Monday Reads: 2016 has been like a year long Red WeddingPosted: December 26, 2016
Well, it’s the last week of 2016 and the only thing I can think is that it’s a prelude to 2017 which is lining up to be an even worse year although we don’t know which of the icons that wrote the soundtrack to our lives will die at this time. I’m actually more concerned about the death of more important things like civil liberties and civil rights.
But, before I move on to my tribute to people who resisted Fascism in the past as inspiration for what faces us in 2017, let me just say goodbye to George Michael whose life, loves and music was unapologetically, in your face sexuality after being outted by Tabloids. George Michael was fierce.
I can barely get through a week without listening to his outstanding tribute with Queen to Freddie Mercury. He considered it his proudest but saddest moment. I’ve linked to a video of Queen and George in rehearsal for that performance where you can see David Bowie watching with Seal. It feels like George RR Martin wrote the script for 2016 where all the good guys get killed and the bad guys take over the kingdom. Seriously, it feels that way to me.
Here’s some inspiration from the past to help us buckle up as we careen towards 2017 and the take over of our government by Fascists. A flamboyant sportscaster led a secret mission to get his family out of Germany during those famous 1936 Berlin Olympic games. His story is now coming to light.
But here’s where we can start. Stanley Wertheim was a little more than 2 years old when Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. He doesn’t remember much from his childhood in Warburg, about 400 kilometers southwest of Berlin.
“I have some memories, but they’re vague. And only memories of certain incidents,” he says.
In one of those incidents, Stanley wandered out of his family’s backyard.
“And saw everyone saying ‘Heil Hitler’ and raising their arms, and so I did the same thing,” Stanley recalls. “Until, finally, some man caught me by the back of the neck and dragged me back to my house. ‘Cause that could have resulted in serious consequences.”
Stanley Wertheim is Jewish. Everything he did — or didn’t do — could have resulted in serious consequences.
The Olympics came to Berlin when Stanley was 6. The world was becoming concerned about German militarization and discrimination against Jews. And the regime hoped to send the message that there was nothing to fear.
So, the Games were important for Hitler and the Third Reich, but they weren’t of much consequence to 6-year-old Stanley Wertheim and his family.
“Well, that meant nothing to us except that Ted would be here,” Stanley says.
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
We take time now to remember Marion van Binsbergen Pritchard who died this month at the age of 96. During the second world war in her native Holland, she helped more than 150 Jews evade the Nazis. Her son Ivor Pritchard told us how she became a rescuer.
IVOR PRITCHARD: She was riding her bicycle down the street and came upon a scene where the Germans were collecting Jewish children, just picking them up by the arm and the leg and the hair and throwing them into a truck. And there were two women who saw this. And they went up to the Germans and protested, whereupon they took the two women and put them in the truck, too, and drove off. And my mother witnessed this.
CHANG: From that moment forward, she committed herself to protecting Jews. She shuttled young children from one hiding place to another. Little ones couldn’t be moved in the dark after curfew because they might cry out, so she transported them in broad daylight.
PRITCHARD: She would put a child on her bicycle and pedal down the street. And the German soldiers would see the young woman with her child and wave at her, and she would wave at them. And she would go right by to wherever she needed to go.
CHANG: For almost three years, Marion helped hide a Jewish man and his three children in a home outside Amsterdam. One day, several Germans and a local Dutch collaborator came to the door looking for Jews. They left without finding the hidden family. But then…
PRITCHARD: The Dutch collaborator came back by himself. And she had a revolver that had been given to her by the friend in the resistance. And she didn’t know what else to do, so she shot him. So now she’s got a Dutch collaborator dead on the floor. What’s she going to do?
CHANG: Marion had a friend who found a delivery man to pick up the body and a mortician to dispose of it. This is the lesson that Marion Pritchard took from that story.
PRITCHARD: The world, at that time, did not neatly divide up into perpetrators, victims, bystanders and rescuers. The delivery man wasn’t actively involved in the resistance. The mortician wasn’t actively involved in the resistance. And yet, when asked, they cooperated.
In two truly bizarre acts of weirdness, the Trump administration seems to have declared itself the beacon for radical christianity in an act of unconstitutional unrepentant reptilian ickiness. Then T-Rump himself sends out a weirdish christmas greeting that looks like a raised white power fist. It was such a tiny fist with such tiny fingers.
Sean Spicer is going to be T-Rump’s press secretary and he’s already caused quite the controversy with a badly worded tweet which appears to be the way of things right now. One badly worded tweet after another on things that are blatantly not constitutional, legal or American. Who tweets out about freaking Kings these days anyway? George RR Martin are you writing this script? Please, let us know.
President-elect Donald Trump’s team yesterday accused media critics of politicizing Christmas after a holiday message from the Republican Party sparked a Twitter war over whether the GOP was comparing Trump to Jesus Christ.
The message released yesterday by the Republican National Committee read in part, “Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind.
“Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King,” the statement continued.
That last clause caused social media users of both parties to question whether the “new King” referred to on “this Christmas” was Trump.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?