Jun 242019
 

Unknown Anne Frank 1941
Merwedeplein, Amsterdam

 

As I watch the – if you ask me pretty vapid- discussion develop that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) started by using the term “concentration camps” to describe the places on the US-Mexico border where “migrants” are being held, and where some of them die, I think back. Now, I actually like AOC, because she’s young (29) and that means she’s the future, simple as that.

And if there’s anything America needs today it’s young people, not even more Joe Biden or Donald Trump or Nancy Pelosi. America’s young people need someone to speak up for them, and the old guard is not going to do that, if only because they have no idea what their grandchildren are thinking or doing.

Being just 29 also means AOC will say silly things and make mistakes, but more importantly it means she’s allowed to make mistakes. So when she calls the border facilities “concentration camps”, I don’t have a huge problem with that, certainly now that kids are actually dying in them. As I read has happened.

 

As bad as the Holocaust was, there’s no need to give anyone the exclusive right to use the “concentration camp” term. History has been rewritten enough to exclude the gays, the Roma, the gypsies victims etc etc who were “exterminated” in WWII, from our past. Could AOC have done better by using “internment camps” or some such term? Yeah, maybe, but she was going for the shock effect, and she wasn’t around in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

Was she perhaps wrong in going for the shock effect? Not that I can see. She just doesn’t understand it the same way older generations than hers do. Where she did slip is in blaming it all on Trump. Because what comes out now is how Obama was the master “extraditor”. Under his 8-year administration, countless -100s of 1000s, millions even?- migrants were extradited that the media didn’t pay attention to.

None of that excuses what is happening under Trump, but it does provide perspective. As does America’s long-term support for the very people whose ancestors were the victims of the actual WWII camps, in suppressing another people, the Palestinians, in much the same way their parents were suppressed and murdered . That is something I have a hard time comprehending. And that inevitably makes me wonder what Anne Frank would have made of it all. Who, far more than Benjamin Netanyahu, and far more than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would be considered an authority on the topic.

I published the article below on January 11 2010, almost 9 1/2 years ago. Time doesn’t just fly, time has gone hypersonic. AOC’s focus is different from what that of older generations is. But you can’t hold that against her. She’s not trying to insult WWII victims, or their legacies. She should probably still be careful though, about swinging big terms like “concentration camps” around, and about blaming everything wrong on Trump. But, as I said, she’s allowed to make mistakes.

Here’s my take on the death of Miep Gies at the age of 100, whereas Anne Frank never made it beyond 15. Originally from Monday, January 11, 2010:

 

 

Ilargi: Miep Gies died today. She was 100 years old. Born Hermine Santrouschitz in 1909, Miep worked for Otto Frank in Amsterdam when WW2 started. She helped hide the Frank family in the “achterhuis” on the Prinsengracht, the secret room (annex) in the shadow of the Westerkerk church the family lived in for a long time, until they were betrayed.

After Anne was put on a train to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in 1944 and died there from typhus in March 1945, Miep managed to retrieve her diary, which she handed to Anne’s father, Otto, the sole survivor from the household, in 1945, after the war had ended. In 1947 Otto had his daughter’s diary published, and everything else, including now Miep Gies, is history.

Now I’m not Jewish, nor was I born and bred in Amsterdam proper, but I am an Amsterdammer nonetheless, and have for as long as I can remember been aware of what happened to the Jordaan neighborhood in the city that borders on the part of the Prinsengracht where the Westerkerk and the Anne Frank House are. To this day, there are a ton of words in Amsterdam that are unique to the city, and there are a ton more in the Dutch language at large, that are all joods, jiddish, yiddish.

Every Dutch person knows that Mokum means Amsterdam. A yiddish term. Like mazzel! (good luck), bajes (prison), gabber (mate, friend), gein (fun), geteisem (‘bad’ people), goochem (smart), jatten (to steal), kapsones (“hot air” behavior), penose (criminals), pleite (outtahere), schlemiel (dumbass), smeris (cop), smoes (excuse), sores (trouble), stiekem (stealthily), tof (nice!).

The Dutch language would be a hell of a lot poorer if not for the centuries of Jewish culture that enriched the country, and most of all Amsterdam. Rembrandt and Vermeer, and all of their 17th century peers, would not have created what they did without the Jews. The tulip bubble, well, perhaps, but the spice trade that made the city the center of the universe would never have happened without Amsterdam’s Jordaan people. And no, rich they were not. In fact, for most of them most of the time, they were the poorest of the poor.

And it’s all still there, the culture, the songs, the humor, the words. It’s just that the people are not. They were renditioned away.

Through the ages, Holland was a refuge for Jewish people from all over Europe. In the 1940’s, they were put on transport trains to camps, and 90% never came back, including Anne. The city center, and the Jordaan, may now be populated with well-to-do 21st century citizens, but if you take the time to stand still on one of the many bridges in the hood and you listen well, you can still feel the emptiness left behind by those who were forced to die like so much cattle.

And that, my friends, is my personal hinterland. That is me.

And don’t worry, I know about the Dutch part in the slave trade, and a 100,000 other despicable trades. My people are about as guilty as they come. And that is me too. But my people were also welcoming the Jews for centuries when they were cast out everywhere else.

History is a multi-pronged tool, a bird of many feathers and a beast of many moods. Nothing changed there, and nothing ever will. We are a blood-thirsty species, more, much more, than we are willing to allow. It will decide our way forward as it has our ways in the past. And we will not make it a pretty picture. We simply can’t. We’ll be cruel as can be. As we are.

But we will also have always another Anne Frank and another Miep Gies. One lived to be 15 years old, the other 100. Both saw, first-hand, more gratuitous violence than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes. There is some layer of comfort in there, and I hope you will forgive me for not being able to identify it off the bat. I’m just sure it’s there.

Here’s Miep Gies in her own words:

I am not a hero

‘More than twenty thousand Dutch people helped to hide Jews and others in need of hiding during those years. I willingly did what I could to help. My husband did as well. It was not enough.

There is nothing special about me. I have never wanted special attention. I was only willing to do what was asked of me and what seemed necessary at the time.”

 

 

 

 

Home Forums Concentration Camps

This topic contains 12 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  VietnamVet 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #48158

    Unknown Anne Frank 1941 Merwedeplein, Amsterdam   As I watch the – if you ask me pretty vapid- discussion develop that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (
    [See the full post at: Concentration Camps]

    #48163

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    A very timely piece Ilargi.
    Thoughtful and considerate; a very well done you.
    Thank you…

    A bit more: Trump, despicable though he is, is in fact, a mirror of the society that put him in office.
    One should be in front of a mirror when casting blame…

    #48164

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    At the end of the 20th century Francis Fukuyama declared the end of history with the fall of the Soviet Union. He was right but for the wrong reasons. Democracy, government by and for the people, died. Plutocrats won. They’ve privatized education and purchased western governments. The teaching of history ended. Consolidated media dispenses propaganda 24/7. Elections are manipulated to win the vote.

    “Concentration Camp” is another example of identity politics and the divergence of meanings until groups no longer converse with each other. Barbed wire and machine guns made internment camps possible. The British first used them in 1899 to imprison Boer families in their victory over the Afrikaner Republics. The Nazis used “Konzentrationslagers” from 1933 to house political (asocial) prisoners, forced laborers, and the Final Solution once it was given the go ahead. It is an apt term for the Detention Centers in the USA. If Mike Pompeo and John Bolton are ever successful in starting the Iranian War (they tried last week) and if a nuclear war is avoided; I have no doubt immigrant Muslims in America will be detained in the centers in addition to Central American families fleeing oppression and climate change. American Dominionists aren’t the least bit concerned about the families’ fate. They are splitting families apart right now in order to discourage migration.

    #48166

    tabarnick
    Participant

    Yes yes yes. Camps for illegal migrants are concentration camps. Illegal immigrants are put there. And sometimes die in them. Concentration camps, I say. Nursing homes are concentration camps for senior citizens. They are put there. And sometimes they die there. Concentration camps. Prisons are concentration camps for lawbreakers. They are put there. And sometimes they die in them. Concentration camps, I say. Hospitals are concentration camps for the sick. They are put there. And sometimes they die there. Concentration camps. Kindergarden are concentration camps for toddlers. They are put there. And sometimes they die in them. Concentration camps, I say.

    Argghh! It’s nonsense.

    #48167

    tabarnick
    Participant

    VietnamVet

    “Central American families fleeing oppression and climate change”

    There is climate change that they are fleeing. That is utter nonsense.

    Central American are not fleeing oppression. They are fleeing their own Central American criminals, their own Central American corruption, their own Central American graft, their own Central American violent culture, their own countries win-lose mentalities, their Central American country’s failure to provide them with a decent life.

    I have sympathy for them, but that does not mean the billions of people in the Third World should just move to the western countries. That would just destroy them. No, I believe that they should stay within their own countries, and make them better places, like a growing number of East Asian countries have done in a few decades. Either they will succeed, and they will have made the world a better place. Or they are incapable of fixing their very own country. Which may mean that, maybe, just maybe, allowing migration of millions of people incapable of building a good country is not a good strategy for western countries. Well, which is it?

    #48168

    tabarnick
    Participant

    @vietnamvet
    “They are splitting families apart right now in order to discourage migration”

    More absurdities. If bank robbers would take their children with them when they go out robbing a bank, they might end up being separated from their kids – the alternative would be to have their kids with them in jail. If you don’t want to be separated from your kid, an easy alternative is to not try to smuggle with them, illegally, into a country where you have no business being and that does not want you there.

    Keeping kids with adults, many of them criminals and smugglers, had liberals screaming genocide. Separating them has liberals screaming genocide. Deporting them has liberals screaming genocide. I guess the only alternative left that would placate liberal sensitivities is open borders.

    I now wish a state, say California, would secede from the US and declare open borders. And get swamped with the Third World. And in a decade become the Third World.

    #48178

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    VietnamVet
    I do not like for 1 second what Tabernick tried to do to your post.
    Heartless; nasty, and rude to extremes.
    Twisting values to places I do not care to venture.
    I expect to continue to read your cogent, heartfelt posts of our present realities; gruesome and cruel though they may be…

    #48180

    Dr. D
    Participant

    Discussion well covered here.

    A “Concentration Camp” is a “place where large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution.” etc.

    Of course then all prisons are, holding locations for poor people with poor conditions, and not all outdoors or impromptu. Early ones were in the Civil War in Andersonville, many Native American holding places through to 1900, and as mentioned elsewhere. Are our present ones? Probably not, they’re probably detention centers that have become overcrowded, because they are not work camps, and are not meant to kill people. In fact they give daily food, a doctor, and you’re free to go home. But sure, I don’t mind the varying word use, and I’ll accept the technical definition, why not?

    Of course they will separate children and families, but 1) thanks to DNA tests, 80% of the children trafficked were NOT the children of their handlers, therefore NOT FAMILIES but frauds, and 2) it’s not SAFE to have children in an adult prison population, duh. So you either have them together, unsafe, or you separate them, which is safe (basically foster care) but remain in government centers. Therefore: Ermigerd! Separatin’ the childrenz! If you built them houses, a huge town in the desert, then you’d have Roosevelt’s internment camps, which would be equally opposed, leaving ta-dah! the only possible solution is to let all 6 Billion humans in, erase all borders and extinguish the United States. Qui bono?

    These may not be the good people, as common sense and confirmed daily there are massive human traffickers and drug cartels within them, but as everywhere, there most likely are a MAJORITY good people, and are definitively the active ones. So why don’t they use their money and tireless activity to fix Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala back home? I have to suck it and fix MY crappy country, my crappy problems against a rotten economy, tireless opposition and my trigger-happy, jail-happy government, so why don’t they? Sure, I’d love to enter Italy without a passport, claim asylum from the cheeto and get a free apartment in Naples, but for some reason I’m not allowed. Yet somehow they DO have the human right to go to Naples Beach Florida and do the same thing. Howso? Don’t we all have problems, hardships, and work to do? Nope. It’s my human right to pay for all visitors, however many they may be.

    Anyway, that’s not how we know they’re definitely not concentration camps. How we know they are NOT concentration camps, AND CAN’T BE, regardless of any generations’ definition or any slanderous reporting to make them seem so, is because 200,000 people a month are fighting to get INTO them. If they were even slightly bad, they would be trying to get OUT of them, and out of the United States. That put a total lie to the whole thing. That it’s the total OPPOSITE of what they say. Like all reporting.

    It’s as if you’d read about Germany’s little pamphlet, saw their annex of Amsterdam, heard about people getting free train rides, and decided, “Hey! That’s the life for me! As an American or Argentinian Jew, I’ll pay $10,000 to cross 5,000 miles, hop three countries and skip the border just to get INTO Amsterdam in 1940! There’s a 50-50 chance I won’t get caught. And then I’ll work there, paperless, among the Reich.”

    Um, no. Clearly with a million, two million a year crossing the border and 100,000/month getting caught, they WANT to be here. Not as if our fearless leader has said, “C’mon in boys, free jobs and healthcare for all! No papers required!” These are NOT, NOT, NOT concentration camps of any kind or that wouldn’t be happening. America is not an oppressive or intolerant country for ANY type of immigrant — or even “brown people” — or they wouldn’t be flying in from the Congo to Brazil and hoofing it 3,000 miles just to rush the border. No.

    America is still a place that loves all kinds and has opportunity for hard workers, despite every attempt by every level of government to stop hard work and industry. If it weren’t, the poor, tired masses would all be going the other way. But you knew that, because the NY Times, the Washington Post, CNN and NPR and all the “Right thinking, schmarty-people” all reported the exact opposite.

    Use your eyes. Use your head. That’s what AOC is missing. That’s what she can’t do and what bothers me about her. That and if she believes anything she says, she’d GET the money to help processing and overcrowding, she’d be ACTING to help. She’s not.

    #48181

    V. Arnold
    Participant

    Dr. D
    Well, your rah, rah America fails me completely;
    In the most polite language I can muster; bullshit!!!
    Not even a “nice” try.
    Unless I missed something; your missive is stuck in a broken continuum of US bullshit…
    Show me I’m wrong; I’ll at least listen; but I remain skeptical…

    #48184

    zerosum
    Participant

    Those were the days

    At one time, back when, when there were fewer people, when there were still valleys with “game”, when there were still un-occupied valleys, ….
    When a group of people decided that living conditions, both political, economic, and social were not conducive to happiness and well being ….
    they would pack their stuff and walk away over the hill to a new life

    Yesterday is gone

    #48187

    PlanetaryCitizen
    Participant

    Ilargi, I appreciated your article and the depth of the better aspects of humanity to which it speaks. I’ve been to Amsterdam many times and have of course read The Diary of Anne Frank. I’ve been to her hiding place that is now a museum and in fact had a lengthy conversation standing in line to get in with a woman who’s family had been friends with the Frank family when they lived in Frankfurt, IIRC. Perhaps just in that her story becomes ever so slightly a bit more personal to me. Miep Gies actions speak to the courage that underpins most of what can be considered noble in human beings.

    Whether AOC used the right words or not in reference to camps for migrant detainees or not is debatable. What’s not debatable is that it certainly focused attention on just one aspect of a crisis that is in dire need of some solutions. A subject a little more lengthy than I care to address at the moment but blowback, greed and corruption are words that come to the fore. What makes AOC so appealing to many is her courage, her passion and her dedication to the common individual. Something world desperately needs more examples of.

    These are the numbers of the last 3 administrations before Trump with regard to Deportations.

    Clinton: 12,290,905
    Bush: 10,328,850
    Obama: 5,281,115

    What’s higher for Obama is removals that are based on crimes. See the graph in the link below.

    https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/obama-record-deportations-deporter-chief-or-not

    #48190

    Rototillerman
    Participant

    Some of the causes of migration out of Central America are commonly known (as Tabarnick lists above: poverty, corruption, violence, drugs, etc), but often overlooked is the fact that the root causes circle back to those of us living in the center of the empire, sipping our lattes. Coffee bean prices paid to farmers in Gautemala have declined by roughly 2/3, making the country’s dominant agricultural product a money-losing venture. Here is one article, which I refuse to turn off my ad-blocker for; I think it is the same one I read in print last week, however, and that article said that middlemen are now paying only $0.85 per pound for beans, versus $2.20 some years back.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/06/11/falling-coffee-prices-drive-guatemalan-migration-united-states/

    The culprit? Mechanized production in the Amazon basin, which is a two-fer: displaces rain forest and Central American jobs. Meanwhile, prices are the same as they ever were at the end of the pipeline in a Starbucks, which says that somebody, the middlemen or Starbucks, are making a killing.

    #48191

    VietnamVet
    Participant

    Dr. D and tabarnick;

    The American Civil War never ended. The Great Compromise put a lid on it. Remnants were visible in LZ English 50 years ago; officers, poor blacks, rednecks, and urban middle class kids; armed, self-segregated, and trying not to piss each other off. Globalists, Neo-Cons and the Haute Bourgeoisie don’t get it. Rising inequality and the destruction of the middle class makes another revolution inevitable unless wealth is redistributed. Triggers will be food shortages and migration caused by climate change and the endless wars or energy shortages/economic collapse from a Hot War with Iran/Russia/China (that is if a nuclear war is somehow avoided).

    It is no coincidence Donald Trump is President and Boris Johnson will be PM. They are like James Buchanan, the 15th President; unable to see or address the issues tearing their country apart that got them elected in the first place.

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