By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writer – 35 mins ago
TEHRAN, Iran – A young French academic and local employees of the British and French embassies appeared before an Iranian judge Saturday along with dozens of opposition figures accused of involvement in the country's postelection unrest.
The extraordinary mass trial in Tehran's Revolutionary Court demonstrates the government's resolve to discredit Iran's pro-reform movement as a tool of foreign countries — particularly Britain and the United States — trying to spark a revolution to topple Iran's Islamic system.
The appearance of the British Embassy employee appeared to catch Britain off guard, and the Foreign Office in London promised a response to what it called "this latest outrage."
The defendants stand accused of crimes including rioting, spying and plotting a "soft overthrow" of the regime after the disputed June 12 presidential election.
Iran's opposition and the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets after the election denounced official results that declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner. The government has been eager to show that the outpouring was not the result of internal unrest but foreign interference.
During the session, a prosecutor read out an indictment saying the U.S. and Britain had plans to foment the unrest with the aim of toppling Iran's Islamic rulers through a "soft overthrow," the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The vague indictment also accused the two powers of providing financial assistance to Iran's reformists to undermine hard-line clerics within the ruling system.
A reformist Web site said riot police attacked family members of the defendants and others gathered in front of the court to denounce the trial.
Someday we will wake up. Hey why doesn't OB send in the Clinton family to fix it all up!
By ESMEE SARTOMUS
Like so many others when war was declared I applied at once to the St. John Ambulance, to which I belonged, to know if there was any possibility of their making use of me, my only recommendation being three months' training in the London Hospital.
I was told that only trained nurses were wanted, and so gave up hope, but three days later the British Red Cross got an appeal for forty nurses to be sent out to Belgium; five St. John Ambulance nurses (V.A.D.'s later on) were being sent, and I was asked if I would go. I naturally accepted with alacrity, and August 14th found us in Brussels. Most of us were taken to the Hotel Métropole, where we were to await orders. As there was a big battle expected any day, we should all be badly wanted.
Next day some of the nurses were sent to hospitals outside Brussels, and others, including M., my cousin (who was a fully trained nurse), and myself, were given posts in the Royal Palace, which posts, however, we never filled, as the next thing we heard was that the Germans were outside the gates of Brussels, and all the allied wounded were to be evacuated to Antwerp.
We were then given the option of returning to England at once; some returned, but we, M. and I amongst others, elected to remain, as we were told we were wanted outside Brussels.
At 3 p.m. next day the Germans marched in; it was a soul stirring sight, seeing these impassive and tired-looking troops marching in to what seemed like a deserted town, every door and window shuttered and barred, and not a civilian to be seen, or a sound to be heard, save the steady tramping of the German troops, regiment after regiment, guns, cavalry, UhIans with their fluttering pennons on their lances. One felt that thousands of Belgians were waiting and watching behind their shuttered doors and windows, with bated breath and terrible anxiety lest anyone or anything should cause a disturbance, and so bring down the punishment of the enemy. However, nothing happened, owing to the notices which had been posted up everywhere, and the wonderful influence of Burgomaster Max, who had implored everyone to be careful and to give no cause or excuse for trouble.
Brussels being an unfortified town, he had begged the people to help in a peaceful occupation. His words had the right effect and, after a time, doors and windows were opened, and cafe's put their chairs and tables outside again, and the town gradually resumed its everyday life, but with a strong undercurrent of fear and consternation at the terrible feeling that the enemy was really in occupation, and Brussels under German rule.
Panics were easily started these days, and one sometimes met a crowd tearing down a street terror- stricken, crying that the French were outside the gates and a battle beginning, and one had to turn and run with the crowd till the panic was over.
We heard there were a number of wounded lying not far outside Brussels, and M. and I tried to get a car to take us out there to pick them up, but the Germans would not allow a car outside the gates just then, so we took a tram as far a we could, then walked, but could find no trace of them.
On our return from a trip out beyond the gates we heard we had been applied for, M- and I, to go to Charleroi to join a matron and two nurses who had gone there a few days before. We were given ten minutes to get ready, and were very glad to leave the hotel (which by this time was full of German officers), and to feel we were at last wanted. As there had been no fighting in Brussels, there was very little need for nurses.
We were raced off in a car by the Belgian Red Cross, and we dumped down late in the evening at one of the hospitals in Charleroi; but could find no trace of our compatriots, though we searched all the hospitals, nor could we get any news of them. The town was still burning, and most of the houses were shelled, and had gaping windows and large shell holes, and the streets were littered with broken glass and bits of furniture; but every house flew a white flag of some sort, which had been no help to them, as the Germans said they had been fired on.
It was now getting very late, and we were told nothing could be done till the morning, so we gratefully accepted the offer of one bed from a kindly Belgian. We spent a sleepless night. The guns sounded so close and shook the house, and it was with great relief we saw the day break, and we started once more on our search, this time with more success, as we heard they were at a hospital at Marcinelle, five miles out of Charleroi.
We trudged there, leaving our luggage to follow, and found the matron and nurses in a semi-equipped hospital, desperately busy, and worn out with all the wounded who had been brought in a few days before from the battlefields nearby. The German wounded, slight cases and dying, had all been evacuated the day before we arrived, and we took this as a good sign that the Allies were near, especially as we heard the guns so close, but this was not the case, as the fighting was in reality getting farther away.
We had plenty of work, though no fresh wounded. The hospital was originally intended for a civil hospital, but before it was finished the war broke out, and it had to be hastily equipped as a front line hospital, and in consequence was very badly supplied, and though we found beautiful electric appliances none of them were in working order, and all water had to be heated on a small stove, and many beds were without mattresses.
Our matron very soon left us to look up some other nurses in Brussels. She took the offer of a seat in a car going there and that was the last we saw of her. M had been left in charge.
The wounded were all French, and we found them extremely nice to look after. They were most grateful for all we did, and were much amused at the amount of cleaning and washing required by the English nurses, those of them that were well enough.
We had many exciting incidents and thrilling moments, especially when the German guards came round, as we never knew what they might be coming for. It was sometimes a search for a deserter, or to see that none of our patients were escaping. We never knew that it might not be to march us off, as rumour had it that we should be sent to Germany.
Life was one continual series of shocks; strange noises made us think we were being shelled; the electric light going out one night made us vividly imagine we were going to be blown up. Many of these scares ended in laughter, the Frenchmen ragging us for our crises de nerfs, but they did not quite like it themselves, lying helpless in bed.
We had a very busy time, but our patients were being gradually taken to concentration hospitals in Charleroi or to Germany as soon as they were fit to move, and we realised that our work before long would come to an end, and we began to wonder what was to become of us.
We had had no news for a long time, all means of communication having been stopped. We had no idea what had happened anywhere, or what the English nurses in and around Brussels were doing, so thought we must try and get news somehow from Brussels. We found a Belgian who had means of going there, and we asked him to put our case before the American Minister, who, we knew, had been asked to look after British interests. We wanted some money advanced on our cheques, as we had practically nothing left, and for help to return to Brussels or England.
The only answer we got to our appeal from the U.S.A. Legation was that we were on no account to go to Brussels; that they could give us no money, and that we were to ask the German Commandant in Charleroi to give us a pass to England or Maastricht via Germany.
This answer completely nonplussed us, as we did not want to advertise the fact that we were four English nurses alone in a hospital inside the German lines, especially as we had heard a rumour that some of the nurses who had been in and around Brussels and who were supposed to have been sent to England by the Germans were last heard of in Russia.
All these reports made us very unwilling to apply to the German Commandant for passes; so we decided to wait till our last wounded had been taken, hoping something might turn up.
Food was getting beautifully less and less, meat very occasional, and we lived for the most part on beans and potatoes and soup made of the same, flavoured with many fryings in the frying-pan. This, by the way, got me into severe trouble with the old cook, Mme. Gustave, because when I, on night duty, had to warm up our scanty meal, washed and scoured the frying-pan, I was told next day that I had completely ruined meat or onions to bring back the flavour of so many fryings.
I never heard the end of that flavouring. The bread was black and sometimes so hard we couldn't eat it, and other times so doughy that when thrown at the wall it stuck. We very, very rarely, as a great treat, had a mouthful of white bread given us by some kindly' Belgians.
By now our last man had been taken from us, and we felt that something must be done at once, so, much against our feelings, we bearded the German Commandant, who kept us waiting for a very long time, and we heard the orderly we had spoken to first, and who spoke English very well, telling the Commandant that we wanted passes to England via Germany or Maastricht. This he flatly refused, saying we must remain in Charleroi; nothing would move him, and so we returned crestfallen to Marcinelle.
Having now no work to do, we spent our days making definite plans to escape. Our only anxiety was to get away quickly before the Germans could get any inklings of our efforts. We had been cheerfully assured by the Belgians that, if they did get wind of them, we should undoubtedly be shot. This we were more than ready to believe, and many a time had visions of being lined up against the wall.
We managed at last to get a small sum of money lent us by our Belgian friends, and after many hours of talking we finally came to the conclusion that our best plan would be to accept the offer of a Belgian mine-owner, who offered us the use of his coal miners' ambulance to take us part of the way.
We were advised to leave in the dead of night, and we arranged to dine with our friends the following night, telling the concierge at the hospital, whom we did not trust, that we should be spending the night with them. This we did, taking only a string bag with tooth-brushes, etc., and dressed in mufti, with our Red Cross brassards sewn in the bottom of our skirts.
After a marvellous dinner to speed us on our way, the ambulance picked us up at 2 a.m. Two Belgian women accompanied us, as it was thought safer to go in a party. We had many nerve-wracking moments when we met sentries and guards, especially crossing the bridge out of Charleroi, the driver explaining that we were a miners' ambulance; after a few words he passed us on. In the early morning we arrived at Fleurus, where we took the tram to Namur, and where we arrived in a snowstorm, and then on to Liege, partly trams, -partly trudging. These last two towns, as well as villages along the route, were in ruins.
We had palpitating moments when the sentries on the trains asked for our papers ; all we had were "laisser-passer" as far as Liége, which our friends had somehow managed to wangle out of the Germans, stating we were Belgians going to see sick relations. These we showed, but fortunately we struck men who could not read French, but we murmured something which seemed to satisfy them. Before starting on our journey we had agreed that M- and I would do the talking, as the other two nurses did not speak French, and we naturally did not want it known we were English.
We spent the night at Liége, a room having been found for us, starting off the next morning early, feeling we had the most difficult part of the journey before us with the frontier to pass. We were thrust into a market cart going to Maastricht with vegetables. All this had been arranged for us by our Marcinelle friends, who had found out that Liége market-women carried on a trade taking refugees over the border. Just before arriving at the frontier the owner of the cart said she could only risk three across, so' that the other three must manage as best they could. A Belgian, one nurse and myself got out, and the cart drove on with the others. We walked a bit, then started to cross a field, and had just crawled under some barbed wire, and were beginning to feel we had escaped, as we thought it was the frontier, when to our horror, a loud voice called on us to halt, and we looked round and found a sentry covering us with his rifle. So we turned back, as we knew that if any of us tried to run for it one of us would, at least, be shot. The sentry then asked for our papers. This was a blow, as they only allowed us to Liége, and here we were well on the way to Maastricht. However, the man seemed only to worry about the German stamp, and, seeing that, told us we must go back to the road and in through the proper gate. This we knew we could never do. There wasn't a hope of our being allowed through, but we walked in that direction, and farther on tried again to cross, where we came on another sentry.
This time we did not try to pass him, but came back again to the road, making up our minds as we walked on to bluff the next one if we met with one Belgian who wanted to cross, so we hurriedly pushed our German stamp out for him to see and pressed some money into his hand and walked away as unconcernedly as we could, and again crawled under the barbed wire, expecting any moment that we might be shot at. However, this time we were safely across, but to our horror another sentry appeared, only he turned out to be a Dutchman who laughed at our scared faces. The strain since leaving Macinelle had been so great as we were always terrified that our escape had been discovered, and that we might be arrested at any moment.
We stumbled on to the market place at Maastricht, where we found the others, who had got safely over. We had no sooner found rooms in a hotel when a message was brought to us from a man who wished to see us, and it turned out that he was an Englishman over there on military business, and wanted some very important papers taken to a certain Government office in London. We were not too keen about it, but eventually agreed to take them.
The next day we took train to Flushing, and after some difficulty, owing to our having no papers on us, and only our Red Cross brassards stamped with the German stamps in Brussels, we got passages across to Folkestone, where the authorities found it difficult to believe our story, and where we were detained till they had made enquiries at the British Red Cross headquarters in London.
So this was the last of our troubles, and we were thankful to be back once more in England.
Our reward came in the shape of the Mons Star.
Borrowed from The Great War in a Different Light.
Patricius a Briton has a blog entitled Singulare Ingenium , being Tolkienist and Catholic. I enjoin the reader to visit it.
Sometimes we forget that Britian was steadfast in the faith. With fellows like this it can not but help regain its place.
I noticed on this blog that Fr Tim Finagan at Blackfen celebrated his Silver jubilee, and Patricis served at the Celebratory Mass. Fr Tim celebrated a Mass for late father after his death. I will be ever greatful.
During communist times in Russia their was a political man called a commissar. They were assigned to military units to "insure" the appointed officers toed the party line. They were answerable to Stalin.
I could make a joke about Obama ending unemployment by creating 1 million new czars, an though he is well on the way, this is no joke.
The current administration seems to feel that the normally elected officials and appointees confirmed by the Senate are not reliable enough so the manmadegod has incorporated czars to handle the business of government. They are...
Herb Allison, TARP Czar.
Alan Bersin, Border Czar
Dennis Blair, Intelligence Czar
John Brennan, Terrorism Czar
Carol Browner, Energy Czar
Adolfo Carrion, Jr, Urban Affairs Czar
Ashton Carter, Weapons Czar
Aneesh Chopra, Technology Czar
Jeffrey Crowley, AIDS Czar
Cameron Davis, Great Lakes Czar
Nancy-Ann DeParle, Health Czar
Earl Devaney, Stimulus Accountability Czar
Joshua DuBois*, Faith-based Czar
Kenneth Feinberg, Pay Czar
Danny Fried, Guantanamo Closure Czar
J. Scott, Gration Sudan Czar
Richard Holbrooke, Afghanistan Czar
John Holdren, Science Czar
Van Jones*, Green Jobs Czar
Gil Kerlikowske, Drug Czar
George Mitchell, Mideast Peace Czar
Ed Montgomery, Car Czar
Dennis Ross, Mideast Policy Czar
Gary Samore, WMD Czar
Todd Stern, Climate Czar
Cass Sunstein, Regulatory Czar
Paul Volcker, Economic Czar
The list is impressive, as they wield considerable power and authority over 1.7 trillions of dollars of our tax money. They report only to Obama. They are exempt from oversight, which would overlook them in any case as the oversight committee is leftest itself. All of these positions could come under a cabinet secretary.
Once again I compelled to thank the people of the United States for voting to put Obama in the White House, and a special thanks to those Catholics in name only for their work in creating the American Socialist Experiment.
*How long before the parishes are filled with juring priests?
**Van Jones, 'Green Jobs Czar', is a self-described 'communist' arrested during Rodney King riots
By Nic van Holstein and Rob Ruggenberg
War experiences of veteran J.R.R. Tolkien in 'The Lord of the Rings'
Frodo and the Marshes of the Great War
In a BBC television documentary Priscilla Tolkien, daughter of the late J.R.R. Tolkien, spoke about her supposition that the Journey through the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings was in fact a description of the experiences her father had in The Great War.
During the First World War John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a second lieutenant in the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers (picture left). He had learned Morse code, the use of signal rockets and field telephones and he served in action as Batallion Signaling Officer.
In June 1916 he was sent to the Somme area in France to participate in the great offensive that was to start on the 1st of July. But in the first weeks of this terrible battle Tolkien's battalion stayed in reserve, safely behind the frontline, in the village of Bouzincourt.
Tolkiens first experience on the front came on Friday 14th July with an unsuccesful attack on the village of Ovillers. British gunfire should have destroyed the barbed wire defences in front of the German trenches, but it had not, as the men found out when they crawled and runned towards the German lines. Many of his battalion were killed by machine gun fire.
After 48 hours of carnage, followed by 24 hours in a dug-out, Tolkien's unit was relieved. When he returned to his hut in Bouzincourt he found a letter telling him that Rob Gilson, one of his dearest friends, had been hit by a shell.
Lieutenant Gilson had been in action on the 1st of July near Bécourt, not far from where Tolkien stayed. The letter was sent by another close friend, lieutenant Geoffrey Smith :
My dear John Ronald,
I saw in the paper this morning that Rob has been killed. I am safe but what does that matter? Do please stick to me, you and Christopher. I am very tired and most frightfully depressed at this worst news. Now one realises in despair what the T.C.B.S. really was.
O my dear John Ronald what ever are we going to do?
Geoffrey B. Smith
T.C.B.S. stood for the Tea Club and Barrovian Society. It was an unofficial and semi-secret reading club formed in 1911 by Tolkien (picture left) and his friends Rob Gilson, Geoffrey Smith and Christopher Wiseman, who at that time were all students of the King Edward's School in Birmingham.
The boys shared an great interest in ancient languages, philosophy. literature, natural sciences, mathematics, arts and music. An intense friendship had developed between the four and although they went to different universities, they continued to meet each other. All four had joined the army, though they served in seperate units.
Tolkien wrote back to Geoffrey : "I do not feel a member of a complete body now. I honestly feel that the T.C.B.S has ended."
In the next weeks Tolkien participated in at least one of the disastrous stormings of the Schwaben Redoubt, an impregnable fortification of the German trenches. Again there were heavy losses in his battalion.
From then on he served on and off in the trenches. The desolate environment he lived in is shown in the picture above in which two British soldiers are cooking on a 'scrounged' stove in a trench near Ovillers, in July 1916.
In his spare time off duty, in the barracks behind the front, and often disturbed by music from gramophones (as he would later say), Tolkien started writing in a notebook the beginning of a mythology that he initially called The Book of Lost Tales. He would never finish this book, although most of it would eventually be published as The Silmarillon.
In those months Death was omnipresent. Bodies of British and German soldiers lay unburied, stinking and rotting, around him in No Mans Land. Writing became for Tolkien a way to deal with this brutality and barbarity around him. He wrote whenever he found an opportunity, "in huts full of blasphemy and smut, or by candle light in bell-tents, even down in dugouts under shell fire". In a letter to his son Christopher, many years later, he explained :
"I took to 'escapism': or really transforming experience into another form and symbol with Morgoth and Orcs and the Eldalië (representing beauty and grace of life and artefact) and so on; and it has stood me in good stead in many hard years since, and I still draw on the conceptions then hammered out."
Those transformed experiences can easily be found in his books. For instance in the The Lord of the Rings, Sam witnesses the death of a Haradrim soldier and realizes how much the enemy looks like himself :
"It was Sam's first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil at heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace."
While many of his companions died, Tolkien remained unharmed, until he fell ill with severe trench fever at the end of October 1916.
Trench fever was a much feared infectious disease characterized by the sudden onset of fever with headaches, sore muscles, bones, and joints, and outbreaks of skin lesions on the chest and back. It was transmitted from soldier to soldier by the body louse - and those parasites were here abundantly, hidden in the clothes of the men who lived in the trenches under bad hygienic circumstances. Thousands of men had already reported sick with it.
First Tolkien was taken to a hospital in Le Touquet, behind the front. A week later, when his condition worsened, he was shipped to England. On the 9th of November he arrived in a hospital in Birmingham, the city he had lived in during his youth.
In the meantime, on the Somme front the slaughter went on, although less fierce, because the great British offensive had turned into a total failure. The picture on the right shows soldiers of Tolkiens battalion having a day off, drinking coffee behind the trenches near Ovillers. Only a few of them survived this hell.
In December 1916, while he was still in the hospital, Tolkien received another letter from his reading club companion Geoffrey Smith :
My dear John Ronald,
My chief consolation is that if I am scuppered tonight - I am off on duty in a few minutes - there will still be left a member of the great T.C.B.S. to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve the T.C.B.S. Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four! A discovery I am going to communicate to Rob before I go off tonight. And do you write it also to Christopher. May God bless you my dear John Ronald, and may you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them, if such be my lot.
Geoffrey B. Smith
When Tolkien got this letter his friend was already dead. Geoffrey Smith served with the 19th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. On 29th November 1916 the battalion was shelled near the village of Souastre, on the road from Doullens to Arras. Geoffrey was seriously injured by a shrapnel hit in a thigh and in his right arm. In the next days he developed gangrene. On 3rd December, at 3:30 in the morning, he died.
The next month, January 1917, Tolkien reported himself fit for orders. But soon he became sick again. His service record files (WO 339/34423) are largely concerned with the various health problems that dominated his time in the army. There are numerous reports made by army medical boards between December 1916 and September 1918 on Tolkien's recovery from trench fever - a slow process punctuated by relapses. Periods of remission enabled him to do home service at various camps sufficiently well to be promoted to full lieutenant - but he never returned to the front.
Killed or POW
In spring 1918 Tolkien received news that those of his battalion who were still serving in France were all killed or taken prisoner at the battle of the Chemin des Dames.
In the Foreword to The Lord of the Rings he wrote :
"One has personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead."
The only one left was Christopher Wiseman, who served in the navy. Wiseman survived the war and remained a lifelong close friend to Tolkien. He was one who more than once urged Tolkien to write the fantastic epic he thought and talked about so much.
In the first sentence in the Foreword to The Lord of the Rings Tolkien describes this trilogy as "a history of the Great War of the Ring". Many scenes and depictions in the book seem to come right out of the real Great War, for instance the wastelands created by the evil Sauron and Saruman.
Also, as Priscilla Tolkien pointed out, the Journey through the Dead Marshes (in The Two Towers), looks very much like a description of the marshy and swampy battlefields in Northern France and in Flanders. In the course of the war these areas were transformed into deadly mud swamps with slithery clay and shell craters filled with water and corpses. Innumerable soldiers lost their footing and drowned in those treacherous pits. Click here to see an example of how Tolkien used this in his book.
Some of the characters also originate directly from the war. Tolkien, discussing the principal characters in his novel, wrote :
"My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself".
Note: I have not corrected the grammar or the spelling of the original. The original may be found here. This is a Dutch site, you may have to click the English button at the top of the article.
A small chapel has been completed to enshrine a part of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that was destroyed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, to stand as a symbol for peace on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
The chapel within Urakami Cathedral will be opened to the public following an unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, when the city will hold its annual memorial ceremony, following the one in Hiroshima on Saturday. The United States dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, respectively.
''I hope that this place will be used to pray for the souls of the departed and for world peace,'' said Isamu Hirano, 68, the parish priest for Urakami Cathedral, which was rebuilt in 1959 after being destroyed in the atomic bombing.
In the cathedral, two priests hearing confessions and some 30 parishioners were killed by the atomic bomb, which exploded at 11:02 a.m.
The wooden statue used to be on top of the altar in the old cathedral, which was located about 500 meters northeast of the hypocenter. Some relics from the cathedral are kept at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Peace Memorial Park.
Fragments of the head of the statue, whose face was badly burned on the right side, were found by Kaemon Noguchi, a monk at the Trappist Monastery in Hakodate, Hokkaido, while he was searching through the rubble during a visit to Nagasaki after World War II.
Noguchi took the head back to his monastery as a memento, but after learning that the church was looking for relics that survived the atomic bombing, he returned it to Nagasaki in 1975.
According to Hirano, the chapel was built at the promptings of parishioners, who wanted it enshrined for public view to serve as a symbol of the atomic bombing.
One of the parishioners is Isao Nishimura, 71, who worked since January to make the altar for the statue at the chapel, based on past photos of the old altar. He says he feels a special connection with the image as both of them are A-bomb survivors.
''I feel very blessed and thankful for being entrusted with this kind of work,'' he said.
According to Nishimura, he had not known of the existence of the real image until the parish priest asked him in 2000 to repair the statue's head, which was split into three parts and had been kept in a closet.
In September that year, the head was exhibited as part of an exhibit of atomic-bomb items in Minsk, Belarus.
Made of Japanese zelkova wood, the altar stands 6 meters high and measures 3.5 meters wide. It also includes a splinter of a persimmon tree which stood within the cathedral close and was otherwise completely destroyed.
Recently, there have been moves to register the statue's head as a World Heritage site, in the same manner as the A-bomb Dome in Hiroshima, where the world's first atomic bomb to be used against people was detonated at an altitude of about 600 meters.
Thanks to Christine, and Elena-Maria for reminding me of the tragic event.
I often hear people say they brought this on themsleves. This is incorrect. The theory of total war is contrary to the teaching of the church. I hope we have learned from this... Sadly, I don't believe that we have.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As a student of history, from time to time I find parallels with the modern world. here for example is one...
It appears that the White House web site has placed this on their site:
..."There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.
The source of the quote and it's context may be found here...
It seems that thoughtful reflection upon this government's policies are considered subversive. Unlike the garbage they have been spewing, with the Chicago style thug policies of this administration. The Consitution? Just words?
The parallel is of course Nazi Germany, where the "Blockleiter," the political leaders of from 40 to 60 households insured that any one who desented from the party line was reported to the Gestapo This administration seems bent on recreating for us a reincarnation of Nazi Germany.
Click here to see inculcation to the black youth...
So here is my bid to be flagged as a desenter. Go to the paragraph above and turn me in. But don't tell me I don't understand.
Vive le Roy!
Cartoon borrowed from Politics 24/7
Cross posted to my other blog, Girondins and Jacobins
The Serbian army, coming up from the south of the country, met the Austrian army at the Battle of Cer on 12 August.
The Serbians occupied defensive positions against the Austrians. The first attack came on August 16, between parts of the 21st Austro--Hungarian division and parts of the Serbian Combined division. In harsh night-time fighting, the battle ebbed and flowed, until Stepa Stepanovic rallied the Serbian line. Three days later the Austrians retreated across the Danube, having suffered 21,000 casualties as against 16,000 Serbian. This marked the first major Allied victory of the war. The Austrians had not achieved their main goal of eliminating Serbia, and it became increasingly likely that Germany would have to maintain forces on two fronts...
The Battle of Cer (August 12-24. 1914) was one of the most glorious in the military history of Serbian people. Victory achieved by the Serbian Army in this battle was the first allied victory in the First World War (1914-1918). In the crucial part of the operation, on the Mt. Cer, Austro-Hungarian Fifth Army was defeated and pushed back across River Drina.
The Battle of Drina (September 6. - November 11. 1914) was the most difficult battle waged by the Serbian Army in WWI, particularly battles around middle flow of River Drina, battles of Gucevo and Mackov Kamen. It also stopped the second offensive of Austro-Hungarian Army on Serbia.
The Battle of Kolubara (November 16. - December 15. 1914) and the victory of the Serbian Army contributed to Serbian respect among the allies. In the final phase of the battle, in only 13 days, the Serbian Army managed to expel the enemy from the country and re-establish the fronts on Drina and Sava rivers.
The Battle near Mojkovac (January 6-7. 1916), in which Montenegrin Sandzak Army successfully defended itself against Austro-Hungarin offensive, significantly alleviated the operations of the Serbian Army, enabling it to withdraw its troops trough Montenegro towards Albania.
Albanian Golgotha - Retreat of the Serbian Army (November 1915 - January 1916), also known as "Serbian Golgotha through Albanian gorges" was carried out in the conditions of strong frost, hunger, fatigue, illness and almost every day battles against Bulgarians, Austria-Hungary and Albanians. Some 100,000 soldiers and refugees lost their lives during this legendary march-maneuver of the Serbian Army, which was compared by various historians with Napoleon's and Suvorov's crossing the Alps.
Thessaloniki front (1916-1918) encompasses battles waged by the Entente forces against Central forces on the territory from the Orfan Bay, across Greece and Albania, to the Ionian Sea. In September 1916, the Serbian Army took part in the allied offensive, occupying Kajmakcalan after fierce struggle against Bulgarian forces.
Breakthrough of the Thessaloniki front and allied offensive in autumn 1918, in which the Serbian Army played a crucial role, belong to the most successful operations of the WWI.
Its participation in the WW I Serbia paid with more than million people (some 22% of the population, 58% of male population) and Montenegro lost around 50,000 people (1/8of the entire population). From 707.000 mobilized men during the war, only less than 130.000 returned home at the end of the war.
In last week’s Gospel, after Jesus performed the great miracle feeding a hungry crowd with only five loaves and two fish, the people wanted to make him king. Now Jesus had come in order to establish a kingdom, and performed this miracle as a sign of his kingship. Nevertheless, he didn’t let them make him king. Instead, he escaped the crowd and went into the mountains.
They had made a mistake; they missed the meaning of his miracle, seeing it only in worldly terms. They wanted this king who would provide food and economic prosperity, but that was not the kind of kingdom Jesus came to establish.
We continue to make this mistake today, because we look for the “king” (or the system of political government) that will do what Jesus did: miraculously provide the people all their human needs. When people don’t have pensions, government must provide social security. When people don’t have enough money for food, government must provide foodstamps. When people don’t have a roof, government must provide subsidized housing. When a single mother can’t afford education, government must provide a scholarship. When the hurricane destroys the city, government must provide funds to rebuild it. When mortgage companies and auto industries fail, government must bail them out. When people don’t have insurance, government must provide universal healthcare…
It’s not that government (the “king”) doesn’t have a role to support and provide necessary infrastructure for society, but when the government actually assumes the role of providing and taking care of all the needs, government has become the Savior. The name of this form of government is socialism. It is condemned by the Church, but unfortunately, it is where we are headed. (emphasis is mine B)
By escaping the crowd, Jesus was telling them that is not the sort of kingdom and kingship (i.e. government) the people should seek. The truth is, a government cannot be a savior. Jesus can perform a miracle by feeding a hungry crowd because he is the savior, he is divine, and he can bring bread from heaven.
But unlike Jesus, government has to take funds away from one group in order to provide these things for another group: Taxation! The “bread” provided by the government actually comes from your neighbor, not from heaven! It seems like government welfare and assistance programs imitate Jesus and fulfill the precepts of Christianity to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and house the homeless.
But actually they end up making the problems worse, because they 1) burden the true providers, 2) take away rights, and 3) responsibilities.
Socialist bureaucracy is by nature inefficient and wasteful. For example: in this country, we say public education is “free.” Actually, it costs more than double the amount to educate a child in a public school as a private Catholic school, and we provide a better education. The costs of a government program are always higher than the same program being offered in the competitive private sector.
Because socialism takes from Peter to give to Paul, it always sets up a vicious circle of taxation and borrowing that gets worse. Today’s social security checks are taken from the social security funds of today’s workers, and the system is headed to bankruptcy in a few years. Already, there is a 15% tax on every dollar just to pay for social security, not to mention the other taxes: income tax, sales tax, etc. Besides social security, this year our government had to borrow $1.5 trillion to provide all the current services and bailouts it provides, which means future generations will still be paying for the things we are getting now; and is the government going to still provide them the same services? And now on top of everything the healthcare legislation is looking to add another tax on every dollar to provide “free” healthcare. That will greatly affect an operation such as ours, for instance, Christ the King parish and school.
This is the trap of socialism: it burdens the people in order to help them. Jesus would never do such a thing! Jesus can and does bring bread from heaven for the hungry, government only takes bread from Peter to give it to Paul. Socialism sounds good, but it is the opposite of what government should do.
Government cannot be the savior. People always help people, not programs. Government must establish a system of laws that allow people to help each other, but government must not take over the rights and responsibilities of people to take care of themselves and each other.
Besides burdening the citizens, socialism takes away the right and responsibility of people to take care of their own needs, and imposes its own agenda against their will. For instance, government tells people what they can and can’t teach in a public school. If the people of a school district are Christian and vote to have Christmas and Easter parties, and teach their children about their Biblical and Christian heritage, they should be free to do so. It’s their own tax dollars! We used to be able to do this. Socialism takes away rights.
In the more extreme socialist governments, such as China, government goes to far as mandate only one child per family. All the services provided by the government are free, but they will only cover one child. So if you get pregnant a second time, you have to have an abortion. Can you imagine?
This is why we need to be opposed to government taking over healthcare. Soon it will be deciding who gets what medical services, and how the funds are rationed. It’s unavoidable: with socialism the government decides for you exactly what you can and can’t do. People lose freedom and the right to choose.
In addition, socialism takes away responsibility, because the government becomes the provider and parent instead of the family. If you think about it, most government programs are fulfilling the roles that used to be done by the father and provider of the family. Socialism undermines the family unit, encourages the “dead-beat dad” syndrome, and ends up socializes parenting! All of a sudden, “society” is raising the kids, kids are in school or daycare all day, and parents have less and less time to form their children. That’s because they’re both having to work since they are not only paying their household bills but also the huge bills of the government.
So we can understand why Jesus would not let them make him king. His miracle was a sign of something else, it was not the kind of government he intends to establish. In today’s Gospel, Jesus again speaks to the crowd who wanted to make him king the day before. It is the next day, and they find him on the other side of the lake, back in Capernaum, and they wonder how he got there so fast.
Jesus tells them, “Amen I tell you, you’re not looking for me because you saw a sign of God’s Kingdom; you are looking for me because I filled you with loaves of bread.” He’s very upset with them: “Do not work for food that perishes, but rather for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” Jesus knows that as long as we are in this world, we are going to have hunger, sickness, suffering. Sure we might be able to take care of some needs today – we can feed a homeless person this week; we can go to the hospital and get healed for some ailment this time – but what about next week or next year. That homeless person is going to be hungry again, we are going to get sick again, and eventually we will get to the point where nothing will help anymore. We are going to have to face the limitations of fallen human nature, our mortality, our death. Do you think the savior government will help us at that point? Yes it will; it will hasten our way out!
No, Jesus knows in this world we will have the cross. What he brings is something new and different. His Kingdom is not of this world, which is passing away. Even though we still live in this tired and corrupted world with all its problems, we must already start living in the new world that he brings, with the new life he brings. Unlike the food we get from healthcare/welfare, which satisfies us today but leaves us hungry and debt-ridden tomorrow, Jesus gives us food that will satisfy for all eternity: “Do not work for food that perishes, but rather for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
The people are thrilled: “Sir, give us this bread always!” But Jesus knows they still don’t understand, they’re still thinking in terms of flesh and blood, in terms of life in this world. So Jesus tells them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
This is what we need to be looking for, working for, trying to achieve. And this is what a wise and good government should be helping its citizens to find: the real bread that will take away hunger, the bread of Jesus Christ. At one point, our American government was such a government. It was established on the premise that people can practice religion without government interference. It knew that it didn’t have the answers but that people would find the answers through their faith, specifically Christianity. It knew its job was not to interfere in that pursuit by imposing a particular brand of Christianity, but allow people to engage in that pursuit freely. What made America great was that unlike so many other places, it knew it wasn’t the savior, and that people had to find their savior.
Today unfortunately, government sees itself as the savior, and we the citizens do too, we have caused the problem. It is scary: govt now resents the idea that citizens would look to their Christian faith, to Jesus Christ, as their savior. It resents the idea of religious people in any way critiquing its agenda. It doesn’t want a Catholic school system competing with its schools. It doesn’t want a Catholic hospital system that refuses to perform abortions and euthanasia.
As Christians living in such a society, we have an urgent duty to bring reform and transformation. We must not fall into the trap of the crowd who wanted to make Jesus an earthly “sugar-daddy” king. Socialism is evil. We need to be careful about politicians and programs that promise to take care of our needs, and examine what it is going to cost us in return, not just in terms of higher taxes, but also in terms of freedoms sacrificed. We must not promote programs that take away or supplant the responsibilities of parents, especially the father, to provide for his family and offspring.
Above all, we must look for candidates and legislation that understands the truth of today’s Gospel: “Do not work for food that perishes, but rather for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” A socialist government makes its citizens work for the bread that satisfies today but leaves them hungry again tomorrow. And it makes them work very hard indeed, for the government to be able to provide this “free” bread to everyone.
People must work and labor not for the government, but for God. Jesus tells us what our true labor should be: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One He sent.” This should be the real priority of our society: Faith and religion. We wouldn’t have these problems today, if we actually returned to these words.
Thanks and a tip of the beret once again to my friend Byron who contributed this to me for my blog.
...On the morning of August 4, 1914, the sentinels pacing the ancient citadel of Liège, where the infantry barracks were situated, cast, no doubt, many anxious glances eastwards, where the Vesdre wound, through Verviers and Limbourg, to the German frontier. They could see in that direction, and to the south, in the direction of Luxembourg, now, they knew, in German hands, long rolling stretches of wooded upland, rising gradually to where the heights of the Ardennes bounded the prospect. The journey between London and Cologne had no stretch more charming than the twenty-five miles, dotted with pretty country-houses, picturesque villages, and busy manufactories, traversed by a stream winding along a deep and beautiful valley, between Liège and Herbesthal. In the opposite direction, to west and to north, spread the broad and fertile plains of Hesbaye and Dutch Limbourg, broken by hilly stretches. The morning was sultry and cloudy. The panorama that lay below, magnificent as it was, could not be seen to best advantage. The broad Meuse, joined to the south of the city by the Vesdre and the Ourthe, lost itself in haze. Visé, ten miles to the north, could be discerned dimly upon the east bank. The soldier's eye could pick out the forts which girdled the city: Fleron and Evegnée, dominating their villages, lay nearest the German frontier. Below, descending by steep curved streets and stairways, and intersected by numerous canals and streams, was Liège itself...
As an American it is almost impossible to feel the utter terror of an invasion by another country. Anxiety about one's family, one's home, one's life all come into perfect focus.
...Liège, lying in a richly cultivated valley, is strikingly picturesque. The towers of numerous old churches, some dating back to the tenth century, grace the left bank of the river, where the principal part of the city is placed. The chimneys of many factories and foundries rise upon the right bank, the Outremeuse, the quarters of the artisan inhabitants. Innumerable barges line the Mouse near the iron-works and coal-pits of Seraing. The river is spanned by several remarkably fine bridges. The Liégeois who, on August 3, discussed in their tree-lined boulevards and their cafes the national crisis that had arisen with the delivery of Cermany's ultimatum, could regard with complacency many historic buildings and invariably well laid-out streets. That ultimatum had, indeed, placed their country and themselves in a terrible position. Events had been moving rapidly for some days. A fever of anticipation and of preparation had settled upon the city. The Belgian army had begun to mobilize. The Garde Civique had been called up. Then reservists were summoned in the middle of the night by knocks at their doors and by the ringing of church bells. Horses and vehicles of all sorts were commandeered. Even the dogs harnessed to the milkmen's and bakers' carts were taken off, wagging their tails in the prevailing excitement, to draw the machine-guns of the infantry. Carrier-pigeons also were requisitioned. A food panic commenced...
The German timetable for the invasion of France required that the right wing of the army cross into Belguim, violating a 75 year treaty of neutrality, which was to the Germans merely a "scrap of paper." standing in the way of course was the Belgian Army whom the Germans believed would put up only a token resistance and then melt before the superior forces. The didn't count on the Belgians. Belgians were made of sterner stuff. On August 2, 1914 the German Empire had required Belguim to allow free free passage of it's troops through Belguim. The Belgian King refused. 2 days later the Germans passed through Luxumbourg and into Belguim.
The fortifications of Liege were considered to be amongst the strongest in Europe, with twelve modern forts surrounding the city. The German plan, having been adopted in 1914 required those fortifications to be neutralised thus allowing the strong German right wing to wheel through Belgium into northern France. The idea was soon found to be false that Belguim would just roll over. The Germans had allowed only two days for the subjection of Belguim.
Liege guarded the crossings over the River Meuse River a strong barrier. At Liege the Meuse runs through a deep ravine. Crossing the Meuse would now take time that the Germans could ill afford. Since the 12 forts surrounding Liege defended the crossings it was imperative that the Germans reduce them. One by one.
The defence of Liege had been entrusted to General Gerard Leman, a long service soldier, former military tutor of the king of Belgium, who was determined to hold as long as possible.
Opposing Leman was a German force under General Otto von Emmich which contained six infantry brigades, three cavalry divisions and five light infantry battalions. Recognising the importance of this task, these troops were mainly regular peacetime soldiers rather than the newly mobilised conscripts. Their objective was made easier by the attitude of both the British and French, neither of which had any plans to relieve Belgium.
The advance scouts reached Liege on August 3, finding most of the bridges blown up, and a more real resistance than expected. The next day August 4, after a demand for surrender was refused, the German bombardment of Liege began. Overnight an assault on 5-6 August resulted only in high German casualties and no gains. On August 6 the General Erich Ludendorff a liaison officer, found the 14th Brigade without a commander, taking command he managed to break though the Belgium lines to the east of the city remaining undetected. He then sent a party to the city, first to demand it's surrender, which was once again refused, and then on a quick raid against Leman's HQ.
The main result of this was to scare Leman into moving from Liege into Fort Loncin, west of the city, and also to send much of his garrison back to Brussels, believing he faced several times more troops than he actually did. Despite this, and in disregard of Ludendorff's brigade loose within the line of forts, the defenders still held all twelve forts, and the city itself.
On 7 August Ludendorff advanced against the out of date Citadel of Liege, which surrendered without fighting, giving Ludendorff control of the city, and more importantly, of intact bridges across the Meuse. Meanwhile, the first two forts fell, Fort Barchon on 8 August and then Fort Evegnee, adjacent forts to the east of the city. The fate of the remaining forts was settled on 12 August, with the arrival of the first Krupp 420 mm Howitzer, designed to be capable of smashing these very forts. The first fort to be bombarded, Fort Pontisse, was wrecked by 12.30 on 13 August, and six more forts were reduced over the next two days, ending with Fort Loncin, reduced to rubble after a shell hit the magazine. Within the ruins of the fort, General Leman was found, knocked out by the blast. The remaining two forts surrendered without a fight on 16 August.
The German timetable for the defeat of France was falling behind.
A contemporary writes ...General Leman, who had taken up his quarters in Fort Loncin, was in the fort when it was blown up by a German shell, which had found its way into the magazine. He was saved by a signal act of bravery. "That I did not lose my life," he wrote in that affecting letter sent later from his place of confinement in Germany to the King of the Belgians, "is due to my escort, who drew me from a stronghold while I was being suffocated with gas from exploded powder. I was carried to a trench, where I fell."
Most of the garrison were buried under the ruins, but the few survivors risked themselves in this act of devotion. No better evidence could be offered of the spirit of Belgian defence.
A German captain found the intrepid commander helpless and after giving him liquid refreshment carried him as a prisoner into the city. The defence of Liége, however, had fulfilled its purpose...
General Leman required the German Officer to sign a letter stating that Leman had been captured while unconscious, and not from cowardice...
Text of General Leman's letter while in captivity to King Albert I
General Leman to King Albert I
After honourable engagements on August 4th, 5th and 6th, I considered that the forts of Liege could only play the role of forts d'arret(1). I nevertheless maintained military government in order to coordinate the defence as much as possible, and to exercise moral influence upon the garrison.
Your Majesty is not ignorant that I was at Fort Loncin on August 6th at noon. You will learn with grief that the fort was blown up yesterday at 5.20 p.m.(2), the greater part of the garrison being buried under the ruins.
That I did not lose my life in that catastrophe is due to the fact that my escort, Commandant Collard, a sub-officer of infantry who unfortunately perished, the gendarme Thevenim and my two orderlies, Vanden Bossche and Jos Lecocq, drew me from a position of danger, where I was being asphyxiated by gas from the exploded powder.
I was carried into a trench, where a German captain named Guson gave me a drink, after which I was made prisoner and taken to Liege in an ambulance. I am convinced that the honour of our arms has been sustained. I have not surrendered either the fortress or the forts.
Deign, Sire, to pardon my defects in this letter. I am physically shattered by the explosion of Loncin. In Germany, whither I am proceeding, my thoughts will be, as they have ever been, of Belgium and the King. I would willingly have given my life the better to serve them, but death was denied me.
Eventually Belgium was mostly occupied by the Germans, but Belgium never surrendered.
(1) Basically "to stop", what is meant here is an archaic term meant to convey that the forts created a delaying action.
(2) August 15, 1914
It was on this date in 1914 that great Britain declared war on Germany owing to Germanys refusal to exit Belguim. The following is the headline of the London Daily Mirror of August 4, 1914.
Great Britain Declares War on Germany
Declaration last night after 'unsatisfactory reply' to British ultimatum that Belgium must be kept neutral.
The King's message to his navy - Government to take control of all railways. Admiral Jellicoe to be in supreme command of the Home Fleets.
Huge crowds cheer their majesties at palace - £100,000,000 voted in Commons in five minutes. German invasion of Belgium with airships.
Great Britain is in a state of war with Germany.
It was officially stated at the Foreign Office last night that Great Britain declared war against Germany at 7pm. The British Ambassador in Berlin has been handed his passport.
War was Germany's reply to our request that she should respect the neutrality of Belgium, whose territories we were bound in honour and by treaty obligations to maintain inviolate.
Speaking in a crowded and hushed House the Premier yesterday afternoon made the following statement: 'We have made a request to the German Government that we shall have a satisfactory assurance as to the Belgian neutrality before midnight tonight.'
The German reply to our request, officially stated last night, was unsatisfactory.
The King and His Navy
The King has addressed the following message to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe: 'At this grave moment in our national history I send to you and, through you, to the officers and men of the fleets, of which you have assumed command, the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial.'
The above message has been communicated to the senior naval officers on all stations outside of home waters.
It was reported yesterday evening that Germany had taken the first hostile step by destroying a British mine-layer.
At the present time Germany is in a state of war with: Great Britain, Russia, France and Belgium.
'Germany tried to bribe us with peace to desert our friends and duty. But Great Britain has preferred the path of honour.'
It would seem as if Germany, in her ambition to control the destiny of the whole of Europe, were ready to embark on any grandiose scheme of adventure, however precarious her chances.
So far as Great Britain is concerned, her attitude has always been plain, straightforward and perfectly intelligible. She was prepared to stand aside from the conflict that has now involved practically the whole of Europe.
But she insisted and had to insist on two things: these were that Belgium's neutrality should be respected; and that the German fleet should not bombard defenceless French towns.
Germany tried to bribe us with peace to desert our friends and duty. But Great Britain has preferred the path of honour.
Chief of the Fleets
Sir John R Jellicoe has assumed the supreme command of the Home Fleets, with the acting rank of Admiral. Rear Admiral Charles E Madden has been appointed to be his chief of staff. Field Marshal Sir John French, the famous cavalry leader, has been appointed Inspector General to the Forces.
Mr Lloyd George subsequently announced in the House that the Government was engaged in preparing a scheme for the distribution of food, and hoped that it would be completed in the course of one or two days. The House unanimously passed in five minutes all outstanding votes, amounting to over £100,000,000.
An Order in Council has been issued declaring it expedient that Government should have control over the railroads of Great Britain.more
If I am asked what we are fighting for, I can reply in two sentences. In the first place, to fulfil a solemn international obligation . . . an obligation of honor which no self-respecting man could possibly have repudiated. I say, secondly, we are fighting to vindicate the principle that small nationalities are not to be crushed in defiance of international good faith at the arbitrary will of a strong and overmastering Power. Rt Hon. Herbert H Asquith
The lamps have yet to come back on...