Today is my birthday. I am 72 years old. While I was being born, the death camp, Auschwitz, was liberated. I always take some time on my birthday to think about what happened there. I read stories of the survivors and the people that liberated them. Look at photos of emaciated bodies. I try to imagine the pain and suffering that went on there. I think about those that created the death camps and served there.
One of the great mysteries for me has been how a sophisticated and culturally advanced civilization represented by Germany could turn itself into such an evil place. I wondered not only how the leaders of that country could follow such a path of inhumanity but how so many average germans could not only allow it to happen could actually participate in it. I still do not have answers for that.
Many people would say “never again” but I could not say that because I could not really understand how it happened in the first place. Many would say that it could never happen in the USA but I could not say that because I had seen are dark history before my very eyes during the days of the civil rights marches.
Now we may be able to understand what happened in Germany. The election of Donald Trump and his actions make me very concerned. I don’t say this lightly and I am sure there will be readers of this post that not only disagree but will be angry or worse.
I am not going to spend time making comparisons between Trump and Hitler or between today’s USA and Germany in the 30s. I am just expressing my fear and saying that I still do not understand what happened in Germany and why I could not happen again.
We must be vigilant. We must resist the evil that is Trump.
Please accept my warmest regards and wishes for your birthday.
I am following your blog and find hope in your clear and honest voice.
As I share (most of the times) your views and intrigued (by some) by your opinions, I am selfishly wishing you many more years of creative thinking and expressing it publicly.
There is a very thin crust (or shell, or layer – I am not sure about the most appropriate term here) that is the so called culture, civilization, manners, you name it, that separates between the everyday normal people behavior and the way people acted in Nazi Germany. and there is no immunity for this to any nation around the world – it is much easier to be in the warm and reassuring crowd, led by a very determined person who recognizes just 2 colors to any situation – “our” and “their’s”. independent and critical thinking requires effort and resources – a luxury one not always has in his possession.
Trump is not evil – he is a simple minded ego driven irresponsible primitive which has a very compelling message to people who are not comfortable with the fact that they need to act responsibly and humanly. Don’t forget that the guy who was responsible for managing the concentration camp, was a patriot, a professional, a successful public servant and a disciplined follower of the law, order and the party line. He had no doubt in his heart about his job, with just one small blind moral spot – about killing other human beings.
So, it i not a question of “if”, rather then, “when”.
Thanks Alex for reading my blog and your positive comments. I do have a question. If Trump is not evil then what is your definition of evil? Was Hitler evil and if you agree then are you saying that Trump is not capable of the acts of Hitler? I certainly hope that is true but I see no evidence for that.
Don’t get me wrong here – Trump is a disaster in any possible way.
I don’t know if Trump is evil – perhaps he is. as it is often said in Hebrew “katonti”.
If we define evil as “someone who has no disregard for humans and human life” then Hitler, as Stalin and Trump are definitely evil. We have a need for defining evil as this is the only way to mobilize others to fight it.
My main fear is that Trump is not evil but completely indifferent to other people. Hitler, and Stalin for that matter (it does not justify their deeds of course) had some grand maniacal agenda, backing it up with ideology and ancient mythical gods and heroes (Hitler) and pure racism and memories of past grandeur (Stalin). There are many similarities though – between Hitler dreams to restore the eternal reich and Trump’s wish to make America great again as well as the divisive hate based rhetorics.
Is Trump capable of Hitler like acts? YES. But it is not Trump who scares me but rather the ones who are willing to act on his behalf and do as they are told. There is only one way to push back and it is thinking by yourself and not through “alternative facts”. Once you see him as he truly is – a school yard egotistical bully, then you can act accordingly.
Avram, I am deeply disappointed. Why don’t you invest a little time looking into George Soros? How about Hillary Clinton’s “pay for play” game and her taking Millions from the Saudis? There are many evils in the world. While Trump may be far from an angel, I really think he is playing a game you fail to grasp. How did Obama and Kerry’s actions against Israel go over in Israel? If the borders of Israel were run like the US borders have been under Obama, would Israel even exist today? Meanwhile, how many tons of Thermite did it take to bring down the World Towers?
Rick, thanks for reading my blog and for your comment. I am sorry you are deeply disappointed. I hope you understand that this blog is an expression of what I sincerely believe. I can understand that others do not feel that way. Clearly, you do not feel like I do that Trump is evil. As far as, Hillary Clinton, George Soros or Barak Obama go, I don’t see them in the same category just as I would not call George Bush evil.
How, about this? Let’s check in with each other in a few years. Hopefully, you are right about Trump. I just don’t think so but would be so glad to be wrong.
“How, about this? Let’s check in with each other in a few years. Hopefully, you are right about Trump. I just don’t think so but would be so glad to be wrong.”
As someone who enjoys your blogs but sits on the other side of the political fence, I do appreciate this sentiment from you and wish that this were more prevalent.
Let’s see where we are in a few years…
Avram, Happy Birthday!!!! Thank you (as always) for sharing your perspective, experience and wisdom. I share your fear and concern. And although I do not feel powerless, I do not know what it will take to reverse the damage he is doing – both literally and with his hateful, divisive words. I ALWAYS look forward to reading your posts. I am way behind and need to catch up! WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU AND DEB SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!! xxxxxx, Caroline
Thank Caroline. We miss you too. Just remember, if things get too bad in the USA, you, Antony and the boys have a home here.
Happy birthday Avram, I agree with you completely and find solace in the woman’s march and continued support of people around the world. This march
was the first of it’s kind definitely not the last. There is another march scheduled for April 15, for Trump to show his taxes. Protests were what stoped the war in vietnam. Lets go!!!
Thank you for this. We, too, share your fear.
Happy Birthday, Avram!
Deb asked if I was, “following DC stuff”. Replied, “it’s following everyone”
Our new president’s rhetoric has now given “permission” [whether he knows it or not] to much louder voices and more brazen acts against Women, Jews, Hispanics, Blacks, Refugees,etc. I’ve seen, heard and read about. I agree that we need to be more vigilant and must resist. Joining the ADL and lobbying for wildlife in DC to start. Recalibrating to hopefully help change the course we’re on. Thanks for your inspiration and insight.
Happy Birthday! Love to you and Deb
Happy Birthday, Avram. I have deep reservations about Trump and a very complex reaction. I am not upset that he is trying to fulfill his campaign promises, although I think the policy/program choices are wrong. I’ll complain and resist to the extent I can, but elections DO have consequences.
We can survive incompetence; we have before. The likely “crony” corruption will be damaging, but again, we could survive that, as well. What I really fear is an authoritarian arrogation of power, and there is lots of evidence that he’s headed there. Were that to happen, then all the checks and balances would be gone and the disastrous results from the mistaken policies will be blamed on the “other.” Bannon may complete the definition of what started in October as “global financial elites” … ahem, the Jews … and Trump may go along, excepting of course, his own family.
Did you read about John Dean’s nightmares about Trump? https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/john-dean-interview/513215/
This is serious, and it’s already started: delegitimizing the press (fake news, the opposition party, unfair coverage); lying about everything from crowd size to fraudulent votes to CIA enthusiasm to make himself look broadly loved and supported; admiring Putin (whose own disinformation hold on Russia masks his vulnerability) as a role model; neutering Congress (which has no moral authority anyway); and likely getting two appointments to the Supremes in the next 4 years. The Republic is really at risk of an authoritarian takeover, and many of my HS friends, who LOVE Trump, are cheering the over-reach, the pugnaciousness and the bullying. “We need a strong leader to get stuff done.” Never mind all the inconvenient facts he denies or lies about.
Believe it or not, on a positive side, I trust our military to resist illegal orders. And the states are immune from vote-tampering from a central authority. The lawyers won’t be any help — we saw how malleable the White House Counsel’s office was under Bush — and Sessions won’t be any counterbalance toward constitutionalism. We the People need to be vigilant.
On last positive. The man is our age. He’s likely to be slowing down soon. 😉
Happy Birthday, Avram!
I have to wonder what will happen when Trump discovers that POTUS != King.and he can’t bully Congress to do his bidding. He may just decide it’s not fun anymore and resign. That doesn’t mean I agree with Vice President Pence’s ideas, but at least he understands how the Federal government works.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AVRAM!!! The need for your voice amps up with each passing day. When Trump was elected, my motto became “Be vigilant and be vocal.” I agree with your friend Alex that Trump is probably more guilty of being flat-out disinterested in Americans who disagree with him than in wanting to exterminate them. BUT I also believe that we could also discover how easy it is for our country to slide off into a ditch of hatred and mistrust and could one day wake up and say, “Hey, how did THAT happen?” It’s about feeding hate one small bite at a time…..slicing the whole salami one thin slice at a time. Trump gives everyone a teeny little bit of something to agree/hate with… appealing to the spectrum of biases. Tonight he blasted Madonna and I couldn’t have agreed with him more! But I can barely stand to watch the news and see his smug face
……far easier to read it.
Happy happy birthday Avram. Wishing you joy, peace and an overflowing amount of love this coming year. We are living in a very crazy and scary time. I pray for impeachment. Xxoo caren and John.
When Bill Clinton had the exact same position as Donald Trump, everyone applauded. Something is deeply roten, they call it hypocrisy.
Not sure what position you are referencing, Jean-Patrick?
Of course: the link to the video failed, and it explained what position I was referring to. It was about immigration. A video of Clinton saying about the same things than Trump, and everybody applauded.
To be honest, I have difficulty accessing my feelings about all of this. And writing about it clearly nigh impossible. It is certainly not something I expect to see. The brain just stops in disbelief. I suppose I am in denial.
At least I am mystified by where they came from and why they think their way is an improvement.
Then there are the issues of the election interference from both internal and external forces. …and the diminished quality of information.
There is very little going on that I understand now; and less use inventorying it all for you with slack-jawed, stunned rhetorical questions or baseless predictions.
Best belated birthday wishes!
Desk: (650) 851-7995 Cell: (925) 308-3085 Car: (650) 683-5010
Hello Avram: stumbled upon your bio and felt instantly that you are a fellow traveller. I don’t have much to say about politics as the main players in most countries are rather depressing to follow. I’m rather more interested in God, Sailing, Photography, PDP-11, Macs, Music creation and writing. But if I had to say something about The Donald it is that he has many Jewish allies, friends and family, and is surely heavily influenced by their ideas. So, I think he will not do anything stupid. I hope that he can begin to heal the division between Jews and Evangelicals, but of course they must radically re-think their position on Jesus and The Father, for any rapprochement.
I hope to stay with your blog as I am sure to find enlightenment. But I will probably avoid the political discussions as it raises my BP, and at age 74 that’s not a good idea.
Thanks for your comments Glen. Yes, we share a common interest in the PDP-11 (as you may have read, I was responsible for engineering for PDP-11 Q bus computers at DEC for a while. I also like Macs, music creation and writing. I have enjoyed sailing from time to time. I am not religious.
I don’t understand your statement about the division between Jews and Evangelicals. I know that there are many Evangelists that are very supportive of the State of Israel especially (and unfortunately) the Settlement Movement. I think you are saying that you think Jews should accept Jesus and The Father (I don’t actually know what that means). There we can find no common ground. Probably it would be best for us to stay away from any discussion of religion. I respect everyone’s right to believe in what they want as long as this does not result in harm to others.
Yes, some Jews support Trump because they think he is good for Israel. I am don’t actually think that is true but even if it was, I am not a single issue voter. I think the man is a criminal and evil.
Thanks for reading my blog and reach out. 74 is not old by the way, I just had lunch with my 94 year old father.
Thank you for taking time to reply. I was very pleased to hear from you so soon.
You are lucky to still be able to talk to your Father. Is he close by?
My Father died on my 23rd birthday – of a broken heart I think – he had many dreams that were shattered when his Company folded. I miss him.
DEC and other systems:
If I remember, and you may, the operating system on my Pro 350 was P/OS – how’s that for a memory of some 30 years ago?
I have been programming database programs for about 30 years, mostly for business. But those were just pastimes. I was an inventor of medical x-ray systems for cardiac imaging and such like.
I was into yacht racing during the 70’s.Sailing a C&C 35. In 1974 I had Erich Bruckmann build me a custom C&C design 3/4Ton, which I laterI sailed to Mexico from SFO, then to Hilo and Victoria BC. Just me and my wife, and me and my son. That was 5200 miles.
Then in 2000 I sailed Bermuda- USVI, St. Maarten, Bequia Carriacou and Grenada where I hung on the hook for two years contemplating what next to do. I returned home but no longer interested in Industry, rather in writing and music. I was thinking that my traveling days are over, but after hearing of your adventure in Egypt, I am getting interested again.
We will visit Barcelona in September. Am going to Sacramento for a week in August. I am contemplating another Ocean Voyage, just to see if I can do it.
I prefer Jazz and for a year when I was 20, I played in a big band in the U.K mostly Count Basie and Ellington music.
My parents were not very musical, except that Grandfather Richardson was a producer/director of musicals in our town. I always wished I had taken to the piano. I met Oscar Peterson once, – he hums every note before his finger hits the keys.
My great Grandfather was a cello maker from Germany, and came over to the U.K before the Great War, with a big family. Jazz guitar is my passion.
I look forward to seeing more of your pictures. Where can I find them?
Some of mine are posted here waeshael.leicaimages.com (no www is needed.) I wonder if you might comment on a few.
I corresponded with the Art Critic Ben Lifson RIP who died in 2013 at age 72. http://photographmag.com/news/ben-lifson-1941-2013/
He was kind enough to discuss my photography, but we mostly chatted about Religion. At the end it was hard for me to understand everything he said, partly because my hearing was not that good, partly due his voice fading. But he was very encouraging and especially liked my pictures of yachts on the beach in Grenada.
I have a site devoted to sailing and photography at waeshael.com