Half Truths and Prevarication

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Dachau Gate^

 

The way to control your people

Is to lie and then lie again

Make the lies so huge and colossal

That there’s no doubt that they could be pretend*

 

And then when you think you’ve got them

Half truths and prevarications extend

Be it a Dachau or Oswiecim

On people’s hopes and fears depend**

 

If you want to convince your people

Of your need to go to war

Tell them that mass destruction awaits them

In 45 minutes  – not a moment more

 

Remind the public often

They live in a democracy

Where everyone’s free and equal –

Just maybe – not as much as thee

 

Padre

 

*The Big Lie

**Doublespeak

^”Work Makes You Free” A Doublespeak

 

Such Great Names As These

With yesterday being American Independence Day, it seemed topical to use a Revolutionary War reference to respond to Jim Adams song lyric challenge to use Best/Better/Good/Great as our lyrical prompts.  The first clip below (tune only) is actually depicting the Seven Years War, but it gives a general period feel.

Most everyone in the English speaking world has probably at some time or another heard the tune The British Grenadier.  It is a marching tune with its origins in the 17th Century, and was (is) the “theme tune” of the Grenadiers or grenade throwers of the British Army.  While this is no longer an “elite” skill, the traditional Grenadier units are proud of their heritage.

The lyrics of the song probably date back to the War of Spanish Succession (1702–1713) [known as Queen Anne’s War in America]. The song makes reference to the special equipment and uniforms of these troops that distinguished them as grenadiers.

Tune Only:

 

 

Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules

Of Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these.

But of all the world’s brave heroes, there’s none that can compare.

With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers.

Those heroes of antiquity ne’er saw a cannon ball,

Or knew the force of powder to slay their foes withal.

But our brave boys do know it, and banish all their fears,

With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, for the British Grenadiers.

Whene’er we are commanded to storm the palisades,

Our leaders march with fusees, and we with hand grenades.

We throw them from the glacis, about the enemies’ ears.

With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, the British Grenadiers.

And when the siege is over, we to the town repair.

The townsmen cry, “Hurrah, boys, here comes a Grenadier!

Here come the Grenadiers, my boys, who know no doubts or fears!

Then sing tow, row, row, row, row, row, the British Grenadiers.

Then let us fill a bumper, and drink a health of those

Who carry caps and pouches, and wear the loupèd clothes.

May they and their commanders live happy all their years.

With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, for the British Grenadiers.”

 

With Lyrics:

 

Padre

On July 4th

July Fourth – symbolic Declaration Day

In ’76  – for o’er a year – war they did wage

For at least seven more – it would yet rage

Until in Paris – finally independence was agreed

But on this day – hearts still do stir

Freedom’s claim and promise to assure

And let it so be – for all in Liberty’s Land

A bright reality on which to stand

 

Padre

 

 

 

 

Who Owns History? An Open Question

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Dachau Gate: Copyright Padre’s Ramblings

I have spent over a decade conducting research on Holocaust memorials and commemorative sites.  I have seen the use and the abuse of public art, and public memorial.  I have seen homeless people camped on Ghent’s memorial, and people picnicking on monuments in London and Amsterdam.  I have also seen people brought  to tears at Auschwitz and at Yad Vashem.  Some memorials are for “good” lives lost, like the Korczak Memorial in Warsaw, but I have also seen the Meine Ehre heißt Treue mural perfectly preserved at Breendonk in Belgium.

I think the idea of history belonging to the victor might be overstated.  History belongs to everyone, but the interpretation of it is often sectarian, and even personal.  So to be clear, in light of contemporary events, I am not suggesting that there are not historic landmarks, and statues that shouldn’t be removed, but I do think they need to thoughtfully scrutinized.  Was the vandalism of the Robert Gould Shaw monument justified (whoever the perpetrator is), or the attacks on images of U. S. Grant?

Who owns history?  According to my Philosophy of History professor, so long ago, the present generation does, as they inherit and interpret in light of their own times.  If he was right, let us in this age do so thoughtfully, and deliberately, and not reduce our actions to mere emotions, no matter how justified.   If history is the possession of the victorious, then we need to be prepared for the rise of new victors, and that will bring change.  Who owns history?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Padre

A video for consideration

Read Me, If You Can

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Rosetta Stone, British Museum

Back in the days when we could freely make excursions, I went to the British Museum in London.  One of the priceless artifacts on display is the Rosetta Stone, which was used to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.   For centuries people had tried to translate the forgotten script, but this tablet which bears three different writing systems, each making the same statement was instrumental in our understanding the ancient picture system.

It seems a good photo to offer in response to Maria Antonia‘s Photography Challenge prompt: Read Me.  I am also thankful to my fellow blogger Crispina Kemp for her post which reminded me of the challenge.

Padre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Before Summer’s Untimely Fall

 

Oh rounded hill, springtime greet –

You are so unprepared for what your wooded slopes –

So soon shall meet –

For centuries, you have welcomed spring and summer’s sun –

Quiet blossoms, and shoots of green –

Seldom visited by man – a never his gun.

Hold onto the memory of this warm, sunlit day

Let it it overshadow recollection of the coming fray.

Oh Pennsylvanian hill – weep-

For the men of  Alabama and Maine,

Whose life-blood shall spill –

Leaving you never the same.

 

Padre

 

Teresa Grabs’ Daily Writing Prompt today is a painting of a peaceful springtime hillside.  It immediately reminded me of depictions of Gettysburg’s Little Round Top.  The stones, and trees are very similar to the location used in the 1993 Ronald Maxwell film, Gettysburg to shoot “Chamberlain’s Charge.”  I have added links to some other paintings of The Little Round Top, and I have let the combination of all of these images flow into this poem.

 

Painting 1

Painting 2

Painting 3