Ethical Quandry.

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
There is nothing wrong with laughter... or black comedy.. however I do find it ridiculous when somebody born in 1943 sais "Well, you do not know because you did not live through the war!"


Let us not presume to know more than what we do ;)

I've learned in my short life that I'm wrong much more often than I thought at the time.

There's a real difference between someone with life experience and someone who's an armchair historian.

I've picked my grandparent's brains about the past as much as they would let me. "A bomb fell in the neighbors front garden". To me that's a fact. To them, there's a whole experience behind that one statement. I'm not going to begin to daydream myself into their shoes and pretend I know what it's like.

(In regards to the date (I presume the specific number was your point, "a baby asserting experience"), 1943 would only let them experience reparations, which was probably not insignificant. My grandparents were in their early and late teens. One was a young police/militia officer. I presume they know better than I do.)

-scheherazade
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
About Demjanjuk and others:
I think it is right that there is no lapse of time for murder, and if he is a murderer he deserves to be punished, no matter how old he is. And I think his victims in the KZ (of whom some are still alive) deserve the relief that there is finally justice, over 60 years after the war.
Well... my opposition, as I explained in my previous post, is mainly on religious grounds. It's not merely a Catholic thing, mind you - I believe this is a view that should be common to anyone who believes in God (which, incidentally, would likely be all of his victims - they were, after all, Jewish). It's only if you don't believe in God that you'll want to pursue a criminal until death, in the belief that otherwise he'll escape all punishment.

However, not knowing your beliefs, I'd like to throw in an additional argument, which should be pretty convincing for atheists as well. This is a situation where there's a higher chance the criminal will die (most likely of a heart attack, or simply of old age) in court than that he will actually be found guilty and sentenced to a crime. Can you honestly tell me you consider all this to be justice, given that:
a) He's already been tried before and found not guilty, and therefore may once again be found not guilty (...except by that time, he'd likely be dead).
b) He is effectively being sentenced to death (even if innocent - but let's assume he's not), in spite of the death penalty being forbidden under German law.

...To me, it all seems like basic revenge, and in a pretty contemptible form. I don't think this man's former victims (assuming he's guilty) will get any relief out of all this. If anything, by allowing them to continue their drive for revenge, we're hurting them, psychologically and spiritually.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Don't take this personally, but the Netherlands is one of the few places that might conceivably have been better off had the Germans won. I don't know for how long Germany would continue to pursue Nazi eugenic policies... but even if it lasted all the way until now, at least you'd have a foreign occupant killing your elderly and your disabled children, instead of doing it all by yourself. Makes little difference for the people killed, but at least the rest of the country would object to it, instead of cheerfully supporting these policies as "human rights".

(again, since I don't know what your personal views are, don't take this as a personal attack... unless you too happen to support such things. If you do, I suggest you take a very, very long look at this particular lesson in history)

No problem, but I do know a some of the history, and the original views that made germany that way. We are known throughout the world as the most tolerant and socialist country. And rightnow we have an immigration problem, just because of our tolerance, that attracted "golddiggers" from eastern europe and northern africa, that will probably last for a couple of years, and the few persons who stand up to it to halt it are called "Nazi's" or "rightwingers", and end up with a bullet through their skull. AFAIK germany build their warmachine in the the 1930's to escape out of poverty. If the Nazi's had been victorious, we would have been like the DDR(eastern half of germany after te seperation). Fortunatley the USSR, or those supporting them learned that communism is not the way to go.

Also this point, and while a matter of interesting history, does not sound like something to be adressed at a forum about wing commander...
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Let us not presume to know more than what we do ;)

I've learned in my short life that I'm wrong much more often than I thought at the time.

There's a real difference between someone with life experience and someone who's an armchair historian.

I've picked my grandparent's brains about the past as much as they would let me. "A bomb fell in the neighbors front garden". To me that's a fact. To them, there's a whole experience behind that one statement. I'm not going to begin to daydream myself into their shoes and pretend I know what it's like.

(In regards to the date (I presume the specific number was your point, "a baby asserting experience"), 1943 would only let them experience reparations, which was probably not insignificant. My grandparents were in their early and late teens. One was a young police/militia officer. I presume they know better than I do.)

-scheherazade

My point is that when you were two years old during an occupation, you could not remember anything of it. And as for stories told. each time the tail get's a little longer, when it comes to the point of using a potato to block the barrel of a panzer, you know it's time to stop listening, "Münchausen syndrome" is not uncommon with those people.
 

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
My point is that when you were two years old during an occupation, you could not remember anything of it. And as for stories told. each time the tail get's a little longer, when it comes to the point of using a potato to block the barrel of a panzer, you know it's time to stop listening, "Münchausen syndrome" is not uncommon with those people.

I was 5 when the Russians left.
I'm told there were Russian tanks rolling down the streets to quell protests not long before their withdrawal.

I don't remember any tanks, but I do remember my uncle giving me a toy car, and my grandfather's dog pulling me around on a sled, and I remember sitting on the front staircase ... random stuff. As far as I remember it was a good time.





The syndrome...

They (people my parent's age) laugh about how stupid the Russians were and how incapable and nonthreatening they were. They chat about how they used the system to get ahead, and the kinds of deals they brokered. Like as if life were one big under the table game and they did just fine for themselves.

Then I see the same people tell Americans how hard it was under communism and how they 'endured, survived, and triumphed!'.

Generally, my experience is as you say. The bigger / more captive the audience, the more amazing the story.

-scheherazade
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
The syndrome...

They (people my parent's age) laugh about how stupid the Russians were and how incapable and nonthreatening they were. They chat about how they used the system to get ahead, and the kinds of deals they brokered. Like as if life were one big under the table game and they did just fine for themselves.

Then I see the same people tell Americans how hard it was under communism and how they 'endured, survived, and triumphed!'.

Generally, my experience is as you say. The bigger / more captive the audience, the more amazing the story.

-scheherazade

You know, it's the same thing with the whole Afganistan fight back in the 80s against the Soviets... Movies like Rambo 3 portrayed the Russians as being merciless killers and maybe they were, I wasn't there, I do not know. Thats certainly what the history books told us.

That being said. I've actually spoken to someone who lived within the northern alliance in Afganistan during the Russian occupation. He painted a different story saying that during that time, people were fed and women were actually educated (versus 90s Afganistan). He did say the Russians were harsh, but only to criminals and people who tried to revolt. According him, life was not better after the US interfered.

I don't know if this is true or not, I don't believe all I see in movies, especially not the Rambo movies, but I foundt that a rather interesting perspective.

At least in my opinion, you can't really trust an 80s history book when it comes to the cold war, and I mean on either side. I had a friend translate a history book written in Russian and they paint a picture very similar to the one painted of the Soviets by the US books. It's way too dogmatic, and it seems like these histories were meant to inspire hatred more then knowledge. History books from a later period, around the mid to late 90s and today, I've found to be somewhat more accurate and include both sides of the story.

I don't like that either to be honest with people who claimed they lived through it and this and that. One person who was taking a WW2 class with me back in college claimed that the things I wrote about weren't true that we all should listen to her and she had lived through it. I was like, "You were born in 1944, you didn't live through anything involving WW2, I'm sure your memories begin well after the war ended."
Those kinds of people annoy me... plus I function under what my father used to tell me. People who don't volunteer information about historical events, are usually the ones who saw the most. Example: John Kerry touts his war record... which wasn't more then a couple of months on a patrol boat. Yet a family friend of ours who lost a leg in Vietnam won't volunteer information about what he saw. It wasn't until I asked to interview him for a report that he finally spoke about it, and he was in tears most of the time.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
You know, it's the same thing with the whole Afganistan fight back in the 80s against the Soviets... Movies like Rambo 3 portrayed the Russians as being merciless killers and maybe they were, I wasn't there, I do not know. Thats certainly what the history books told us.

That being said. I've actually spoken to someone who lived within the northern alliance in Afganistan during the Russian occupation. He painted a different story saying that during that time, people were fed and women were actually educated (versus 90s Afganistan). He did say the Russians were harsh, but only to criminals and people who tried to revolt. According him, life was not better after the US interfered.

I don't know if this is true or not, I don't believe all I see in movies, especially not the Rambo movies, but I foundt that a rather interesting perspective.

At least in my opinion, you can't really trust an 80s history book when it comes to the cold war, and I mean on either side. I had a friend translate a history book written in Russian and they paint a picture very similar to the one painted of the Soviets by the US books. It's way too dogmatic, and it seems like these histories were meant to inspire hatred more then knowledge. History books from a later period, around the mid to late 90s and today, I've found to be somewhat more accurate and include both sides of the story.

I don't like that either to be honest with people who claimed they lived through it and this and that. One person who was taking a WW2 class with me back in college claimed that the things I wrote about weren't true that we all should listen to her and she had lived through it. I was like, "You were born in 1944, you didn't live through anything involving WW2, I'm sure your memories begin well after the war ended."
Those kinds of people annoy me... plus I function under what my father used to tell me. People who don't volunteer information about historical events, are usually the ones who saw the most. Example: John Kerry touts his war record... which wasn't more then a couple of months on a patrol boat. Yet a family friend of ours who lost a leg in Vietnam won't volunteer information about what he saw. It wasn't until I asked to interview him for a report that he finally spoke about it, and he was in tears most of the time.

Rambo Pt. 3 does give an accurate version of the afghan people and their wishes(to be left alone), russians were always the bad guys in a cold-war-era movie. And rest assured, all you would need to stop a russian invasion would be a moron on steroids with a dislocated jaw?

The problem that you describe exactly matches mine, but those people were raised, as we were that you should respect the elderly, so in a last-ditch effort to win a conversation, they come with those reasonings. You could win the conversation, easily by saying something like: Right, you were running from the nazi war machine, in your daipers?. Those people, especially with tall tales, can not handle the fact that these days you can use the internet, libraries, etc, etc to verify their stories, and match them with facts, and they are really, really uncomfortable with that. Their loss.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Old people having opinions is some sort of big personal problem for you?

No, Old people who make up ghost stories, and ask to be respected because of the fact that they are old, and they were "alive"(not present), while you were not, and mess up the facts in their favor, is an annoyance, though nothing personal for me.
 

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
You know, it's the same thing with the whole Afganistan fight back in the 80s against the Soviets... Movies like Rambo 3 portrayed the Russians as being merciless killers and maybe they were, I wasn't there, I do not know. Thats certainly what the history books told us.

That being said. I've actually spoken to someone who lived within the northern alliance in Afganistan during the Russian occupation. He painted a different story saying that during that time, people were fed and women were actually educated (versus 90s Afganistan). He did say the Russians were harsh, but only to criminals and people who tried to revolt. According him, life was not better after the US interfered.

I don't know if this is true or not, I don't believe all I see in movies, especially not the Rambo movies, but I foundt that a rather interesting perspective.

At least in my opinion, you can't really trust an 80s history book when it comes to the cold war, and I mean on either side. I had a friend translate a history book written in Russian and they paint a picture very similar to the one painted of the Soviets by the US books. It's way too dogmatic, and it seems like these histories were meant to inspire hatred more then knowledge. History books from a later period, around the mid to late 90s and today, I've found to be somewhat more accurate and include both sides of the story.

I don't like that either to be honest with people who claimed they lived through it and this and that. One person who was taking a WW2 class with me back in college claimed that the things I wrote about weren't true that we all should listen to her and she had lived through it. I was like, "You were born in 1944, you didn't live through anything involving WW2, I'm sure your memories begin well after the war ended."
Those kinds of people annoy me... plus I function under what my father used to tell me. People who don't volunteer information about historical events, are usually the ones who saw the most. Example: John Kerry touts his war record... which wasn't more then a couple of months on a patrol boat. Yet a family friend of ours who lost a leg in Vietnam won't volunteer information about what he saw. It wasn't until I asked to interview him for a report that he finally spoke about it, and he was in tears most of the time.



Later in life I found out that many people I know of who got asylum in the U.S., embellished of outright lied about being politically persecuted.

I do know one person who actually was persecuted, but he was working to unseat the government... Not exactly surprising in a 1-party environment.

When someone wants to find evil, it's easy to show them evil.

The irony of it is that I know of a case where a person's family had trouble (had to deal with anal bureaucrats making everything difficult) precisely because a family member got asylum on false pretenses, blaming the government for things they didn't do.

Ultimately it was symbiotic. U.S. wanted people to hate Russia, emigrants gave the U.S. the support it wanted. In return they got to cross a border and continue with their lives elsewhere.

(I personally don't see 'borders' as a legitimate thing. Who's some a-hole sitting at the capitol to tell me where I can or can't be present...)

The same kind of "at least people had food and medicine" statements were abound in Poland when I was younger. At least from older folks that I had contact with...
I can't say how it is now. Last time I was there was 2 years ago, and I didn't care for talking politics. I did notice that the economy is changing dramatically, especially when it comes to the kinds of jobs that are available. And a LOT more cars...

I know my parents went through college for free (albeit some schmoozing/bribery was involved to gain attendance), and my dad got a pilots license for free. Well, he had to pay for the bus to go back and forth...

I haven't heard stories of anything atrocious done by the Russians to the people in my circle of friends/family. Not to say that it didn't happen elsewhere, I just personally don't know any first hand accounts. I have heard plenty of stories about how generally annoying they were.

Then again I've also heard people complain about how privatization ruined the industries that they initially had (whoever got them sold them off to foreigners so they could go to the alps and brag about their vacation when they got back). But again, people love to be dramatic. I don't live there so I can't say what's really going on. I think Quarto would be much better for that (He lives there now, right? I don't know...).

-scheherazade
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
No, Old people who make up ghost stories, and ask to be respected because of the fact that they are old, and they were "alive"(not present), while you were not, and mess up the facts in their favor, is an annoyance, though nothing personal for me.

Ok, in an effort to get this back on some assemblance of track. There is one thing I've kind of been wondering about. Especially from our European bretheren here. Before, I mentioned a debate we'd had in high school about the trials. My friend sat in on it and was allowed to provide some argument. At one point she even gave a rather impassioned speech about what went on in Germany... I actually had to go back and see if I still had the tape so I could add in what she wrote. I had to rewind the tape a few times, but here's the gyst of it: At one point one of the other students made an angry comment that everyone who was involved in any way with the nazis should have been forced to suffer through their own camps.

That touched a nerve with her, and what she said... well silenced everyone on the side of the debate who was ok with how it happened:

Not everyone who was in the German Army, or even in the Nazi party was evil! You people are quick to condemn the germans for what they did, for the torture, the starvation, and the murder, but where was all the concern when the german people were starving to death and many had to burn their money just to keep warm? Where was the United States then? You helped France and Britain defeat Germany and then quickly retreated back behind the wall of the Atlantic ocean and saw fit to look the other way as France forced Germany to sign that despicable treaty that left our country in poverty as the french stole half our land. All over a war Germany didn't even start. Maybe if someone had bothered to step in and offer aid, perhaps a man like Hitler would never have had the chance to come to power. Germany couldn't defend itself and couldn't even feed it's people. It got so bad that it's citizens were willing to do what ever it took to change what was happening. I will agree that many thought that the camps back then were the right thing and should be prosecuted for it, but as far as I'm concerned, Germany had every right to take back the land that was ours, and attacking france was also justified...​

I'm not going to go in to any more, I think you get the gyst of it. Anyway, no one gave opinions against this, I was just wondering, especially the European members here, what your opinions on this are?
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Not everyone who was in the German Army, or even in the Nazi party was evil!
There could never be an argument against this, also, in a time of war and you are drafted, or had signed on, you are to serve your country, if you do not, you are a deserteur, and a traitor, and all kinds of things could happen to you and your family. So there really was no freedom of choice in this situation.

You people are quick to condemn the germans for what they did, for the torture, the starvation, and the murder, but where was all the concern when the german people were starving to death and many had to burn their money just to keep warm? Where was the United States then? You helped France and Britain defeat Germany and then quickly retreated back behind the wall of the Atlantic ocean and saw fit to look the other way as France forced Germany to sign that despicable treaty that left our country in poverty as the french stole half our land. All over a war Germany didn't even start. Maybe if someone had bothered to step in and offer aid, perhaps a man like Hitler would never have had the chance to come to power. Germany couldn't defend itself and couldn't even feed it's people. It got so bad that it's citizens were willing to do what ever it took to change what was happening.
Afyer WW1 the german economy was a mess, and completely in ruins, there was no aid in terms of food for the people, and there were rules involved to keep germany from rebuilding themselves, and strengthening their economical, and military situation. Building their military machine enabled them to get their economy back on track, and assured jobs for everyone, and food on the table. Also remember that there were a lot less media around, and propoganda was easy to spread, also it was pretty valid to blame the allied forces for the poverty and problems in the 1920's, so there was a lust for revenge, and a common enemy to point out. Hitler was someone who had worked his way up the ranks, and knew damn well how to play his role. The theories and saga's of this "master race", were already long there before Hitler was around. He simply molded, and adapted these stories, and chose the swastika as a symbol, and also used other things from the pagan religions that existed throughout europe but were completely destroyed during Christianisation. Maybe in a 1000 years the symbol will be used again, who knows?

I will agree that many thought that the camps back then were the right thing and should be prosecuted for it, but as far as I'm concerned, Germany had every right to take back the land that was ours, and attacking france was also justified...
Genocide is never justified, but in the military you do what you are told. I never did get the "potential danger of the Jewish", so I never understood why these people were to be exterminated? Also attacking another country is never justified, and if you do out of retaliation you are no better then them after all.

People these days travel all over the world, and meet people from other countries and cultures, there is no longer such a thing as "those people from a country, far, far away, who are evil"
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Not everyone who was in the German Army, or even in the Nazi party was evil! You people are quick to condemn the germans for what they did, for the torture, the starvation, and the murder, but where was all the concern when the german people were starving to death and many had to burn their money just to keep warm? Where was the United States then? You helped France and Britain defeat Germany and then quickly retreated back behind the wall of the Atlantic ocean and saw fit to look the other way as France forced Germany to sign that despicable treaty that left our country in poverty as the french stole half our land. All over a war Germany didn't even start. Maybe if someone had bothered to step in and offer aid, perhaps a man like Hitler would never have had the chance to come to power. Germany couldn't defend itself and couldn't even feed it's people. It got so bad that it's citizens were willing to do what ever it took to change what was happening. I will agree that many thought that the camps back then were the right thing and should be prosecuted for it, but as far as I'm concerned, Germany had every right to take back the land that was ours, and attacking france was also justified...​

I'm not going to go in to any more, I think you get the gyst of it. Anyway, no one gave opinions against this, I was just wondering, especially the European members here, what your opinions on this are?
Well, there is a lot of truth to it, but there's also a lot of hyperbole - it's like killing someone, and saying you had every right to do it because he looked at you funny.

It is true that the peace treaties were horrible for Germany. One number is enough to put in perspective - 1988. That number, that's the year when Germany would finish paying off its war reparations as stipulated by the Treaty of Versailles. Now, remember, historically 1989 was the year when East and West Germany reunited and became sovereign again, with virtually no debts and a vastly improved economy. So, even in spite of WWII, in spite of the utter destruction of the country and further territorial losses, Germany ended up freeing itself of its WWI legacy only *one year* later than it would have, had it stuck faithfully to the peace treaty. This *clearly* means the treaty was far too harsh.

However... while the main party responsible for WWI is clearly and obviously France, it's disingenious for Germans to claim they "didn't even start it". Like France, Germany had been boisterously pushing for war for quite a while. Then, during the war, Germany turned down all proposals of third-party assistence in a negotiated peace. They most certainly did bear moral responsibility for most of the war - they didn't start it, but they wanted it, and once it started, they wanted to continue it as long as necessary to break France *and* gain more land in the east. You have to remember, Hitler's "lebensraum" policy was nothing new, it was based on the old "Mitteleuropa" concept (indeed, arguably, even today German policies remain based on those concepts - the main change being that instead of a military take-over, they seek to dominate Europe via the EU).

Territorial losses are another thing where Germans might have perceived themselves as victims, but in truth got off far too lightly after WWI. They were forced to return Alsace and Lorraine - boohoo. Yes, these places are inhabited by ethnic Germans... but gosh darn it, if the Tour de France was banned from going through Alsace and Lorraine prior to WWI because it triggered pro-French demonstrations, you have to wonder just how happy those Alsatians were under Prussian rule (and in any case, Prussian rule only begun in 1870, after taking these lands from France). Denmark? All the lands Prussia gave up in Denmark were given up under a referendum, where the locals made clear that they consider themselves Danish. Then, there's the east. Yes, Prussia ended up giving up a lot of territory to Poland - but gosh darn it, all of Greater Poland (as the name might hint) was inhabited by a Polish majority, so how do the Germans justify the claim that it's their land? Indeed, almost all the territory they surrendered in the east was merely a part of the lands that Prussia had taken *from* Poland at the end of the 18th century (the one exception being Upper Silesia - this country, also inhabited by a Polish majority, the Prussians had taken from Austria; this too, was an aggressive war of conquest). The true German lands, the places that had been ruled by Germans and inhabited by Germans for centuries prior to WWI, they all stayed within Germany. It's well worth noting the difference between Prussia and Germany. Prussia, one of the core states of Germany, suffered vast territorial losses, but still failed to give up all the non-German lands it had grabbed through war over the centuries. Meanwhile, outside of Prussia, Germany suffered no territorial losses whatsoever. Really, if the Bavarians or Saxons have an issue with the Treaty of Versailles, perhaps they should have stayed out of the German Empire - joining the rabidly militaristic, expansionist Prussia, they should've known war was inevitable.

(Austro-Hungary, now that's a different story - they truly were the victim of WWI)

And finally, "where was all the concern when starving Germans were burning money just to keep warm". Well... as a matter of fact, America very quickly gave up its share of German war reparations, and started giving aid to Germany - so, to utter this accusation in an American classroom is rather problematic. And the rest of the world? Gee, I do wonder why France didn't give any aid to Germany, having just lost over a million men, and having been deprived of the output of its most heavily industrialised north-east provinces for years to come, all due to the war.

All in all, I have a lot of sympathy for Germans. I understand why they felt humiliated after WWI, and I understand why they desperately wanted a revision of the treaties, even if it meant another war. But there's a difference between understanding, and considering to be justified. The common people of Germany suffered a lot - someone who had been born to a German family in Posen and then left his home because it was transferred to Poland could certainly feel sore about it. But the only way this would actually justify Hitler's rise to power is if these losses had been unjust. And they weren't - all things considered, the treaty with Germany was remarkably kind and equitable (...as opposed to the treaties with Austria and Hungary - they were criminal!).

The same kind of "at least people had food and medicine" statements were abound in Poland when I was younger. At least from older folks that I had contact with... [...]

I know my parents went through college for free (albeit some schmoozing/bribery was involved to gain attendance), and my dad got a pilots license for free. Well, he had to pay for the bus to go back and forth...

I haven't heard stories of anything atrocious done by the Russians to the people in my circle of friends/family. Not to say that it didn't happen elsewhere, I just personally don't know any first hand accounts. I have heard plenty of stories about how generally annoying they were.
Here's the thing. Communism as a system was literally built on corpses. The years immediately after the war, they were a bloodbath. Anyone who had been involved with the Home Army (Armia Krajowa) or with the Polish Armed Forces in the West was constantly at risk of death. Ironically, probably the safest places for people like that were the Russian concentration camps in Siberia. They *were* utter hell - but at least, once you were in such a camp, you would be forgotten by the rest of the system. You were likely to die of malnutrition, exhaustion, cold... but no one would come and execute you. On the other hand, people in Poland who made themselves known to the authorities (the government promised them amnesty - for God knows what crimes - but it frequently broke its promises) risked being arrested by the security services, in which case they could die during interrogation, be executed without trial, or be tried on trumped-up charges and get executed anyway.

Now, all this stopped pretty abruptly after Stalin's death. I know of at least a few cases where highly decorated soldiers returned from the United Kingdom to Poland after the war, got arrested, spent a year or two in prison, were released but harassed (denied housing, work, et cetera) for a few years... and suddenly, after Stalin's death, reinstated into the armed forces and promoted.

After 1953, and especially after 1956, the system worked on more or less bloodless repressions (the exceptions being the various strikes, which were repressed), which meant that anyone who kept quiet was left in peace. Though you do have to keep in mind that everyday lives under communism *were* repressions enough - food rationing was constant, and frequently (more and more frequently as the system approached collapse) total absence of some basic commodities. People waited in lines for everything - meat, toilet paper, and so on.

But yes, most people did not suffer active repressions (which is not to say repressions had stopped - they were simply limited to certain groups in society, priests, students, scientists, artists...). And, furthermore, the Russians were *never* the source of repressions. They were the ones in charge - but they made sure that it was their Polish representatives that were responsible for all the repressions. A Russian general might suggest that someone should be "dealt with", but it would be the Polish security services that actually took care of it.

This is the reason why there's such a discrepancy between the stories of the people you know, and the general, wider reality. They'd have to be pretty old to experience beatings, interrogation and torture (they'd have to be pretty dead to experience executions). The system they did experience was indeed a weird cat-and-mouse game, where the government was no longer trying to destroy society, but instead to preserve the society it had created - and was too utterly inept and corrupt to support its own people, which meant that for a lot of people, the real struggle in life was to "outwit" the government - find out who you have to bribe, what organisation you have to join (and then how to weasel out of actually doing anything in that organisation) in order to get the benefits of being "inside" the system. This may seem laughable, it may seem harmless, but don't let that fool you - even people who had never been touched (and remember, there were people getting beaten up or even killed by the security services right up to 1989) could certainly claim to have been victims of repression. Hell, I reckon the fact that I had to use newspapers instead of toilet paper on several occasions makes me a victim of communist repressions :p.

Then again I've also heard people complain about how privatization ruined the industries that they initially had (whoever got them sold them off to foreigners so they could go to the alps and brag about their vacation when they got back).
The problem isn't privatisation as such. That was, and is, a necessity - there's nothing more economically inept than government-owned companies. The real problem is that the govenment is selling off stolen property - it's "privatising" companies that often had a long history of private ownership, and were nationalised by the communists. Instead of returning them to their rightful owners, the government is selling them. That's a crime - or at least, it would be considered so, in any normal system...
 

scheherazade

Rear Admiral
My family had/has the strangest connections. We've had various government ministers and business people at our family gatherings. And as long as I remember the army was 'doing favors' on account of some relative(s) being fairly high up.

Other people I've met my parents age are definitely younger than the 'bad years' you describe.



There's been a few cases around here of government taking private land, and giving it to corporations to develop (turn into shopping centers). Unfortunately people are powerless to oppose, and even if they could the people in government aren't accountable for their actions - 'the government did it'.

-scheherazade
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
My family had/has the strangest connections. We've had various government ministers and business people at our family gatherings. And as long as I remember the army was 'doing favors' on account of some relative(s) being fairly high up.

Other people I've met my parents age are definitely younger than the 'bad years' you describe.



There's been a few cases around here of government taking private land, and giving it to corporations to develop (turn into shopping centers). Unfortunately people are powerless to oppose, and even if they could the people in government aren't accountable for their actions - 'the government did it'.

-scheherazade

eh... You show me a government that hasnt done that at one point or another.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
eh... You show me a government that hasnt done that at one point or another.
Well... until a few years ago, I'd have pointed to the US government as a modern-day example - they had the laws to take property away from ordinary people, but the laws clearly stated that this can only be done for public construction projects (government-owned stuff, military bases, roads, etc.). But then there was the case of that woman who lost her property to make space for a shopping centre, and suddenly you had judges climbing over each other in their eagerness to explain that where the law only permits expropriation for public projects, it really means expropriation in any case where a corporation's big enough to pull the necessary strings.

It is pretty typical, I suppose, that this historic moment passed by quietly, with most of America not even hearing about their right to own property being severely curtailed.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
And the property taken from Mrs Kelo (sp?) that was supposed to have been used for the mall now is an undeveloped eyesore, after the company in question basically said "Nah... changed our mind".

While it does suck for Mrs. Kelo and for setting a judicial precedent, I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude towards the New London legislators who's got absolutely bupkis for their efforts save vilification.
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
And the property taken from Mrs Kelo (sp?) that was supposed to have been used for the mall now is an undeveloped eyesore, after the company in question basically said "Nah... changed our mind".

While it does suck for Mrs. Kelo and for setting a judicial precedent, I can't help but feel a little schadenfreude towards the New London legislators who's got absolutely bupkis for their efforts save vilification.

This sounds somewhat like a movement that was somewhat popular back in the 70s! Some... idiot thought that by tearing down ghettos to put up shopping malls and sports arenas, it would solve the poor problem... but all it did was put shopping malls and sports arenas in bad neighborhoods...
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
No, the drive behind the taking was that a strip mall would bring in more tax revenue for the city; it had nothing to do with helping the poor other than those poor old politicians wanting to do something with other peoples' money.

(If you didn't sense the sarcasm of that last bit, update your web browser. :p )
 
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