Saturday, April 11, 2020

Update 11th April



Cocoon
What cocoon means?
‘A cocoon is a silky web spun around the larvae of many insects. Caterpillars emerge from their cocoons as beautiful butterflies. The word cocoon can also refer to a form a self-protection for humans. For some people, their house is a cocoon, a cosy retreat from which they can escape the world’!

Anne Frank and The Diary of Anne Frank
As we ‘cocoon’ or self- isolate we might remember a young Jewish girl, Anne Frank who spent two years with members of her family ‘hidden’ from the occupying Germans in a disguised section of their home in Amsterdam. This was in from July 1942 until August 1944 during World War 2. Anne Frank kept a diary of her life during that period when they were unable to go out into the street and fretful that they would be discovered by the Gestapo at any time. Anne was actually born in Germany and then the family fled to Holland and she is more associated with there. She was born in 1929. She and her colleagues were discovered in August ’44 and sent first to Auschwitz and then to Bergen-Belsen where she died in early ’45 with her sister. Her father Otto Frank survived and returned to the house where a secretary had kept the Diary. A number of films have been made of her life in hiding and ‘The Anne Frank House’ illustrating her captivity was opened in 1960. Around one million people visit the house each year. At the end of the last Millennium in 1999 Time Magazine named Anne Frank amongst the heroes of the 1900s’. Its caption read;
‘With a Diary kept in a secret attic she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity’.
I read the book years ago and saw the film. It would be an appropriate read for the environment of this time especially for the young generations.

‘Return to Belsen’
The documentary ‘Return to Belsen’ has been aired a couple of times in recent nights the last being Wednesday. The narrator was Jonathan Dimbleby whose father Richard was with the first British troops to liberate the camps. Richard Dimbleby was a distinguished BBC war radio correspondent at the time and his reports echoed throughout the world giving an early first-hand account of the horrors of Belsen and the barbarity of the guards-men and women to the thousands of captives especially Jews though there were other factions also in those camps. Hardened by that time, British soldiers were shocked to the core by the scenes presented to them when they arrived at the camp complex. A number of those soldiers spoke of their lifetime experience and of its toll on them. A number of survivors also spoke including a man you may be familiar with, Tomi Reichental, an Irish resident who was a boy of ten or so when the camps were liberated. It was only in recent years that he began to talk of his experiences and has been on Irish television and radio and visits schools recounting those horrific years. It was in Belsen also that Anne Frank spent her final months.
The commanding officer of the British troops made sure that the residents or Burgomasters of the local town were paraded to see the remains of the camp to ensure that they witnessed the horrific crimes perpetrated by their army. They, with the remaining German guards, were made bury the many dead in huge graves. Afterwards the British burned the camp to the ground to destroy the diseases rampant in them. The guards including the Butcher of Belsen and his woman equivalent were put on trial with a defence team in the British style court. Their defence was that they were obeying orders while one woman-defendant said she did it for the Fuhrer. The documentary did not state its final outcome. 
A sad irony immediate to the liberation was that a big number of inmates died because the British army personnel provided too much food to the living skeletons which they could not cope with. The mistake was seen and then they had to alter their approach.
A Scottish soldier related that if they had any doubts what they were fighting for before this the scenes of Belsen confirmed their righteousness. It was said of The Holocaust’ that it was, ‘an expression of the power of HATRED’. 

Forming a Government (Election Saturday February 8th …62 days ago)
I can only call the efforts to form a Government in this country as PATHETIC. There have been talks about talks, preliminary talks, kind of meaningful talks, meaningful talks, documents being drawn up, talk of a ‘government formation document’ but yet no real progress. It is a disgrace especially for the parties who are not part of the ‘Intern -Government’ as of now.

RTE Report Today Friday       
“Leo Varadkar has said Fine Gael is ready to agree a joint government formation document this week - but that he cannot speak for Fianna Fáil.
He said if the document is agreed, they will then approach other parties to see if they are willing to form a new government.
Mr Varadkar said he does not envisage a second election and that he does not even know how an election would be conducted in the current circumstances.
He said Fine Gael had given other parties two months to form a government but he said they could not do that.
Mr Varadkar also said he would not expect a party to enter government unless their core agenda was part of the government's mission.
He said if an agreement is reached between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, they would then reach out to the Greens, Labour and the Social Democrats but he said no party would be bullied into going into government.

**Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are meeting again for further discussions on government formation.
The document will not be a programme for government, but will instead contain broad outlines of key policy areas.
Dealing with the Covid-19 emergency and stimulating economic recovery will be at its centre.
It will also cover housing, health and climate change.
Read more
Could a team of free-thinking Independents form part of next govt.? Alan Kelly (leader of the Labour Party) says other parties should form a 'stable government'. The intention is to share the agreed paper with the Green Party, Labour, the Social Democrats and independents to get their input”.

I’m back… what do you make of that then Joe Brolly?
I feel that the Green Party leadership has done itself considerable damage in their decision to abstain. Labour under Alan Kelly still has a chance’ The Independents show what they are… ‘Independents’. Fianna Fáil show that, while they have the most seats, they have not got the talent to make much of a contribution and if a coalition of F.G and F.F. means replacing Varadkar that would be a mistake. Micheál Martin seems to be a figure from the past now. Too much has happened in the last month.   
(Sinn Féin …well, their relevance is dissolving just now!)

62 DAYS AND COUNTING, COUNTING, counting, co……

Joe Biden for President?
‘I used to be indecisive but now I’m not so sure.’ Joe looks like a decent man but it will take a huge shift in the United States voter psyche to effect this result. Mister Biden reminds me a bit of Jimmy Carter or ‘Jimmy Who’ as he was referred to for a time. He was President from ’77 to ’81. Jimmy was, for a long time, a distant second in the race but he won. So that is some encouragement for Biden.  It would of course be a good thing for Ireland due to his connections here. I have said this before but why is that such a great country in so many ways cannot have a young, dynamic, bright and electable candidate regularly. As Jack Nicholson’s character says to the Tom Cruise character in the film ‘A Few Good Men’ ‘Please tell me you have more, (better) Lieutenant’
 Associated commentary. In recent days or nights, I have, for self-education purposes, tuned into a couple of President Trump’s daily briefings on Fox News. It is surreal whatever that means and really difficult to describe here. Even in the midst of the greatest challenge the world has faced seriousness struggles to surface. A White House news correspondent saw fit to ask a question about something called ‘Tiger King’ whatever that was. It was like asking Dr. Holahan during the nightly briefing about something that happened in Mrs. Brown’s Boys.
Another oddity on my watch of Fox News was the sudden appearance of Conor McGregor in an advertisement for something or other! Now I’ll give surreal another run.

 (I have done a ‘copy and paste’ job of half of a post this week by a writer named Harry Paterson with his view of Boris Johnson. It is well to be aware that Mister Paterson’s brother died recently of Covid 19. If you Google the title below, you can see the remainder)

Boris Johnson: A Life Less Honourable…by Harry Paterson
April 7,
“Boris Johnson; a man who has lived his entire life recklessly, selfishly, irresponsibly; without any regard for the consequences. Because he’s never needed to. His enormous privilege has protected him from any repercussions.
He is a proven pathological liar, swaggering through the years with no empathy or concern for anyone but himself. Indeed, recently bragging about shaking hands with Coronavirus patients. As if it was just another laugh; a jape; just another moment in a life less honourable.
There is a grim irony to him finally, in this manner, being confronted by the consequences of his behaviour. Even he can’t lie and bluster his way out of this mess.
One can only hope that the Prime Minister, as he languishes in intensive care, courtesy of the NHS that he and his party have done so much to destroy, deeply regrets the cheering & jeering doled out to nurses by him and his colleagues; when they voted down a pay-rise for those heroes. If he’s lucky he’ll now be finding out exactly how valuable these people are.
My brother, sadly, wasn’t lucky. On March 28th, Jas, 54, died of Covid-19 in Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre. Unlike the Prime Minister, Jas was denied a ventilator. ‘Operation: Last Gasp’, right, Prime Minister?
I then stood on an empty street, shouting to be heard over the wind, no privacy, no dignity, to tell an old man (our father) on a doorstep his child had died. The most indescribably awful duty I’ve ever had to carry out.”

The Nobody Zone
This is a very interesting radio programme of the moment and also a Radio One Podcast. It involves an Irish serial killer in London between 1953 and 1983. Two episodes of the 6 episodes were aired yesterday, Friday, and 2 more are to get aired on Sat. at 2 pm. As is say ‘check it out’. Just Google the title and you can get it from there.

Stay safe. Play by the rules. Do not let your guard down.
                  and
‘May your Gods go with you’

  








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