Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (16)
By Kathy Martin…
Written May 2014
Continuing from last week’s ramble………………….
Incidentally, concentration camps weren’t a German invention, but a British one that was conceived during the Second Boer (South African) war 1899-1902. The reason was that Britain, with the “best army in the world” was being beaten by a numerically inferior “rag-tag army of Boer farmers”!
The following is an extract from Wikipedia:– “The British also implemented a “scorched earth” policy under which they targeted everything within the controlled areas that could give sustenance to the Boer guerrillas with a view to making it harder and harder for the Boers to survive. As British troops swept the countryside, they systematically destroyed crops, burned homesteads and farms, poisoned wells, and interned Boer and African women, children and workers in concentration camps”.
Admittedly there is a difference between “concentration” and “extermination” camps, but for Britain, that “Bastion of democracy and fair play”, to have had a military policy that directly (rather than incidentally) targeted civilians may come as a shock to some people!
Having had a mini ramble within a ramble, I will now get back to the topic of Adolf Hitler.
During the First World War he earned the Iron Cross for bravery on two separate occasions. As these events happened long before Hitler had any political influence, and as the highest rank that he attained was that of a corporal, these medals would have been genuinely earned, rather than “honorary” presentations to a General or other high ranking officer.
After the First World War ended the German Royal Family was deposed, but the government of Germany remained largely in the hands of the nobility. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 did impose unjustly harsh punitive measures on Germany; nevertheless, the ineptitude of the government during in the Weimar Republic era gave rise to rampant inflation and unemployment.
The popularity of the German Socialist (NAZI) Party increased rapidly during the 1920s, until, finally, in 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. The 1932 census shows that 6 million people (about 33% of the population) were unemployed. In 1938 this figure is reported to be zero (0%)! A cynic might say that this figure was reached by either drafting people into the armed forces or employing them in the armament factories. As this was the time when German Jews were experiencing difficulties in gaining employment (for example Jewish doctors were forbidden to practice), the census was probably “fiddled”.
Nevertheless, the NAZI party did introduce a number of practices and policies that were beneficial to the health of the population. Smoking was banned on trains and most workplaces and water supplies were also cleaned up, heavy metals such as lead and mercury were removed. There were a number of Government sponsored health care insurance plans and women were encouraged to undergo breast cancer screening.
High productivity was encouraged by the “Strength Through Joy” policy. Over‑achieving workers were able to avail themselves of holidays on board cruise ships to the Iberian Peninsula, or apartment or chalet holidays at the seaside or scenic settings in the mountains.
Perhaps both Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte ultimately suffered from a megalomania that seems to affect all politicians throughout history, who have held power for too many years?
I was somewhat puzzled, bemused and bewildered by the recent decision by the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) to demand that Turkey pay a Euro 90,000,000 (£70,000,000, TL 245,700,000) “fine” to those poor, innocent little Greek Cypriot cherubs that live south of the Green Line on this island for its “invasion” in 1974!
IT WAS NOT AN INVASION!
When Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1959/60, three countries (Britain, Greece and Turkey) signed an agreement to protect the rights of the minority Turkish-Cypriot population. In effect this gave each (and/or all) of these countries the right to intervene with diplomatic or military force to protect any of the civilian population. The Greek and Greek-Cypriot terrorist organisation, EOKA started the genocide of the Turkish-Cypriot population and “Hellenisation” of the island on Christmas Day 1963 – 11, yes 11, years before the so-called Turkish “invasion”!
In 1974, Britain, having lost nearly 500 servicemen to EOKA terrorists during the lead up to independence was (somewhat understandably) reluctant to honour its responsibility as a guarantor power. Greece, being the perpetrator, obviously had no intention of bring “peace” to Cyprus, so it was left to Turkey, the only remaining guarantor power to “play the white man”. Then, because the Greek and Greek Cypriot propaganda machine worked to airbrush reality out of history, the Turks and Turkish Cypriots became international pariahs!
Apparently it was as long ago as 2001 that the ECHR found Turkey “guilty” of protecting the Turkish Cypriot nation from genocide. So why has it taken the court 13 years to dream up the amount of reparation?
Here is another poser! The Turkish “invasion” took place in 1974 when Cyprus was an independent country. Cyprus (the Greek part) didn’t join the European Union itself (though a member of the EEC) until 2004, 30, yes 30 years after the Turkish “invasion”! Using this logic of “backdating” liabilities for invasions does it mean that Britain (sorry, England) can claim reparations from France (sorry, Normandy) for William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066? As I said above, the mind boggles!
Here is another thought, what will happen to Turkey if it declines to “bankroll” a country that it doesn’t recognise? Will it be prevented from joining the European Union? WOW, in my opinion, the European Union has already decided that it will never admit, possibly, the largest Islamic country in the world into its cosy “Christian” club!
Could sanctions be applied? Well, yes, but should this happen, we in Kibris could thank our Turkish mainland allies for their support in the past by crossing the Green line, buy products and then export them to Turkey! The downside of course would be our support of the Greek Cypriot economy, oh, but what a jape!
Regular readers will know that I have been on holiday for a week, spent mostly in the Turkish capital, Istanbul. After rambling about the meaning of “life, the universe and everything”, I want to make public an incident that typifies the warmth and friendliness that both my wife and I have received from all of the Turkish Cypriots we have met since we settled here in 2006.
Since our arrival, we have been avid listeners of Radyo Bayrak (Flag Radio), the government sponsored “English” speaking local radio station. Apart from news broadcasts in English, French, and (even!) Greek etc it has a couple of informative programmes in the morning and, during most afternoons, an “easy listening” music programme hosted by DJ Zel.
We have rather frequently phoned Zel for a song to be played, and, also, occasionally phoned Can (pronounced Jan) Gazi with similar requests. We have twice been honoured with invitations to visit their studios and offices and have, as a result, met many of the DJs and presenters.
To get back to our holiday, during the morning of our first day in Istanbul, we were sitting at a cafe when our phone rang. It was DJ Zel! We had mentioned that we were going to be on holiday, she just phoned to ask if we had arrived safely and, also, to wish my wife a happy (Turkish) Mothers Day on Sunday, 11th May! This was a spontaneous gesture that we really appreciated! However, as I said above, we have had nothing, but excellent relations with any and all of the Turkish Cypriots that we have met so far!
We spent the last couple of days of our holiday with Mike, my brother-in-law who now lives in Bulgaria, some 80 Km (50 miles) south of the River Danube. On our first day he took us north with the intention of having a meal at a riverside cafe. After parking the car we walked along the riverbank, but Mike’s brow became a bit furrowed! On arriving at the cafe site, we looked down to see the horizontal bar of a set of railings just above the surface of the river! This was where the tables and chairs would normally have been, as shown in the attached photograph! Railings of this type are usually about 1.5 metres (4ft 7inches) high, and at that point the River Danube was about 500 metres/yards wide, so there was a lot of water in the 1,777 mile (2,860km) long river!