Nikole's note: I've decided that this page will be carried over from one issue to the next. All letters received throughout the year will be posted here.
"Hell in Shelters" (Nov/2017) ...,
1968, Intelligent Life and the Lunar Landing (Nov/2017) ...,
President Trump and past and present cognitive dissonance (Sep/2017) ...,
Vagabond Ship Greetings for 2017 (Jan/2017) ..., Cruelty to Animals (Aug/01/16)...,
Vagabond's future (11/07/15) ..., Soutter, Art Brut (06/11/15) ...
Dear Nikole – With winter coming on, “Hell in Shelters” is a good reminder that the homeless continue to be homeless! The topic came up at a party Saturday evening and people got pretty excited talking about the situation, men and women and kids are still sleeping on the streets. Tiny houses are a kind of fad and in Detroit they are building them for homeless people – give people a home and THEN help them to change their lives. Also, they are doing that in Texas and Oregon. You can just google it. Sure there are people who don’t want to be ‘tied down’ but they are a minority. I hope I see improvement in my lifetime. Thanks for drawing attention.
1968, Intelligent Life and the Lunar Landing.
by Courtenay Barnett
It was 1968.
I had been sent to a Catholic High School and had a number of Jesuits from the Boston area of the US as teachers. One striking contrast between the older and the younger ones, as a general rule, was that the older Jesuits saw the sun shining on most everything that US foreign policy represented, inclusive of the Vietnam war being embraced as a necessity to stop the spread of Communism. The younger Jesuits were far less sanguine and told/taught us totally different lessons about the US use of napalm and agent orange and educated us on the horrors of war. That was the time that was.
About then I heard of a planned space trip destined for the moon. So surreptitiously in 1969 I journeyed to the Kennedy Space Centre and slipped on to Apollo 11 (unbeknown to anyone but some select family members and some close friends). I promised myself to remain in contact and fortuitously was able to access a duplicate communications system on board, obviously placed as a back-up in the eventuality of a failure of the main devices.
When we landed Neil hopped off first and Buzz followed while I stealthily exited via a hatch. At first I thought of returning with the flight, but with the communication device and the opportunity to explore the Moon I decided to remain with the firm knowledge that what man had accomplished mankind would repeat and I could eventually on a Russian or Chinese of even some other American flight return to earth at a later date.
How does a man whose close and immediate family are designated by neo-Nazis as filth and the dregs of humanity then fail to condemn, without equivocation or excuses, such racism? Trump is either ignorant of history, or is so enarmoured by the idea of White supremacy, that he fails to comprehend that the ideas enacted under Hitler being regurgitated in the US in 2017 by persons who see him as President and being equivalently praiseworthy as Hitler is an affront and not a compliment.Personal recollections
As a student in London, I occasionally marched and protested against that which I thought was unjust or simply wrong. Racism in general and Apartheid in particular in South Africa provided cause to venture into the streets of London. On one occasion in the East End of London, there was a National Front (NF) march (the equivalent in the 1970s of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the US today). The NF was permitted to march along the street. The anti-racist protesters stood behind barriers and there was the usual chanting and howling of slogans and counter-slogans for or against the cause. That occasion comes back to mind because a police officer on the street-side of the barrier, with obvious bitterness and contempt, without any disturbance or civil disobedience on my part, just looked me straight in the face and yelled “Black Bastard”. Guess he found himself on the right side of the fence on that occasion. Standing in Trafalgar Square or opposite South Africa House was itself a just and righteous cause being advocated for, I thought then, and think so all the more now.
With a background such as mine, it then comes as no great surprise that I have more than a casual interest in the recent events of neo-Nazi, KKK and White supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, as shown at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1Uao75uM2k.
To hear “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” chanted these several years later after the Allied forces defeated the Nazis in World War II, brings a different sort of recollection to mind, such as images of Auschwitz and “sieg heil” chants before and after Crystal night ( Kristallnacht).
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