Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (19)
By Kathy Martin…
Written June 2014
Here is an interesting fact and/or “pub quiz” question! Which was the first country in the world to adopt the Euro as its legal tender? I didn’t know it until I did my research, it was Reunion, a French dependency in the Indian Ocean, Malagasy (Madagascar), then right a bit and India, and then down a lot! Apparently French administrative areas abroad have the same legal and administrative rights as those in mainland France (Champagne, Burgundy etc), so they use the same currency!
As Reunion is further east than Europe and, therefore, nearer the International dateline, the sun would have risen earlier there than it would in Europe. This would mean that banks and other businesses would have begun trading, before Europe was even awake!
While on the subject of the Euro, I find it weird that, although both countries are members of the European Union, neither Britain nor Denmark; amongst others, use the “single currency” Euro.
I find it weird because, when a number of people join an organisation, they should not be able to individually pick and choose which of the organisations rules and regulations they will abide by and ignore the ones that don’t suit them!
Imagine the harrumphing in Westminster should Yorkshire say that it wants to remain in England/Britain, but that it now wants to use the groat as its legal currency!
6th June was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings of allied troops, by glider and parachute on the mainland and landing craft on the designated beaches. By chance I stumbled across a (UK) tabloid newspaper that had about 6 pages devoted to celebrating (?) this event. On each of these pages appeared statements by the journalists such as “thus began the process of freeing Europe from the Nazi jackboot”!
This shows a complete lack of care and indifference to research on the part of the journalists! Without wishing to demean the often herculean efforts of the forces (on both sides), both the attackers and defenders on 6th June had had a comparatively “cushy” life since Dunkirk in 1940 when compared with their colleagues in North Africa and Italy!
Since the battles of El-Aleman in 1942, the first (1st to 27th July 1942) ended in what can best be described as a “no-score draw”, but it did halt the advance of the Axis powers into Egypt. It was only after the second battle (23rd Oct to 4th Nov 1942) that the Allies were able to advance (fight their way) from the right-hand to almost the left-hand side of North Africa.
To put this into perspective, the entire United States of America will fit into the Sahara desert; therefore, it was akin to fighting from the Canadian border to Florida!
The Allies invaded Sicily in July 1943, then the Italian mainland and Italy surrendered in September 1943. Therefore, journalists, while your statements about D-day of “starting to free Europe from the Nazi jackboot,” may make good press, historical facts show a different story!
Incidentally, although Italy surrendered in 1943, the German forces remained and (along with many Italians) continued fighting until they finally surrendered on 2nd May 1945, only a few days before Germany itself surrendered!
Therefore, the military campaign in Italy “the soft underbelly of Europe” that was both devised by and insisted on by a brandy-swilling Winston Churchill took 2 years, while the rest of Europe only took 11 months! A quick look at a relief map of Italy shows that the terrain favours the defender, especially one who has had time to “dig in” and fortify. No wonder that the Italian campaign has been quietly “forgotten” by British popular historians! To remember it would likely besmirch the reputation of Britain’s “greatest wartime leader”, who was also the architect of the disastrous Dardanelle campaign in World War One! What a military genius!
A little while ago, just as we were getting into our car, which was parked outside our apartment block, two young (obviously) African natives approached us. They asked us (in Turkish) if we lived in the block, to which we replied (in Turkish) that we did. They then asked (in broken Turkish) if we knew if any flats were available to rent, and if so, who should they contact. We replied (in very broken Turkish) that we did not know, but we told them where the flat agents’ office was (mainly in English by this time!). We then continued to converse in English, which was everyone’s “first” language!
It turned out that they were Nigerian students at one of the universities here. When we complimented them on their command of the English language, they responded (with broad grins) “hey you white guys conquered us Niggers and now you are amazed that we can speak your language”!
Their jokey, self-depreciating use of the word “n*****” caught my attention. According to some of the British press over that past few months, the use of the “N*****” word is an offence that ranks only slightly below treason, rape and murder!
Some months ago, there was talk of re-making a film of the World War 2 air attack on dams using the innovative “bouncing bomb”. In this film the Wing Commander (Guy Gibson, a real historical person) who led the “Dam Busters” had a black Labrador dog called “Nigger”, also a real historical character. In real life “Nigger” was the codeword for a successful raid. However, in the politically correct 21st century, the “N” word might have been considered offensive to some people! It was suggested that the dog should be re-named “Digger”!
Ok, let’s re-word history.
From today, the leader of the Allied forces, Lord Wellington; at the Battle of Waterloo shall be known as “Lord Chelsea”! Why? The word “Wellington” implies a heavy, galumphing boot, while the Chelsea Boot is a rather chic fashion item!
While we are on the subject of the Battle of Waterloo, let’s further rephrase history.
Rather than upset the French (as they lost the battle) and upset tender little history students, who might then realise that in a “battle” soldiers get hurt, mutilated, scream in agony and get killed, and call it the “Waterloo Event”!
History books could then say:- “At the Waterloo Event, Britain and her Allies were awarded the gold medal, but the French, they only managed the silver medal, but as they had no support from anyone else, this was a very creditable achievement”!
In fact the French did have help (albeit unwittingly) from one member of the allied forces, this was the Dutch Crown Prince William of Orange, the original “Silly Billy”!
He galloped about the battlefield like a madman (which he was!) giving stupid and conflicting orders that ensured the deaths of many allied soldiers. As he was of noble, indeed royal birth, his orders had to be obeyed without question!
Anyway, getting back to the “N” word, apparently a member of a “boy band”, One Direction, has a video of himself that is published on a “social media” (?) (personally, I don’t “do” Facebook and You tube) site showing him smoking cannabis and mumbling the “N” word.
The many (or few?) of the viewers of this trash were outraged at his use of the “N” word. Pardon me, and call me old fashioned, but his language can be remedied simply by “washing his mouth out with soap”!
However, to me his use of a proven addictive and potentially mind destroying drug that used to be (and probably still is) an illegal drug by a pop idol, who in that position is also a role model to his impressionable fans, is far more serious, in fact, a ticking time bomb!
A final (for this week anyway!) word on derogatory words, it is not the word itself (our Nigerian genuine “niggers”) were very happy to use the word, it is the tone used that makes it derogatory or not!