Protocol and Smith and Sinclair’s Again.
Lightfoot’s Protocol is from his 1976 Summertime Dream album which reached at Number 1 in Canada and Number 12 on the US Billboard chart. The sond goes through a list of several catagories of people who make fatal decisions, such as sea captains and generals who seek “mermaid’s tale” or victory all at too great a cost. By following “Protocol” lessons never seem to be learned and the cycle continues.
Who are these ones who would lead us now To the sound of a thousand guns Who’d storm the gates of hell itself To the tune of a single drum?
Where are the girls of the neighborhood bars Whose loves were lost at sea In the hills of France and on German soil From Saigon to Wounded Knee?
Who come from long lines of soldiers Whose duty was fulfilled In the words of a warrior’s will And protocol
Where are the boys in their coats of blue Who flew when their eyes were blind? Was God in town for the Roman games Was he there when the deals were signed?
Who are the kings in their coats of mail Who rode by the cross to die? Did they all go down into worthiness? Is it wrong for a king to cry?
And who are these ones who would have us now Whose presence is concealed Whose nature is revealed In a time bomb?
Last of all you old sea dogs Who travel after whale You’d storm the gates of hell itself For the taste of a mermaid’s tail Who come from long lines of skippers Whose duty was fulfilled In the words of a warrior’s will And protocol
Again is from Songs For The Betrayed World which reflects on and furthers awareness of the Holocaust. The song is haunting and asks key questions, and like Lightfoot’s song in a list. The song notes that “you said Dachau would never happen again . . . since then Mỹ Lai, since then [the killing fields] Kampuchea, since then ethic cleansing and paralysis.”
I could not find a printed copy of the full lyrics of the song, but a listen will clearly show the parallels with Protocol, and that we never learn from our darkest deeds.
It shouldn’t have never come to this, but sadly it was so. The soldiers of the First Brigade were having to forage for food. Worse still it was in their own land. A series of tactical setbacks had forced them to fall back beyond their own borders erasing the gains of the previous spring. How could they in good conscience take the food crops of their own children and grandmothers? Surely an occupation by the Empire could be no worse than this.
The skirmish had begun shortly after sunrise, and a tremendous battle developed through the day. Each side had moments when victory seemed assured only for reinforcements to arrive in aid of their foes. This give and take over only about a mile of land, in the end, caused both armies to withdraw as the day ebbed away. Neither general believed he had the manpower or remaining energy to pursue his withdrawing enemy.
As the sun set into the western hills, a column of cavalry of about seventy strong made its way back to its bivouac site from which two hundred had ridden that morning. Each survivor carried his own emotional and physical scars from the day’s engagement. Each wondered what the next dawn would hold in store for them.