Berlin diary, 1928-1945

This video is called Auschwitz Birkenau Death Camp.

By John Green in Britain:

Flags In Berlin: An Account Of Life In Berlin 1928-1945
by Biddy Youngday

Sunday 25 November 2012

How easy it is to incite racist behaviour by successfully portraying certain of our fellow human beings as “Untermenschen” – sub-human – and scapegoating them for society’s problems.

Britain did it with its colonial peoples, the US with the Vietnamese and the Israelis with the Palestinians. Biddy Youngday illustrates here how the nazis did it with the Slavs, Jews and Gypsies. We never seem to learn.

Youngday was an upper-middle class Anglo-Irish girl who studied art at the Slade and took herself off on a learning trip through Europe, ending up in Berlin towards the end of the 1920s.

There she met other young artists from the Bauhaus group, including Peter Peri, and married a young communist photographer.

They married and had two children just as Hitler came to power and this book is her retrospective diary of those years, written in the 1950s, but only now published.

It has no literary aspiration in the sense that Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin did but it is a fascinating history of everyday life experienced first hand.

She documents vividly how her friends and neighbours rapidly accept – enthusiastically or reluctantly – the fascists’ rise to power. She and her husband continue to work clandestinely for the Communist Party but once her two girls are born Biddy is forced to take a back seat. Her husband, Willy, is captured only a year before the end of the war and is guillotined by the Gestapo.

The deprivations of the war years in Berlin – continuous bombardment and shortages of everything, make life a nightmare of desperate survival for a lone mother with two small children.

She describes the relief she experiences with the arrival of the Red Army and, despite everything that has been said elsewhere about mass rape and pillage, she relates her experiences with Soviet soldiers of a totally different nature.

The book has a very tragic coda once she returns to Britain. Her traumatic experiences in nazi Germany during the war so damaged her that she suffered a nervous breakdown and persecution mania and was confined to a mental institution for over a year.

In the epilogue, however, we read that she returned to lead a normal and full life, first in the Communist Party and then in the Labour Party in her local West London community. She died in 1987.

Copies of the book, price £7, are available from Doctor Clare Lowy, 44A Rosemont Road, London W3 9LY.


Bahrain dictatorship twists even British accomplices’ words

This video from Bahrain says about itself:

footage of police beating protester after funeral of a political prisoner, 3 October 2012.

From EA WorldView blog:

Bahrain Propaganda 101: The Regime Turns Britain’s Criticism Into Praise

Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 15:14

Scott Lucas

You might think that the Bahraini regime has no reason to edit the words of the British Government. After all, British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed only this week that the two countries had established a “new ministerial-level dialogue”, meeting annually, as “a forum to discuss key regional issues such as Syria, Iran, and the impact of the Arab Spring“. The forum would “raise areas of concern”, as well as discuss British support of “Bahrain as it seeks to improve the situation in the country”.

Apparently, however, nothing less than unqualified backing — free from “concern” — is enough for the regime.

Consider this press release from the Bahrain News Agency on a statement on Friday by Hague’s deputy, Minister of State Alistair Burt:

In a statement marking the first anniversary of [the Bahrain Independent Commission of Enquiry] Report, he lauded the wise leadership for approving the inquiry results.

He also paid tribute to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa for adopting the BICI recommendations as a launchpad to forge ahead with reforms.

The UK minister commended the steps undertaken by the Kingdom of Bahrain which ensured no authority for the National Security Agency to apprehend and detain people.

Mr. Burt highlighted the establishment of a special probe unit to investigate people suspected of illegal acts or negligence.

He hailed the formation of the ombudsman at the Interior Ministry to probe complaints and grievances and supervising inquiries, pointing out that the issues revealed in the BICI report would require a long time to address.

He condemned the acts of terror and mounting street riots and sabotage, describing these tactics as totally unacceptable.

He also urged all Bahrainis to engage in a national dialogue and play a constructive role to ensure long-lasting security and stability prevail in the Kingdom.

Here is Burt’s actual statement:

Establishing the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was an unprecedented and positive response to the unrest which hit Bahrain in Spring 2011. We fully acknowledge the leadership it took to accept its findings and the commitment made by His Majesty to deliver reforms based on their recommendations.  

We commend the steps taken so far, including ensuring that the National Security Agency does not have the authority to arrest and detain individuals, the establishment of a Special Investigations Unit to determine the accountability of those who committed unlawful or negligent acts, and the establishment of a Police Ombudsman to receive complaints and grievances and to oversee and conduct investigations.  

So far, so good. But then these paragraphs seem to have slipped past the regime’s news agency:

But we are concerned by some of the recent decisions taken by the Bahraini Government, particularly on human rights, and we’re clear that there are areas where progress on implementation has been too slow and others where it is lacking. Much more needs to be done on relaxing censorship and allowing the opposition greater access to media, on integrating personnel from all communities in Bahrain into the security forces, and question marks remain on senior level accountability for the deaths and the allegations of torture following the unrest of 2011. The Bahraini Government has itself acknowledged that more work still needs to be done and the UK stands ready and willing to assist in whatever way we can.

The Commission’s report revealed deep-rooted issues that pose significant challenges for the Bahraini Government and will take time to fully address, as will a change in behaviour and culture.

Antarctic marine wildlife threatened

This video is called Antarctic Wildlife With Tour Guide Alex Burridge.

From the BBC:

25 November 2012 Last updated at 18:13

Antarctic marine wildlife is under threat, study finds

Marine snails in seas around Antarctica are being affected by ocean acidification, scientists have found.

An international team of researchers found that the snails’ shells are being corroded.

Experts says the findings are significant for predicting the future impact of ocean acidification on marine life.

The results of the study are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The marine snails, called “pteropods“, are an important link in the oceanic food chain as well as a good indicator of ecosystem health.

“They are a major grazer of phytoplankton and… a key prey item of a number of higher predators – larger plankton, fish, seabirds, whales,” said Dr Geraint Tarling, Head of Ocean Ecosystems at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and co-author of the report.

The study was a combined project involving researchers from the BAS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of East Anglia‘s school of Environmental Sciences.

Ocean acidification is a result of burning fossil fuels: some of the additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into oceans.

This process alters the chemistry of the water, making it more acidic.

See also here.

Over 100,000 visits on this blog

Blogging, cartoon

Last night, when I was sleeping, the total number of views here at Dear Kitty. Some blog passed the 100,000 mark. Meanwhile today, the number is 100,392, ever since the blog had to move from Blogsome to WordPress in December 2011.

Thanks, everyone of my visitors!

Here come the top 28 pages of my blog since moving to WordPress:

Title Views
Home page / Archives 17,430
British Thatcher aide accused of child abuse 5,532
Boy raped by priest, then castrated 1,518
After 35 years, wounds of Vietnamese napalm girl Kim Phuc still hurt 1,451
Günter Grass poem on Greece and austerity, English translation 1,331
Thatcher’s Downing Street child abuse scandal 963
About 873
BBC: Pope Ratzinger ‘covered up paedophile priests scandals’. Like US Republicans 671
New African monkey species discovered 656
Dinosaur discovery in France 596
King of Spain, elephant killer, petition 502
Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos 438
Donald Trump’s sons butcher African elephants (?) 424
New Zealand rare whale discovery 394
Tony Blair got rich from Iraq war 382
Bahraini king’s sexual harassment of Lebanese singer 372
Georgian prison sexual abuse 311
Iranian cartoon for peace 298
Numbers in ancient Egypt 285
Scotland: giant centipede, crocodile, and other fossils brought back to life 280
Blog of the Year 2012 award, thanks dogdaz! 230
US Republicans’ far-Right extremism 216
Ultra-Orthodox attack on Israeli women’s rights 211
Hurricane Sandy in America, a ‘Frankenstorm’? 206
Galapagos islands: why Darwin’s finches differ in beak size 203
Photomontage from John Heartfield to the Iraq war 198
Olympics, William Blake, suffragettes, punk, Bahrain 195
Brigitte Bardot’s Islamophobia and anti-Semitism 190

Arab emirates ban Guy Fawkes masks

This video from the USA is called Arrested For Wearing a Guy Fawkes Mask (Occupy Lansing).

By Kris Holt:

November 19, 2012

If you’re a member of hacking group Anonymous, it’s now illegal to show your face in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Dubai police have declared the Guy Fawkes mask, the disguise most strongly associated with Anonymous, illegal. Police issued a warning was issued to anyone considering wearing the mask ahead of the UAE’s National Day on Dec. 2. They claim it symbolizes resistance to state authority.