ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF THE ELEVENTH MONTH


IMG_3155REMEMBERING ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF THE ELEVENTH MONTH.

My siblings on our memorial trip to Ommen — the place of my sister’s birth — and where MY family survived the war years (before I was born).

The locals hold memorials at the stone to honour the fallen on the Dutch memorial day: May 4, which is the day before the official liberation day: May 5.

On Canadian Remembrance day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I remember World War II. My eldest brother is thirteen years older than me. He has some memories of war times, as well as his contemporaries – my cousins. I heard about those memories just recently. My parents did not talk about the war. Born after the war, I have no memory of it, although the war ruled my childhood and my parents, underneath it all, like ill-fitting and scratchy wool underwear: you get used to wearing it and it saves you from the cold.

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The memorial for the victims killed at the prison camp ERIKA, at the edge of the territory of the former camp, now a camping for summer and winter guests. This is the only sign of what is left of the camp, with a few boards that were salvaged from the heap of debris by members of the Ommen historical society.

 

I heard about the war in grade school; my teachers focused beyond the three Rs on the perils of discrimination and intolerance. We saw photos and films with survivors from German concentration and labor camps and from the other occupied territories, shipped into cattle railcars and brought to near-extinction in camps. The pictures showed live skeletons, people that had survived the concentration camps—people that were Jewish, homosexual, developmentally delayed, or otherwise disabled, punishable by death in the eyes of the Nazis.

We as children saw piles of items collected from the victims by the staff of the German industrial-style extermination camps: millions of bones of the exterminated, piles as high as a house. We saw piles of suitcases, and boots, and hair to be used for pillow fill, and large dugouts with the emaciated dead, ready to be set on fire. We heard all of the atrocious facts of that war.  It was a scary mystery to us children; how could this have existed?

We were shown these unimaginable things, so we would never let this ever happen again when we’d grow up and rule the world instead of our parents. We were educated, no, indoctrinated, to become tolerant and to appreciate differences in others, and learn to recognize the slightest signs of discrimination and racism. We children embodied the hope of our parents for a better future for the nation, for the world. No wonder we were the love children and despised war as adults – make love-not war!

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The entrance gate of the prison camp ERIKA, model at the Ommen regional museum.

 

A couple of years ago my eldest cousin, over 80 years old, gave me his research into the family history; it contained a piece written by my dad on the wind-up of collaborators, after his town’s liberation by the Canadian allied soldiers. This piece of history started my questioning. He must have had a hell of a time protecting the citizens from the German army officials and the prison camp boss, and do his resistance work at the same time.  The Nazis frequently shot non-compliant citizens for any small offense against the depraved Nazi regulations, or even for no offense at all, or just shoot them as hostages in retribution for resistance actions. Sometimes a person was shot in the street by way of an instant execution, just to set an example; thus the Nazis succeeded their occupation by instilling terror.  It may have been a point of consideration with the Nazi occupiers that my dad was married to a German-born woman. In any case, he stayed on duty during this stressful time and remained the police chief until the Canadian Allies liberated my country.

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The Concert Hall in Amsterdam where the Jewish citizens were collected after razzias in the city, to be transported to Poland’s extermination camps.

 

The appearance of collaboration with the Nazi occupiers served my dad well – up to a point. My Oma was friendly to the German soldiers during the occupation and identified with the Germans; most of her adult life she had been German.  She was a staunch supporter of Hitler and openly adored him; Hitler gave pride back to the defeated and orphaned German nation after World War I. Hitler to her was finally someone who dared say the things many Germans were thinking already in a depressed and devastated country: It’s all those foreigners’ fault, those Jews. Never mind that these citizens were born German (or Dutch) and had been citizens for many generations; that was conveniently forgotten.

Not only she: it turned out the whole of Europe had been at the very least covertly, and often overtly anti-Semitic; nobody stopped Hitler’s fury to kill all Jews until it was too late. “I didn’t know” was a popular phrase.

My Oma gave the war effort collectors her metals, including the antique copper wares. My dad was pissed, but what could he do? The deed was done. His wife was her daughter. He didn’t want to alienate his mother-in-law, nor his wife.

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The Sten gun used by the Illegality, dropped by the thousands by British planes. This specimen in the Ommen regional museum.

 

The last two years, I have researched the history of the occupation and found out that three years after the liberation it had become clear to the new Dutch government (from extensive investigations and trials of the most severe cases) that a good number of top civil servants had been criminally involved with the Nazis to an advanced level.

Although the cabinet and Queen had escaped to England at the time of the German invasion, the remaining deputy ministers remained in power and most willingly did what the Nazi governors told them to do. For the police, the deputy minister/state secretary of justice was the highest authority. He had instructed all policemen down the line to comply with all Nazi orders, especially those of the German head of police, SS boss Hanns Rauter. It left my dad scrambling for ways to subterfuge and avoid his superiors’ directions.

 

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My dad in full uniform before the war. His horse was requisitioned by the Nazis, as were all other horses.

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The Ommen Marechaussee brigade building, now converted to civilian homes.

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The horse stables, now converted to garages.

 

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The (former) hayloft over the stables.

 

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So this building is almost a century old, but renovated a few times, of course. It is the side entrance to the former stables.

 

After the liberation, the civil service top brass was severely judged by the Extraordinary Court, which was instated for determining the conduct of the civil service during the occupation. The death penalty (abandoned before the war) was reinstated. For my father, it was significant that his top boss, the deputy/secretary of state of the Justice Ministry, Mr. Schrieke, was sentenced to death. My father’s direct superior in his region, Commissioner Feenstra, was sentenced to death and was executed the following year.

For judging the conduct of lower ranking individual policemen, the Extraordinary Courts did not consider the commands from the leadership enough justification. As policemen they should have known better and they were sentenced for overstepping the bounds of decency. In law, no crime existed in collaboration with the enemy, so the prosecution of war criminals broke new ground with describing the new crime of collaboration with the enemy.

It was noted that immediately after the war, rather extreme court judgments were followed by quick executions (=within a year). As time went on, the Queen pardoned many convicted civil servants that had not been executed yet, and the executions stopped. Mr. Schrieke escaped his death sentence, which was commuted to life in prison.

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The Canadians are here liberating the town of Ommen! The bridge over the river Vecht was demolished, blown up by the German OT engineers, but quickly restored to functionality by the Canadian engineers.

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Summerhouse in the Ommen forest (De wolfskuil) where during the war illegals hid crashed allied pilots.

 

I dove into my dad’s personal history and researched seventy-year old criminal files, hidden away in the National Archives. I found out what had happened. During the last two years of the occupation, my dad was assigned the role of informant/spy for the Illegality (resistance) and was told to establish relationships with the Nazis and the crew of the prison camp. He pretended to like the Germans and acted with calculated duplicity on instruction of the commander of his local resistance group. He played his role very well and appeared to be a collaborator, fooling everybody in town, including his reporters.

 

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A group of Illegals in the woods.

He collected information from the local Wehrmacht commander about German troop movements and from the prison camp superintendent, a German SS boss, called Werner Schwier, and from his crew of men-hunting commandos. The prison was operated by the German Nazi police: Ordnungspolizei. In his role as police chief and trusted by the camp leadership, he was able to divert some arrested to freedom or intervene on their behalf with the camp boss, and he assisted with the illegal British weapon drops for the benefit of the area’s resistance.

 

Towards the end of the war, Dutch Nazis occupied a third of all positions in the civil service. The police force in general and the justice system was judged and found lacking. Many Dutch had actively caused the deportation of Jewish Dutch. Like so many others, my parents never wanted to tell us what happened in those years. Bury it, move on, don’t think about it was the thought of the day. That’s why Queen Wilhelmina handed down many pardons. There was no honor in survival those war years; too much had happened that nobody would understand who hadn’t been there. The words failed.

 

My dad’s brother-in-law was a Dutch Nazi, while another brother-in-law was the regional commander of the resistance group. My dad’s life must have been a balancing act, putting his whole family at even greater risk with a potential traitor in his extended family, and a wife he was not sure he could trust either.

War likely had a great impact on my parents.  It might have contributed to my dad becoming such an intolerable straight shooter after regaining his freedom to speak and act according to his true beliefs. I have never given my parents enough credit for surviving and for staying on the right side during those years. I just had no idea.

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What we call a knijpkat — sqeeze cat — a manual dynamo for a tiny flashlight (in the Ommen regional museum).

 

I am unable to push back tears when I see on TV expressions of gratitude on the faces of Dutch citizens and their children, even after 70 years. The Canadian, British, Polish and American soldiers became mythical heroes in my homeland.  Although they were never in a war themselves, these Dutch celebrate the Allied soldiers, making a point of letting their liberators know – while they are still alive – that they are very appreciated. The Dutch remember the sacrifices of those that didn’t survive. I cry for the wonderment on the faces of the very few Allied veterans left attending the Dutch tributes. I am an immigrant. I remember my Dutch trauma on the eleventh of the eleventh month.

Only after it is too late and our parents have gone do we, children, become adult enough to really see our parents, and give them due credit.

 

War did not stop after WWII. Atrocities continue and the promise of Never Again was broken. We see refugees on TV by the millions seeking a place of peace – more are now afoot than after World War II. Discrimination of people that are different, look different, believe something different, and live differently continues, and in some nations became policy.

We are all guilty when we do not stop others in their exploitation of the vulnerable, not protest loudly enough, and of thinking it is not up to us to shelter the displaced or relocate refugees. Our parents’ promise “never again” we didn’t keep. I cry for that fact, and for the imperfect world we are living in, our environment so damaged, with so many damaged people without a peaceful place to live.

The world has become a country with many survivors of wars. If we do not stand for democracy and learn from our own traumas, if we don’t become a force for good, for inclusion and neighbourly support, we face another world disaster. Non-action is not an option; bystanders become a force for bad.

On Remembrance Day and every day of the year, let’s not forget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Babyboomer, Diversity issues, elections, Global immigration, Hitler, Immigration, International politics, Kelowna event, latest news items, memoir writing, righteousness, the Netherlands, The truth, Uncategorized, victims, war and resistance, war crimes, world issues | 2 Comments

PRINTED AND DIGITAL BOOK LIVE NOW


GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL is now LIVE

Just this week I received my author copies of the new book about a fictitious family in crisis. The story is about an adoptive family and starts seven years after the adoption of the two eldest children when Shayla hits 17 and  she gets an email from a long-forgotten half-sister with the promise of connecting her to her biological father. The book is an easy read and people who read it tell me they cannot stop reading until they know how it ends.

 

2017-10-26 12.07.47The day the box arrived I almost didn’t answer my doorbell, as I wasn’t expecting the delivery yet. Luckily, I answered the door and received the box. The next day my friend Lisa (who took the photos) helped me unravel the packaging and we saw the book for the first time LIVE.

 

2017-10-26 12.08.27The cover looked just like I had imagined it. The Bookbaby designers did a good job.

I first had destined a photograph of my daughter for the cover, but the photo I submitted was not large enough–not enough pixels–so I had to find another. Unfortunately, the photographer had passed away and I was unable to ask for a larger size.

I found the new photo on Shutterstock’s website and I bought it, after having screened many photos on line. The  girl is looking forward, symbolic for the main character, 17 year-old-Shayla, who experiences  a crisis; with help of her adoptive mother and her biological father she addresses her issues. I won’t add any more spoliers here. You will have to read the book yourself.

The book is available on the website of Bookbaby.com and that is for me the best option, as the share of the sale price is largest for me with that option.

It is suitable for mature young adults and adults with an interest in adoption. One reviewer called the story “gritty” and I think she was referring to the fact that some self-harming scenes and the circumstances of  parental neglect are described in the book. The language of the novel is gentle and no profanities occur in the characters’ language.

The printed book  can be ordered on the websites and it gets printed (POD=print on order) by Bookbaby and sent off to the customer. It can be that the delivery time is a bit slow, as the print job will be initiated when a minum number of orders has been received.

The book site on Amazon might then indicate “temporarily out of stock”, but that is basically a lie, as they do not keep a large stock anywhere anyway. Just order it and you will get it at the latest within 30 days.

It is available as eBook also, on:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

eSentral

Goodreads

Kobo

Vearsa

Baker & Taylor

iBooks

Scribd

You can click on the link ORDER HERE below this sentence and it will take you to the Bookbaby site, where you can order a copy.

Order here 

I hope you like the book and if you feel up to it, I would really, really appreciate your review on any of the book’s websites that will allow you to ADD A REVIEW.

A one-line sentence is great. Not everybody is a literary critic (although I might be wrong about that).  I am looking for readers’ honest feedback, whether they liked it, or wanted to see a different ending, or found a specific character appealing, or not, or whatever comment you are willing to share with other readers.

It addition, if you could share and click on  a “like” button somewhere, on Facebook, or on this blog post, I would be very happy.

RATING

This blog post also has a rating on the top of the post and if you rate it high out of five stars, the WordPress algoritms might press it into the readers’ best category–all strategies to get the word out about this new novel.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I am grateful to my readers, and my friends who are readers, and everybody else who has been supportive, including instructors and fellow students.

Unfortunately, my main editor, Dona Sturmanis, has passed away since. She has been a force to get me to continue writing, was the ditor on my first short story collection (ON THIN ICE),  and taught me not to be shy about it. Dona, I will never forget you.

 

SPECIAL OFFERS

I will have an action in November  through READERS FAVORITE with a blog tour and am in the process of setting something up with Story Cartel as well.

Amazon will have some free copies to give away during the special introductory offer period from Nonember 15 – 20.  Order your copy now!

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Posted in adolescents, Agents, Author circles, Babyboomer, Blog Hop, book give-away, book review, Canadian publishers, Children, Children and child protection, Creative fiction, eBook, elections, Hitler, Kelowna event, latest news items, Mental health, Parenting, Publishing, shoplifting, Uncategorized, Young Adult books | Leave a comment

HOW TO HELP YOUR WRITER-FRIEND SELLL BOOKS.


HOW TO HELP YOUR WRITER-FRIEND SELL BOOKS.

Do you have a writer in your circle of friends? Very likely!

How you can assist your writer-friend with selling books?

The Amazon “predator” (the seller with the monopoly for selling anything online) has the power to make or break a writer’s new novel. As I understand it with my limited knowledge of it, the algorithms systems of the world wide web hunt for the most clicked-on titles. Amazon then suggest readers to click on my book (with their comment in searches: ‘if you like this—you also might like this), based on how many people already clicked on it and searched for it. For your writer-friend’s book to succeed, it is important for you:

  1. As soon as the book it out: Search for the book on line (Amazon or other book sites) and if your friend sent you the link already, click on the book, and order it soon after publication.

 

  1. When your friend sent you the link and asked you to forward it, you could help send the book into the big wide world and generate more interest: click on the link, copy it, past it into an email or i-message, and forward the news to your friends and family, so that your friends can click on it, and forward it to a friend….. well, you get the picture.

 

  1. When your friend asked you to write a review on Amazon, write a review. The first reviews in turn generate more clicks and possibly more orders. To do that, go to the Amazon site and search for the book in the search window with the name of the writer and the title of the book. When it appears, click on the novel. At the bottom of the novel’s Amazon page is a product content section with a box: add a review. Click on it and add a review. Save it.

You may have to register with Amazon as an Amazon user to be able to do this.

 

So, now you can do your writer-friend a favour and assist with the sale of her new novel. I thank you very much. You are the one to send the new novel off. You are the one that makes sales possible. You are the link in the chain that makes a novel a success.

 

Does your writer-friend really need your help?

 

You bet!

A lot of work and money goes into writing a novel. To rise above the terrible quality of many on-line self-published novels, a writer has to invest time and money:

  • On learning the craft, taking courses, and re-writing many drafts, while their work is being professionally edited, for a fee of course.
  • After many re-writes and edits, the wallet must open again for the cover designer and interior designer of the book. We are now already two or three years further after the start of it all.
  • If the book is not advertised, the book will just sit there and do nothing at all. Advertising is expensive. The minimal support with low costs on-line advertising by requesting reviews from readers for the costs of a free book through the publisher is also costing money by missed revenues. The writer generally has a website and/or a blog which cost money to operate and maintain on an ongoing basis.

 

So far, money goes in and not coming out. Most writers do not make money on books, only the most successful writers do. Writing is a calling, a passion, not a money-maker.

With the publisher I used, of a price point of US $9.90 for a digital novel, 50% goes to the writer. Many writers reduce their prices to generate more sales, as some writers offer their digital books on line for free—but don’t ask about the novel’s quality. For a printed book @ US $12.08 per book, I get a lot less than that percentage, more like $2 per book. I easily spent already more than $6000 in addition to the website costs, so it’s not likely I will ever break even.

 

Posted in Agents, Author circles, Blog Hop, book give-away, book review, Canadian publishers, Short story, Uncategorized, Writing life, Young Adult books | Leave a comment

SELF-HARMING IN TEENS


SELF-HARMING IN TEENS

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My new novel GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL deals with the issue of self-harm, among others.  This post delves into this issue a bit deeper, as many children nowadays deal with emotional injuries that may lead them to self-harming.

The character Shayla – one of the three protagonists – at 17 years old, is somewhat older than the group of teen girls that is most at risk for self-harming. Her general delay in maturity is explained in the novel as a result from deprivation and isolation during the first ten years of her life.

In a recent article from The Guardian (link below) self-harm is described as rising among teenage girls under the age of 17, and increased by 68% over just three years, research from the UK revealed. The study also found that self-harm among young people aged 10-19 was three times more common among girls than boys, with those who self-harmed at much greater risk of suicide than those who did not. Repeat episodes of self-harm were more common among girls.

Nav Kapur, professor of psychiatry and population health at the University of Manchester, and a co-author of the study states: “One of the big messages here is that self-harm is complex – it is about schools, it is about families, it is about health professionals and teachers all working together trying to tackle the problem.”

The study also found self-harming to be more common among children and teenagers living in deprived areas. Such youngsters were less likely to be referred to mental health services within 12 months of their first incident than those in more affluent areas. Youngsters who self-harmed were about nine times more likely to die an unnatural death than those who did not, 17 times more likely to die from suicide, and 34 times more likely to die from acute alcohol or drug poisoning.

Through scenes on TV news specials, we are very familiar in British Columbia (and throughout Canada) with the struggles of indigenous youth with self-harming and drug use, death from suicide a real risk. Yes, they are often living in deprived areas, or are deprived in other ways, possibly experienced intergenerational abuse of some kind, as many parents have a history from abuse at residential schools. The promise of our government to ensure that our First Nations will have the funds and services that are equivalent to those in the southern urban areas, is lacking grossly and is, as of yet, unfulfilled.

Children in foster care of any enthnic background are likely to have experienced deprivation in various forms. They are many more times at risk for problems with their self image and are less resilient than children living with their biological families.

Shayla is insecure about her looks, her smarts, and her friends, wondering if they even like her, and she is obsessed about her prospects with her crush, Eric. Her world collapses when her dad leaves the family and her adopted mother won’t allow her access to her biological family when her half-sister gets in touch via Facebook.

It takes some time for Bernice to realize that Shayla has mental health issues; Shayla has learned to hide it well from her mother, and mom has many other cases in her work life to deal with. Add to that the problems she has with her husband, who is straying under the pressures of a family with four children and the economic down-turn.

The article mentions that previous research has suggested a growing number of young women are experiencing mental health problems, with contributing factors including worries about appearance. The rise of social media, and online content around self-harming could also play a role, noted the team.

Shayla shoplifts to make herself feel better and to boost her appearance, and she wants to look good for Eric. She is preparing for an adult relationship and wants to discover sex. She needs to break the (over?)-protective hold of her mother over her comings and goings. She is eager to catch up to her friends, who already had sex. She becomes secretive to reach that goal.

“That is the early period of adolescence where young people are changing most rapidly [and it is] perhaps the most stressful,” said Kapur, pointing out that only half of people who present to health services as a result of self-harm get a proper assessment from a mental health professional. “The inequalities in access to specialist treatment uncovered by this research and the poor prognosis for these young people highlights the need for greater resources to help support young people and improve access to treatment,” she said.

Luckily, Shayla has a mother who is knowledgeable and who eventually discovers in a dramatic scene that her daughter does have some emotional difficulties that she needs help with. Also luckily, the family lives in an urban centre, where mental health children’s services are available, although the existing wait lists are a problem. Shayla is expected to catch up over time as she is dealing with her emotional issues with the help of a mental health professional and the support of her family, especially her adoptive mother, a social worker, and her recovered biological dad.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/oct/18/self-harm-girls-aged-13-to-16-rose-68pc-three-years?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=248567&subid=22130379&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

 

Posted in adolescents, alcohol abuse, book review, Children and child protection, Diversity issues, drug use., Mental health, Parenting, sexual politics, shoplifting, Uncategorized, war on drugs, Young Adult books | Leave a comment

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL


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Kelowna, British Columbia

Local author writes book about teens and adoption.

Kelowna resident Johanna Van Zanten released GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL, a novel for adults and teens about a fictional family with adopted children whose difficulties threaten to tear them apart.

Johanna started writing later in life. “I’ve always wanted to write a book,” Ms. Van Zanten said. As a social worker in various areas of the human services field throughout her career, she just started writing short stories first, and published On Thin Ice in 2012 (a short story collection) with help from a local business, The Word Is Out Writing Services: with Dona Sturmanis – deceased – and editing partner Rand Zacharias, who both were also involved in the new novel GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL.

She took courses in the UBC creative writing programs with local author Laisha Rosnau, and on line with UBC professors Annabel Lyon and Nancy Lee.

Johanna had some success with her short stories: Fort Good Hope about her first trip to Canada was published in the MTLS (2011), short-listed for the Okanagan Short Story contest. Another story, Without A Home, made honorary mention in the contest for new writers in Glimmer Train (2012), a story made the short list in a CBC contest, and Birth of a Book was published journal Sage-ing (Okanagan Institute) and included in the anthology Creative Aging 2015.

Her blog is www.babyboomerwrites.wordpress.com.

 

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL – a fictional story – starts seven years after adoption, when the biological dad of the two adopted girls tries to get in touch and seventeen-year-old Shayla hits a wall.  KIRKUS Reviews writes about the book: “An often emotionally insightful portrait of family life.”

The Kirkus full review can be read on the Kirkus book page Kirkus page  (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/johanna-van-zanten/guardians-betrayal/)

 

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL is available as a printed book with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, with a delivery time of 7 – 11 days and is available as an eBook with Amazon Kindle Select, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, GB, Scribd, Copia, Sentra.

The price for an eBook is CAD $9.99 and US $4.99, which is no fair exchange rate, and seems to me disproportionately expensive for Canadians. The price of CAD 6.50 would be closer to equivalent value.    I wonder if Trump also slapped a 300% tariff on intellectual goods from Canada…

I am trying to set up a three-week special for people to download on line the book for a reduced rate of US $1.99 or for a review with Readers Review and Story Cartel and Goodreads. Let me know if you are interested and if it worked through these sites.

You can download a book at the Amazon link below.

Amazon site of Guardians’ Betrayal

 

 

 

Posted in adolescents, Author circles, Blog Hop, book give-away, book review, Canadian publishers, Creative fiction, E Books, eBook, Mental health, Parenting, shoplifting, Uncategorized, women's issues; torture of women, Young Adult books | 2 Comments

There Be Monsters


THERE BE MONSTERS

 

I am posting an article (with her permission from another site, passagesnorth.com),  of a writer whose grandparents were residents of Lithuania during World War II. Like me, she became curious about her family’s past and their conduct during this difficult time and started digging. She came up with facts that turned out not at all what she had been told, and the details of the stories of her grandparents were kept a secret from her, until she had the courage to go there and find out for herself.

 

READ MORE:

 

http://passagesnorth.com/issue-38/there-be-monsters-by-julija-sukys/

There Be Monsters by Julija Šukys

—“The story of this trip begins with a map, which is to say the story of this trip begins with a need.”  W. Scott Olsen

Posted in Babyboomer, Children, Diversity issues, EU, Global immigration, Hitler, Immigration, International politics, memoir writing, The truth, Uncategorized, victims, war and resistance, war crimes, world issues | Leave a comment

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL


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Photo credit: Vladimir Velociraptor Vukmirovich

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL.

My next book is about ready for publishing and in the next month Bookbaby will produce, design it, and publish digital and printed versions. It is generally recommended to put a manuscript aside and forget about the novel, so when going back to it with fresh eyes, the last draft might become a better product. I put it aside for a year and a half, to write my third novel, which is now waiting for a professional editor.

It’s generally recommended to put a manuscript aside and forget about the novel when you think it is finished, so when going back to it with fresh eyes, another draft might lead to a better product. I put it aside for a year and a half, to write my third novel, which is now waiting for a professional editor will work on soon. In the meantime, I reviewed and re-wrote my second novel: Guardians’ Betrayal. This novel is meant as an addition to the scant material available for prospective adoptive parents.  The novel is written from the point of view of the three main protagonists in the story, the so-called Roshomon Perspective. No one character has the truth in this story, and the reader decides what version of the events are closest to the truth, as they read it.

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL  is meant as an addition to the scant materials available to prospective adoptive parents beyond the often-dry, scientific excerpts of books on the attachment theory that social workers in the adoption field provide to prospective adoptive families.

GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL is written from the point of view of the three main protagonists in the story, the so-called Roshomon Perspective. No one of these three characters holds the truth. The readers decide what version of the events depicted in this novel is closest to the truth, as they interpret it. An individual reader brings their own life experiences to the act of reading and takes away – from any novel – that what fits into their perspective.

Inspiration. I was inspired by foster parents that I observed in real life who opened their homes and hearts to someone else’s abandoned children and carried on as if this was the completely normal thing to do. Their hard work deserves attention and the joy of the children that were allowed to be kids, and then become whole, should be an inspiration to other parents.

Some time ago, I answered questions about GUARDIANS’ BETRAYAL for a blog-hop event. Knowing what the story is about may generate more interest, so I am repeating the information here.

  • Genre: The genre is literary fiction, but it could fit the genres of contemporary fiction, romance, and perhaps even Young Adult. I have some hesitation calling it YA, as the sex scenes might not pass the official category YA. I am including it anyway, as I believe that kids over 18 have already a lot of sex and this novel could help to mature YA readers. Developmentally, it is appropriate to be interested in sex at that age. I would not mind getting readers’ feedback on my ideas of the classification YA.
  • Goal. I wrote the novel to raise awareness of the difficulties that adolescents might experience. Don’t be fooled by what on the outside looks like a completely normal family, and don’t assume normal is all that’s going on behind closed doors. The novel might wake up parents, who assume the kids are alright. While making money and pursuing our own goals as parents, we are all too busy to pay attention to our children. The teen in your home might experience tremendous alienation from her parent growing up in isolation, in emotional pain, and see no other way out than turning against herself. In the novel, that led to Shayla’s cutting, shoplifting, drug and alcohol use, and seeking peer approval through sex.
  • Actors I envision for the characters. As actors for the main roles I would select the following: For sensitive and troubled 17-year-old Shayla, I would select Saoirse Ronan, who played Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones. I could see Ellen Pompeo in the role of Shayla’s mother, Bernice – the hard working social worker who adopted Shayla and her sister. Bernice is nice and easy going; her unfaithful husband, Tom, is perfect for actor John Cusack, while the part of his love interest, the young and charming Marla, should be given to Amanda Seyfried. Shaya’s long lost biological father, the mysterious and handsome Gabriel, should be played by Johnny Depp. These are the four main characters in the novel.

 

  • One sentence synopsis of GUARDIAN’S BETRAYAL: Shayla’s birth-dad shows up around graduation time – seven years after her adoption – which happens to coincide with her adoptive father starting an extramarital affair and his abandonment of the family, and marriage breakdown, which leads, in turn, to Shayla’s breakdown.

 

  • Publisher. This novel will be self-published as an E book and in print, using Bookbaby.

 

  • How long it took to write: about a year and a half from when the idea first came to me (writing on Sundays mainly) to submitting the first draft to my editor, and another year to work through edits. Then, I took it up this April this year again and rewrote the draft, now completed.

 

  • Other books compare to my new novel only to some extent, as each has their own story beyond the subtext of neglect and how a child heals as she becomes an adult: The Glass Castle (Jeanette Walls), The Girl in the Mirror (Cathy Glass), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).
  • Reviews: If you are interested in reading this novel and providing your review, please, respond on this WordPress website or on my Goodreads page so I can send you a free copy.

I would like you to rate this post at the top of the page. Thank you.

If you found this interesting, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, or recommend on your own site.

Your comments are very welcome.

 

Posted in adolescents, Agents, Author circles, Blog Hop, book review, Canadian publishers, Children and child protection, Creative fiction, drug use., latest news items, Mental health, Parenting, Publishing, shoplifting, The truth, Uncategorized, Young Adult books | Leave a comment

IN MY STRATA, THE SMOKERS HAVE IT.


cigarette-1642232_640.jpg

IN MY STRATA THE SMOKERS HAVE IT.

 

At last night’s AGM, the last item on the agenda was a proposal for a bylaw to restrict smoking. The current restriction established by BC Health – already in place – states no smoking allowed within 6 meters of air intakes, entrance doors and windows. The proposed bylaw formulated by  Strata Council means that smoking would not be permitted in all common and limited common areas. Implicitly, this means that smoking would be allowed strictly inside the strata units.

As a frequent filer of complaints on second hand smoke, I earned the right to second the motion. Doesn’t that sentence sound like a song?

 

You might think that would be a reasonable bylaw and would pass. You’d be wrong.

But alas, the need for addicted people in our strata complex of town houses to keep smoking inside and outside their unit, and in the breezeways, and on their balconies (right beside non-smokers) is strong. That is a fact, well known of addicted people. Pretty soon the smoking is going to be expanded to include the much more pungent fragrance of marijuana –  to be legalized next year – in my unit already a recurring event when my neighbour start smoking it after she gets up around 11 am.

However, what surprised me is their inordinate level of feeling entitled to live out their addiction without thought for neighbours. That was last night utterly self-evident, although it was clearly not evident to the smokers themselves, who spoke with certainty and self confidence, of rights.

 

Four people spoke publicly against the motion and praised the advantages for the complex, for future purchasers, and for the price of the units when smoking is allowed.

They brought arguments to the floor in their defence of smoking, such as:

– when they bought the unit, smoking was allowed; it wouldn’t be fair to stop that now and they had the right to continue smoking,

– others said they didn’t smoke, but wanted their visitors to be able to smoke on their deck.

– another commented he had tried to stop smoking for 40 years and failed and would ignore the bylaw.

– a bylaw to restrict smoking might make it harder to sell units in the future.

– the bylaw was proposed for 20 years and failed each time, so why not give up trying.

– the deck was private property and nobody can restrict what an owner does there.

 

Remarkably, no health issues were within sight of these speakers, or the fact that through your doctor one can get smoking cessation medication for free.

And really, what does it take to ask your smoking visitor to step outside and walk the ten steps to the parking lot, or across the street? Are people that hesitant to confront visitors–friends and relatives–who surely would respect your wish to stay in a healthy environment? But, no – misery wants company.

Changes in a complex are necessary over time and indicate that a council is doing their job in taking care of the complex. If the roof construction turns out to be faulty, surely owners would agree that changes are needed to prevent future leaks. So why are changes rejected to improve the air quality and prevent others from polluted air, easily fixed by a single bylaw? Wouldn’t that make sense to a rational person?

 

And therein lies the rub. Smokers are not rational people. They are addicted and have multiple irrational arguments why to keep on smoking.

Not only that, they want to also control their immediate future and won’t allow rational arguments brought up by others to restrict their freedom to smoke wherever and whenever they want.

The secret they won’t face is: they know it’s unhealthy and kills them, and they don’t want to smoke inside their own home, hoping it will help save them. This is magical thinking: like a one-year-old, who covers their face and thinks you are gone from the room. Smokers think if they smoke outside, it won’t kill them.

Another thought they might have: if their home smells clean, their lungs might be clean too. That is a fallacy. Dear smoker: due to your reduced capacity to smell, you might not know that your house smells, as well as you; it’s in your hair, in your breath, on your hands, in your clothing. Don’t delude yourselves. Non-smokers notice it immediately: you smell bad.

 

In spite of what people might think, decks are (limited) common property, made available by the developer for the owner’s use, but it is still common property and must be maintained and repaired by the strata corporation.

In reality, a bylaw is not needed to restrict what happens in common areas, because a new Rule can cover those. It is only out of courtesy, expediency and efficiency that a council tries to pass a bylaw about smoking on common areas, instead of a rule that only needs a majority vote to carry, and not 3/4 of the membership at the AGM. Limited common areas are more tricky – the decks.

 

Last night, after the speakers finished with singing the praises of continuing the status quo on smoking, I owed it to myself to speak up as a fresh-air advocate and defender of my rights of a healthy environment in my own home.

I went with my personal experiences, and didn’t bring up the rational arguments, as the smoking crowd seemed to be lacking any capacity of following an objective fact to its logical end.

As well, the chair and the strata manager already had refuted some of the irrational arguments with an explanation of the facts.

 

I explained how my life was no longer feasible in the strata complex and that I was leaving to live elsewhere, simply due to smoke in my home, from people that want to smoke and pollute my environment.  I corrected myself and said that well, maybe they don’t want to smoke, as I assume that nobody really wants to smoke, but they are addicted.  I would say get treatment, it is available, and get healthy; addiction is no excuse to continue to make it intolerable for others to live here.

The rest of what I said:

“I live in a block of eight units on my breezeway and owners of six of them smoke. Their smoke enters my home through the leaky walls, through the fresh air furnace intake, through the dryer and stove hood exhausts, the bathroom exhaust and from the outside onto my balcony, and I can’t have open windows. I have smoke in my house regardless if it’s a hot or a cold day. Smoke is distributed throughout my unit by the furnace and A/C systems. I want to say to the smokers that it is the reason that I am moving.

I had a sitter last week to look after my cat. She had three asthma attacks, because of the smoke while living in my home for a week. She doesn’t have attacks unless triggered by something, like smoke.

One last thing, if you think your unit or the complex is less desirable because of a smoking restriction, you are sadly mistaken.”

 

The vote was taken and although the tally was getting closer over the years, the smokers have it: 28 against, 24 for.

 

What didn’t get explained at the AGM and what I leave to the strata council chair and the strata manager to explain to the owners, is that new developments are taking place in the courts.

It is now accepted in court that Strata corporations are liable to a certain extent for the consequences of second hand smoke (SHS). The Human Rights Tribunal and a BC Supreme Court judges’ last year’s verdicts on the same subject has taken on new significance. Strata owners (complainants) applied to the courts for recourse to end what they say is a serious ongoing threat to their health and to their enjoyment of their own units that is being caused by the cigarette smoke. (This  complaint  I frequently have made to my strata council as well.)

To that end the complainants sought,  in addition to a declaration that others were violating the nuisance bylaw, an order enforcing it that prohibits the neighbours from smoking in and about their own unit and on any portion of the common property that is likely to result in smoke going into the other units.

 

In their verdicts, the judges in both cases pointed out that the strata council had not done due diligence to address the issues after numerous complaints. Council had assumed it had done all they could, in view of the lack of a smoking bylaw in place – which had been voted down at the AGM. They had not enforced compliance from the smoking strata owner under the Use Of The Unit bylaw (nuisance bylaw), which is always available to any strata council:

No owner is allowed to use their unit in such a way that causes a nuisance to others.

 

Remedies could be:

  • Fines,
  • payment for remedies that might stop the smoke from contaminating the neighbour’s unit.

Where council lacked in action:

  • council members had not visited the unit to investigate first hand how bad the problem really was,
  • council had chalked up the complaining resident as a frequent complainer without cause, and was just a difficult person,
  • council had not held a hearing with the ill resident to investigate the complaint or kept track of the complaints. The owners have a right to be heard by council.

 

Council must apply a system of remedies to avoid the finding by a court against them; they were found responsible for increased health problems and decreased enjoyment of living by strata owners/complainants, due to lack of appropriate actions in dealing with the complaints.

 

Cases:

BC Supreme Court:

 

Chorney v. The Owners, Strata Plan VIS770, 2011 BCSC 1811

 

BC Human Rights Tribunal:

McDaniel and McDaniel v. Strata Plan LMS 1657 (No. 2), 2012 BCHRT 167 and Chorney v. Strata Plan VIS 770, 2011 BCSC 1811

 

My complex contains many elderly people that look twenty years older than their age, due to their smoking and concomitant health problems. The three buildings of the complex, built 30 years ago, are elderly as well, and have outdated HVAC systems. Many dollars are needed to upgrade it, but that’s not in the picture. Other maintenance issues are already a burden that requires a future increase in strata fees. Maybe the smoking elderly identify with that situation of nearing the end of life expectancy; we keep smoking as it’s impossible to do something about it.

As the complex is built on leased land by a local development company consisting of a number of business investors, the purchase price is lower than comparable buildings: the price of the land is added in a monthly fee as a lease payment, which made the units about $100,00 cheaper than other, similar units for an average 2-bedroom unit.

This lower unit price seems to have the side effect of attracting more smokers – education and income levels are correlated. With higher education, the likelihood that a person smokes goes down.

Last year I decided I was waging a losing battle trying to convert the general attitudes of the smokers here who seem to be in the majority. The rights of non-smokers are squashed and not adequately defended by successive councils.

I cannot out-wait the smoking elderly – not a spring chicken myself.  I bought into a newly built complex that has LEED (environmentally responsible) designation, with each unit its own HVAC system that doesn’t interfere with other’s habits. One more year, and I will have left the pollution in my home behind. I can’t wait! BUYER BEWARE.

If you really want to know which complex I am talking about, I could reply that it’s probably any older unit this all applies to, but send me a reaction and I will tell you.

References:  Lesperance Mendes advises strata corporations and property managers on matters such as bylaw drafting, bylaw enforcement and collections. For more information about our strata law practice, contact Paul G. Mendes at 604-685-4894 or by email at pgm@lmlaw.ca.

Posted in apartment and condo living; smoking, architecture, Babyboomer, Dealing with aging and dating, drug use., Exercise; old age; aging gracefully; yoga practice ; wholesome life, Green living, Kelowna event, latest news items, Mental health, Retirement, Smoking, Strata Living, Uncategorized, war on drugs | Leave a comment

ARE THE DUTCH BECOMING COLOUR SENSITIVE?


ARE THE DUTCH BECOMING MORE COLOUR SENSITIVE?

This is a post about the international links of the Netherlands and its jerk towards the right of the political spectrum, with uncharacteristic, overt racism expressed freely in the national discourse.

WHOSE COUNTRY IS IT ANYWAY?

When I left the country in 1982, openly racist attitudes were not tolerated among the general population in The Netherlands, with the history fresh on our mind that saw the Dutch Jewish population decimated–more so than in other Nazi-occupied nations–without much resistance from the general population, and in certain areas with the extensive police collaboration with the Nazi Security SD agents raiding and arresting the Jewish-Dutch at their homes.

Since my departure, I observed the tolerant and open society of the Dutch changing at my regular visits to my home country. The Netherlands has reached a higher density of immigrants and migrants–especially from North-African regions–in certain areas. Although the percentage is much lower than assumed, the feeling among many Dutch is that a saturation point is reached.

Dutchnews.nl: Dutch overestimate size of the Netherlands’ Muslim population.

“The average Dutch estimate is that 19% of the population of the Netherlands is Muslim, but the real figure is 6%. These Dutch also expect the Muslim population to grow to 26% by 2020, while official estimates say Muslims will make up 6.9% of the Netherlands’ population by then. In comparison, the widest gap between perception and fact was in France, where the average estimate of the size of the Muslim population was 31%. In reality, the actual Muslim population stood at 7.5%, according to figures from the Pew Research Centre.”

Counter-intuitively, the areas with the highest levels of white supremacist attitudes are not the regions with the highest density of non-white residents. On the contrary, those attitudes are found overwhelmingly in the white enclaves of smaller villages, especially in the south and north of the country, and areas around the IJsselmeer. In the large cities with more diverse populations, more integration led to more harmony and realistic expectations.

Let’s be clear. Racism is not new to the Dutch. Historically, Europeans escaped to Holland when persecuted for their religious beliefs in their home country: Jewish and Huguenots from Spain and Portugal  during the Inquisition, German Amish and Mennonites on their way to the US, etc. In more recent waves of immigration, the white Dutch population slowly got used to the residents of former Asian and Caribbean colonies mixing in amongst the Dutch, with excesses of actual discrimination always a factor in that adjustment period.

When I still lived in the Netherlands, cops stopped our black employee from the former colony of Surinam more often. The stats indicate non-whites are arrested more often for an offence that a white Dutch might get off on, or for no offence at all. Everybody knows what systemic racism looks like—non-whites overrepresented in jails, earning lower incomes, harder for them to land a job, a rental more often refused, services refused on a whim, etc. etc.

The migrants are generally not earning the highest incomes, so often they end up in the low rent areas of the larger cities, with the side effect that some identity can be maintained among people of the same ethnic group. When different-looking residents moved into an area, the white Dutch then generally moved out.                                                                                             It’s a real phenomenon in this dynamic that the whites (that don’t want to mix) will not integrate, even if the new settlers (migrants, or  allochtones) are integrating in the Dutch neighbourhood. The intolerant, white Dutch (autochtones) moved to another, all-white neighbourhood, further away from the older city centres, and into the suburbs, while those that are more open to integration stay. Those autochtones that moved away are able to maintain the myth that they live in a mostly white, Dutch society: out of sight, out of mind.

Until a critical mass of migrants is reached in a certain area or town (or the autochtone Dutch  think it is reached), or until they have to move more than once, to avoid the “different” new residents. There is a Dutch saying a jar only lasts in water until it bursts: “de kruik gaat zolang te water tot ze barst”, meaning that only a certain amount of stress, or risk, can be tolerated.

If you think you have to move once, because a Moroccan moved in next to you, or a Somalian refugee, you might accept that. But if you “have” to move again, and again, you are going to be resentful of those that you think “caused” your move, and you are going to be angry. Once an individual, white Dutch (autochtone) reached that point, all of a sudden, the Dutch landscape seems to have too many migrants; never mind that the real issue is, the migrants are integrating and making a life for themselves in the Dutch society, and yes, they do so change the landscape of Dutch society. Then that Dutch person can no longer maintain the myth of living in a white society, or maintain the myth of their own tolerance for other ethnicities.

Some of those autochtone (white) Dutch are vocally resisting the integration of migrants, and are holding on to some sort of birthright–being born white in the Netherlands–that they think should guarantee the country will remain unchanged. Geert Wilders, the fascist politician of the Freedom Party appeals to that sentiment.

Familiar comments are heard in the US, as well as in the UK and the Netherlands about migrants:

  • We are losing our country as it was. Our culture is disappearing.
  • The Muslims are taking over. We are muslimized.
  • The new migrants are changing our laws.
  • They are making demands.
  • They get more financial support, while we don’t get the same.
  • They are taking our jobs. Etc.

Prior to the Dutch federal elections, I listened to Geert Wilders on U-tube and I heard many Dutch state in street interviews they would vote for him. I heard him preach in the US at fascist meetings as well. My blood started to boil. I recognize the fear from what I also hear in Canada among the fearful–that whites are losing their cultural heritage and monopoly, and soon might have to change themselves too, if they want to keep up with the nation’s developments. Imagine that! Change! I say that in a  truly democratic nation: No citizen should have more rights than another.

From Vox.com. Updated by Sarah Wildman  Mar 15, 2017, 4:50pm EDT the following excerpt summary of Wilders’ activities in the US, with links to the references in that article.

In April 2015, he was invited by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King to address the Conservative Opportunity Society, a coalition of right-wing politicians in the US House of Representatives. “There is no moderate Islam. Islam has changed Europe beyond recognition,” Wilders told the audience. “Our duty is clear: In order to solve the problem, we have to stop mass immigration to the West from Islamic countries.”

This past summer, he was invited to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. As my colleague Zack Beauchamp wrote at the time, Wilders spoke at a party hosted by internet instigator Milo Yiannopoulos. “I hope that Donald J. Trump wins the election,” Wilders told the crowd. “There is only one Islam, and that Islam has no place in a free society. … We should de-Islamize our societies. It’s a matter of our existence.”

It’s not just ideas that are flowing between the Netherlands and the US, but money. The Dutch press began reporting in 2014 that far right activist David Horowitz of Freedom Center had donated to Wilders in 2012 and 2014. Daniel Pipes, who runs an ultra-conservative organization called the Middle East Forum, has helped support his legal fees. 

Last week, the New York Times reported that funding was far more extensive. Horowitz gave Wilders nearly $150,000 over two years. In an interview with the Times, Horowitz described Wilders as “the Paul Revere of Europe.”

THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

We live in a world with large differences between poor countries and rich countries. The world is a changing place and borders have become permeable and international travel became easier, at least in Europe. Politicians’ calls to close the borders, to stop migrants from coming in, are readily absorbed and parroted.

In the meantime, the global corporations are buying into public-funded services, moving production of industries offshore to areas with the lowest labour costs, laying off even more workers in higher paid areas, and the implementation of automation.

Rightist governments in those rich nations are trying to bust the unions and force lower wages, privatize public programs, like education, national security and the military, and allowing corporations (and banks) high incomes from raising interest fees and allowing tax breaks and putting large sums into their own shareholders’ pockets. The lower income and the middle class pay the bill; this is a global trend. An underclass of labourers from abroad are (often illegally) doing the dirtiest jobs. Corruption would be the correct word for this, but the electorate might not see it that way.

I would advocate that citizens everywhere pay more attention to their governments, instead of to their neighbour. If they understood what really is going on within their country’s politics and how it relates to the industrial world, I suspect the issue of race and ethnicity (and its cousin, religion) would quickly disappear.

Trump understands that very well in the USA (and Wilders in The Netherlands). He, the master of smoke and mirrors, magically raised hate to unseen levels by blaming those “others” for the country’s lay-offs and economic decline for the lower and middle class. His message for whites allows them to express what they really think: get those blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, or brown people out of my backyard.

Anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-Mexican, in short anti-other, is raised to such levels that the world shakes. Trump and Geert Wilders both play the game of divide and conquer. Both lie and manipulate. OK, I am not a psychiatrist and cannot confirm their mental illness diagnosis, so bite me! We all see there is something seriously wrong with the picture of leaders seeking mass adulation at all cost.

 NATO POWERS AND THE UN—LESSONS FROM WORLD WAR II

In history, a small number of overwhelmingly white countries economically exploited the rest of the world, causing poverty, civil strife, and human disasters.  Traditionally, rich countries have sent weapons to the poor nations that they have an economic interest in, causing those nations to end up even deeper in debt. Weapons are used to suppress rebel resistance to maintain the status quo, or gain more advantages, for exploitation and to exert influence. In my view, these rich, former colonial powers have a responsibility to assist these poor nations and help solve the civil strive, not to establish a new government that will let them continue to exploit that country for their own profits. The responsible thing to do is to forgive the poor nations’ debts to the IMF, in exchange for the civil strive to end and to restore peace, while utilizing the international bodies, established for that purpose after World War II, like the UN and NATO.

However, that is not happening. Instead, the global corporations try to keep a finger in the pie, just so they can extract more resources, and harness the (increasingly rightist) governments in the rich nations to reach that goal. The best example is the USA:  Trump and his cronies caused a coup by appealing to the lowest and basest of all sentiments: Racism and white supremacism and won the election, with (suspected)  interference from Russia to discredit the Democratic candidate.  Representatives of global corporations have now infiltrated the US government and run it–of course all members within the conservative Republican party and its fascist sub groups.

When powerful nations do not acknowledge their responsibility for international collaboration, like Trump, (yes, and Russia) and willy-nilly bomb other nations-in-trouble on an impulse (Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria), our world is increasingly unsafe. NATO was not even consulted; Trump declared it obsolete.                                                                                     We cannot expect that developing nations sit on their hands and watch the usual suspects rape and pillage the world some more. China and North-Korea are excellent examples of nations that are going rise to the challenge of an aggressive, self-serving US.

 THE FUTURE OF THE NETHERLANDS 

I am happy that the Dutch didn’t fall (yet) into the trap of the Americans and didn’t give Wilders more votes. Well Done!  In spite of that, the writing is on the wall that the pressure from the fascists have not ended with the election. The Dutch rightist party that won the most votes campaigned on the slogan: Do normal, or leave. That sounds to me that intolerance for everything “different” than the white Dutch identity, is already fact and acceptable.  Harking back to a time in the past, when a homogenous, all-white population existed, will create more problems.

Instead, moving forward is needed, with true acceptance of the new Dutch, and the development of a new identity as a diverse nation of Dutch is essential.  To reach that new identity, extensive education is warranted for both newcomers and Autochtone Dutch to convince the Dutch that all citizens are needed and valuable and to set down what those parameters within the Dutch laws are. That must be the message, not the threat of punishment as consequence of not standing up to “normal”, whatever that is.

Netherlands: Beware for the move to the right. Yes, the US was a friend and liberated us from Hitler, but those days are over. It wasn’t only Americans that rescued us; a number of other Allied joined the war: Canadians played an important part, the British, Polish, Russians. Now that the US is turning into a force for bad, not for good, consider the Dutch moral debt to the USA over and its life expired. Misogyny, racism and exploitation of the weak has become the norm for the USA government. Especially in a changing world under the threat of the EU falling apart, and a conservative jerk into isolationism (which allowed World War II to break out), it would be wise for the Dutch to stay on the good side: True democracy and equality for all its citizens.

Europe, you were my light, a shining example of what cooperation and rational negotiations could do to a diverse continent with a history of strive and wars, your wide-open borders a balm for the soul. Netherlands, you were my pride with your leadership in tolerance and acceptance.

As an observer, I would suggest to my fellow Dutch: Look at the facts, educate yourself, and then choose where your loyalty should be.

Please, would you rate this post? I encourage reactions in the comments section.

Posted in Diversity issues, elections, EU, Global immigration, Hitler, Immigration, International politics, latest news items, religion, the Netherlands, The truth, Trump, Uncategorized, war and resistance, women's issues; torture of women, world issues | Leave a comment

TRUMP IS LIKE HITLER IN HOW HE GOT THE COUNTRY IN OVER ITS HEAD.


TRUMP IS LIKE HITLER IN HOW HE GOT THE COUNTRY IN OVER ITS HEAD

Trump’s election has a lot of people very worried, with good reason. History repeats itself for those who will not learn from it.

Hitler’s actions up were not all that alarming, until he got the majority of the German electorate behind his policies. After all, he got there legitimately. Only in hindsight seemed his actions to have unavoidably lead to the mass extinction of the victims of this white supremacist, xenophobic dictator and the devastating extermination of the Jewish in concentration camps and the gas chambers. (Sean Spicer: not called holocaust centres).

Except to his targets–the Jewish Germans–who knew very well by the day that his chancellorship started in February 1933 that their lives were in danger.
Many couldn’t believe that he would do what he had said he’d do; only the smart ones left the country then, which wasn’t all that easy to do.
In those days of economic depression and political turmoil, an exit permit and immigration approvals from other nations were hard to come by. Borders were not as permeable as they currently are in the modern European Community. Many European countries closed their borders for refugees.
The composer Kurt Weil left the country early, and Hannah Arendt, the strong feminist philosopher of fame (who wrote her controversial book about the trial of Albert Eichmann in Jerusalem)—examples of those who saw the writing on the wall.

Hitler promised his supporters economic prosperity, reminding the Germans of their history, when the once-great German Emporium under the Habsburg dynasty ruled the Western world. He was going to make Germany great again, making sure that all Germans would get a share in the wealth. He was a nationalist: Germany first–then the rest of the world. He was a socialist–all Germans would share in the nation’s wealth.

The socialist varnish soon disappeared when he started blaming the communists and the Jews for the troubles in Germany, calling them disloyal and a danger to the unity of the nation, thus marking the targets for his followers’ distrust and anger. The disappointment with the disastrous results of the previous, lost war, only fifteen years prior, and its humiliating defeat fresh in everybody’s mind, they were sensitive to future losses. The Germans in 1933 desperately needed a win.

Like the new USA president-elect Trump said he would do, Hitler started a massive infrastructure program. With shared private-public funding of mass projects, Hitler indeed managed to give the economy a jolt. Things improved economically for the Germans, and poverty disappeared.

Hitler appointed a master of indoctrination and propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who further administered the poison pill to the German Volk, to great effect as we all know.
Hitler collected loyal followers around him to govern who would blindly follow his orders and instated the laws, needed to advance Hitler’s agenda.

The masses were no problem. They were already inspired by Hitler’s pride-inciting speeches, delivered in rambled rants and raves that just hit the spot with listeners to raise their blind admiration.
When he was sure he could get away with it, Hitler disbanded the German parliament, effectively making his Germany a dictatorship.

One would think that citizens would protest, and that indeed happened to an extent, but only coming from the intelligentsia on the left of the political spectrum, i.e. communists, socialists, and artists, and from Jewish circles, the latter often fitting more than one category.

Many outside of Europe might not know how the Jewish in Europe got their special position of outliers in the community. During the advance of Christianity all over Europe, Christian religious leadership pointed to the Jewish religion and its adherents in their communities as the original murderers of Christ.
As we all know, people seem to be more easily ‘managed’ by their leadership when provided with a target to distract them from the real issues that their leadership don’t want to be scrutinized.
Adherents of the Jewish religion were officially banned from all official trades and unions in the cities of Europe, could not attend universities, were not eligible for charity, and so on. They were officially at the bottom of European society with the general population’s agreement.

The Jewish Diaspora in Europe successfully survived by reinventing themselves, specializing in trades outside of trade unions (diamond cutters and commerce), forming their own organizations and charities. Their successes for instance in banking and the arts have irked many. Antisemitism among the non-Jewish has continued over the centuries to this day.

After World War 2, the parties in power decided to allocate the former Palestine as the Jewish ‘homeland’ under British protectorate. The Jewish Europeans who had survived the extermination camps still held Palestine in their memory as their original homeland and had started to settle in Palestine.
Israel’s battle for legitimacy as a nation started.
The Allied had conveniently disregarded Palestine’s population, a tribe, related to those that had left the territory centuries earlier, but who had become Muslims like the other tribes of the Middle East, when the Europeans turned to Christianity. Many of the Judean-Jewish left at that time.

(We all know the story of Christ, a Jewish pacifist who exposed the religious leadership of being in cahoots with the Roman oppressors, who had occupied the Palestinian lands.
Christ paid for it with his life–after being turned over by his religious leadership. He became the martyr for the Christian rebel movement that later got established as the main religion in the European, Rome-occupied territory.)

Back to 1934 when Hitler came to power in Germany. The non-Jewish intellectuals in Germany also read the writing on the wall, and soon withdrew from criticism on the Hitler government; most had abandoned their Jewish friends and colleagues already by 1934.

Hitler made all kinds of laws with the help of his gang of administrators. He started early on excluding certain segments with approval of the general population. He pushed the buttons of fear and loathing for some Germans amongst them in his speeches: criminals, anti-German elements, those that only misuse the national resources and have no right to the benefits.

Trump calls them Mexicans, criminals, terrorists, and Muslims. Reports said that Trump also used coded words for Jewish, raising the acceptance of anti-Semitism in the USA.

Trump figured about 3 million criminal Mexicans are in the US. What was their crime? Being Mexican and working for decades, paying taxes and having children cannot be a crime. How come the problem was not addressed earlier when it was known of their criminal offence, and where they live without a permit to stay?
They were already paying taxes to the tune of billions of dollars that the US government didn’t want to miss out on—that’s why. The Mexicans and others from Central and South America took the jobs that the local Americans didn’t want to do, just like the European Jewish took the niche markets and made a success of themselves. The industries and agriculture wouldn’t survive without them.

Envy is the green eyed monster that destroys.

Hitler’s National-Socialists (NAZIS) were nationalist first. As the national anthem states: Germany above the World (Deutschland uber Alles in der Welt).

Trump defies any category; he is under the Republican banner, but what is he really? He found a good banner to fly under, but Republican he is not. He certainly is a nationalist, “making America great again, the greatest country in the world”.

Hitler’s ‘socialist’ identity only pertained to the white supremacists themselves, who shared in the wealth–for a while at least, as long as the economic miracle lasted, but those already rich profited most by Hitler’s rape and pillage of parts of the German population and occupied nations’ coffers.
He first annexed various German speaking territories to his Reich. Hitler started his march through eastern Europe in 1939 with the invasion of Poland, six years after his appointment as Chancellor (Prime Minister equivalent), followed by the invasion of many other nations, with disastrous results for all of Europe and the world. Twelve years after his appointment at the end in 1945, all of Europe was in shambles.

Will the world have to look forward to a similar fate with Trump as president of the USA?

Posted in Diversity issues, elections, EU, Global immigration, Hitler, Immigration, International politics, Mexican life, Trump, Uncategorized, war and resistance, world issues | Leave a comment