Thursday, August 09, 2007

GUTEN MORGEN & DIYEN DOBRI - COMRADES

The visit to Europe was great but far too short - I visited some beautiful cities on holiday, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin were the highlights. All three of course were part of the 'Eastern Block' and that makes them fascinating for me, the most interesting thing is how the people of these places regard their lives now, compared with then.

The cities themselves and their history draw you in, the monuments, squares, Govt. buildings and churches etc all have a story to tell and are mostly beautiful places. Communism doesn't seem to have damaged them, in fact lots of sympathetic rebuilding has gone on since the destruction of WW2 and continues today, today however, particularly in Warsaw and Berlin there are now massive new ultra modern structures cheek by jowl with ancient stunning buildings, this is not a criticism.

I expected to be outraged at the modernist invasion but, surprisingly I found it in a strange way acceptable, structures three times the height of our high flats made of what seems to be coloured reflective glass squares are everywhere and their designs and shapes are incredible, you can sit in an old traditional tram and go along these streets marveling at this blend of old and new and it seems to work. I intend to return to Berlin and spend more time there ASAP - I intend to write more about this trip, when I've caught up with work.

74 comments:

Surreptitious Evil said...

Did you walk down the Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Gate? I have done twice. The most recent time, I was free to walk through the arches.

David Duff said...

Allow me to be the first to welcome you back, Councillor, you have been missed - but even as I write I know that several people are busy adjusting their sights!

I assume my postcard is lost in the hopeless East European postal system and its delayed arrival has nothing to do with the lazy, wastrel, strike-bound posties of Britain.

RfS said...

Do you have any pictures? I remember during the footb*ll world cup those pictures of Berlin and thinking that it was stunning.

It is a possible destination for tour next year!!!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

surreptitious evil - I'm not aware of anyone being prevented from walking through the gate. I find it difficult to take you seriously with nonsense like this.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

David Duff - I was impressed with some things in Eastern Europe, much as I was years ago, I'm no expert on their postal system.

I'm far more aware of our posties who are hard working and efficient they are on strike because they, like many other workers before them have no further choice than to take action.

You may not realise it or want to admit it but workers taking industrial action is the reason that we enjoy many benefits today or, perhaps in your world every gain was conceded by the kind hearted, generous ruling classes and capitalist bosses.

RfS said...

I think you will find that the first time SE was stopped going through the gate it was quite well documented.

Surreptitious Evil said...

Terry,

To be honest, given your lack of political awareness, I am not surprised at you blanking the years 1961 to 1989. A quick comparison between this photograph of the gate in 1985 and this more recent one may give you some clues.

Or, to quote somebody I'm sure you despise (he didn't much like Fidel's Cuba), "we never had to build a wall to keep our people in".

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of anyone being prevented from walking through the [Brandenburg] gate.

You're not serious, are you?

Patrick

RfS said...

Terry,

I hope your lack of updating the comments is not because your ill health has returned.

A mutual acquaintance told me you were under the weather the last time you were not posting so I hope you get better soon if this is the case.

Scunnered, O'Aberdein said...

surreptitious evil - I'm not aware of anyone being prevented from walking through the gate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_Gate

I find it difficult to take you seriously with nonsense like this....

David Duff said...

Councillor, I apologise that during my last brief visit I failed to take in the truth contained in the high-lighted sub-title to your post. I'm sure I speak for many in saying how much we agree with you!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - Give me a hint

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

surreptitios evil - I see, you are referring to the wall.

People moved between West and East Berlin before, during and after the period 1961 to 1989 - people do not move anywhere that I know of without restrictions and security, the Berlin Wall was a very obvious example of that.

It was built to protect the interests of the Soviets who were entitled to their share of said influence.

Do you think that they should have said 'now that we have made this sacrifice and saved the world from Facism we will just toddle off home and you guys can dominate the world at your leisure' ?

My ! Political awareness ? Good god man what kind of an idiot are you ?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Anon - Patrick, see earlier post to surreptitios evil.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - Catching up with work and in rude health.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

scunnered - see earlier post to surreptitious evil.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

David Duff - what a clever, clever chap.

Jackart said...

So, given your support for mass immigration, how does that square with denying the same right to East Germans? Your support for the wall is indefensible.

Do you not see the inconsistency?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jackart - you are consistantly simplistic - I never liked the idea of the Berlin Wall but I did understand why it was put there.

Presumably, given your dislike of the wall you will condemn the Israeli wall as well ?

Anonymous said...

I don't recall western Berlin suicide bombers attacking east Berlin, so your comment on the Israeli wall is totally irrelevant.

Byeck said...

Dear Councillor

Isn't the Israeli Wall there to keep the bad guys out, whereas the Berlin Wall was there to keep the good burghers in?

IanP said...

I don't recall ever seeing any pictures of repressed Israelis being shot in the back trying to escape.

Huge difference is building a wall to keep people out rather than keeping your own repressed people in.

E.German shoot to kill policy now well documented.

Anonymous said...

People moved between West and East Berlin before, during and after the period 1961 to 1989

Yes, through tunnels, in gliders and hidden in the boots of cars, at risk of their own and their families' lives. And all to escape the workers' paradise. Never understood that...

Presumably, given your dislike of the wall you will condemn the Israeli wall as well ?

This is a good point, but no. The Israeli wall is being built to keep people out. The Berlin wall was built to keep people in. It's the same difference as the walls of your house and the walls of a prison.

Patrick

Jackart said...

The Israeli wall is there to keep people (suicide bombers in particular) out. The Berlin wall was there to keep people in. One is a fortress, the other a prison.

That's it. You just keep banging on about Israel. Idiot.

RfS said...

Glad to here it. Coming back after a holiday is always a pain and it is selfish of us to think we have your full and undivided attention!!!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jackart - Patrick - Ian P - Byeck - Anon - The Berlin wall was put there to protect Soviet interests which they seemed to think they were entitled to , I wonder why ? perhaps it's because we all of us owe our very existence to the Russians.

When they were saving us by laying down millions of Soviet lives they were heroes now they are evil murderers, what short memories some people have.

The Israeli wall is a racist apartheid crime against humanity, it is everything to do with stealing Arab land and nothing to do with security. The Berlin wall was there, rightly or wrongly for political reasons not for racist reasons.

Just for the record I have never been in favour of either wall but I'm not prepared to fall into the simplistic rubbish that some people come up with, Berlin has many problems such as rising street violence, housing, unemployment etc. East Berliners are finding that it's not the promised land just like East Berlin was not the workers paradise.

East Berlin Social nights are now common and growing and, more and more Easterners are advocating policies from their former state such guaranteed housing, jobs and women's rights, if you go around with your head in the sand you don't learn about these things.

Byeck said...

Dear Councillor
Didn't Soviet Russia have a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany 1938-41 until that rotter Hitler broke it?

And didn't we lose one or two sailors from the Arctic convoys that we ran to keep Russia fighting?

Pogo said...

East Berlin Social nights are now common and growing and, more and more Easterners are advocating policies from their former state such guaranteed housing, jobs and women's rights, if you go around with your head in the sand you don't learn about these things.

I assume that they're also keen on rebuilding the wall, re-sowing the minefields and reopening recruiting for the Stasi...?

Anonymous said...

The Berlin wall was put there to protect Soviet interests

Yes, by preventing people from leaving! Not to, y'know, save lives or anything like that.

When they were saving us by laying down millions of Soviet lives they were heroes now they are evil murderers

They were fighting for themselves, not to do the West a good turn. Ask the people of Denmark if you don't believe me. We just shared a common enemy.

it is everything to do with stealing Arab land

So why has the area of Palestine allocated to Jewish Palistinians shrunk by a factor of ten in the past century?

East Berlin Social nights are now common

Yep, it's called a bad-taste party.

Patrick

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

byeck - Soviet German pact ? Yes, that would have been consistent with our British upper classes and royalty as well as the Americans urging us to side with Nazi Germany.

Your comments are limp and pathetic.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

pogo - East Germany had good and bad things about it like every country that I know of.

C4' said...

East Germany had good and bad things about it like every country that I know of.

Even Cuba?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

c'4 - Yup.

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

Not quite sure why you attacked 'Byeck' for pointing out the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and then linking it to a few British hodlums who wanted to side to Nazi Germany. The Soviet-Nazi pact was formed by their respective governments. British people had little truck with fascists and National Socialists, especially after the war began.

I also must have been asleep in the history lesson when we learnt about FDR urging the British Empire to throw its lot in with the Nazis.

Jim Lewis said...

You really don't know when to quit, do you? You rant prosaically about Stalin's Russia, a Russia which didn't give a toss about freedoms, democracy, or indeed Germany rampaging acroos Europe as long as it didn't impinge on their freedom to brutally oppress their people or their neighbours. This has to be among the most moronic assertions you've come up with yet, and you've certainly earned your productivity bonus in that respect. Whatever the Soviet Union was, it was not a nation populated by citizens desperate to sacrifice their lives for my sright to self expression or self determination. Oh, and they liked to beat the odd Jew to death too.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jim lewis - unremittingly stupid as usual - what did I say about Stalin's Russia other than the fact that they saved the world from the Nazis ? You may not like it but they did.

If the Soviet Union were the only country to ill treat the Jews they would have been a lot better off, think Britain, think Moseley, in fact, just think for once.

Byeck said...

Councillor
British upper classes siding with the Nazis??
Surely not - what about Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill? Or are you claiming that this particular scion of Blenheim Palace and privilege was really born in a Glasgow tenement and a closet member of the Labour?

Jim Lewis said...

Tel, you paint a picture of the gallant Soviets satnding alone gainst the might of the Nazi hordes. Britain, among others, made a few sacrifices too, coming to the aid of Poland while the Soviets stood by and watched. We didn't wait until the Germans invaded our territory.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

byeck - Oh yes they did !

That babbling half witted treacherous old sod Churchill did manage to get around a few parties and would indeed have sided with anyone to get ahead but he never, thank god, got to Labour.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jim lewis - where did I say the Gallant Soviets stood alone ? Many sacrifices were made but none came anywhere near the price payed by the Soviet Union.

Even the yanks eventually got involved, you seem to have a problem, either with your memory or your reluctance to admit the truth.

RfS said...

"That babbling half witted treacherous old sod Churchill"

Strange that you are the only person to hold this view, care to elaborate (he asks knowing the torrent of personal abuse that will follow)?

Jim Lewis said...

"perhaps it's because we all of us owe our very existence to the Russians."


That, among other quotations, pretty sums up your "The Soviets saved our butts" attitude. The Soviets didn't save our butts, the Soviets, like everyone else, looked after their own. There was no altruism in their sacrifice, rather they were sacrificed unwillingly by a leadership with absolutely no regard for human life, Soviet or otherwise. It's ridiculous to suggest that they saved us. We couldn't have won without them. Neither could they have won without us. At the risk of repeating myself, Britain alone stood up to Germany when it began its rampage across Europe. The Soviets didn't give a stuff for the fate of the Poles nor anyone else. Like the Americans, they only got involved when they were themselves attacked.


Furthermore, the Soviet Union was itself imperialist in its outlook. One need look further than Easer Europe to see that. However, if one need to, one can look further afield. Afghanistan, Siberia, Soviet Asia, etc. I well remember reading a quote from a Soviet admiral in which he stated (this would be in the 70's) that the Soviet Navy, once a minor arm of the Soviet services, was now the leader in the Soviet Union's push for world communist domination. Looking after their own interests eh?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

RFS - Stalin said about FDR and Churchill " one is sick down there and the other is sick up here" so I'm not alone am I.

Anyway you've managed to establish in the course of 24 hrs. that I am alone in this opinion now that's impressive, really !

If he hadn't been a Churchill he would have been a nonentity he had loyalty to no-one and got by on the 'old school tie' and upper class contacts.

If you think I'm alone you're not getting out enough, try starting with Welsh miners and people from Dundee.

Byeck said...

Councillor,
You & Uncle Joe - the only two to see through Winston!!!
Now there's a frightening twosome.
I'm going to risk your ire by pointing out that the Welsh miners & Dundee voters were still alive to cast doubts on Churchill's parentage whereas Stalin's critics tended to be very dead.

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

"Stalin said about FDR and Churchill " one is sick down there and the other is sick up here" so I'm not alone am I."

So you feel that the fact that Stalin agreed with you about the greatest leader this couuntry has ever seen is something to be proud of? The mind boggles.

Jim Lewis said...

"If he hadn't been a Churchill he would have been a nonentity he had loyalty to no-one and got by on the 'old school tie' and upper class contacts."

Are you serious? If he'd been listened to by the government of the day from around 1933 onwards, there's a very reall chance that the war need not have happened. This is Churchill in 1934:

"I marvel at the complacency of ministers in the face of the frightful experiences through which we have all so newly passed. I look with wonder upon the thoughtless crowds disporting themselves in the summer sunshine, and upon this unheeding House of Commons, which seems to have no higher function than to cheer a Minister; [and all the while across the North Sea], a terrible process is astir. Germany is arming."

However, you with your frightful inverted snobbery probably think WW2 was a good thing. I don't expect a reasoned reply. Debate doesn't seem to go hand in hand with politics today.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Byeck - you start by saying it's only me and uncle Joe and then concede that the Welsh miners and Dundee folk dislike him as well ? Which is it ?

Have you never heard of the Dardanelles ? Churchill was a well connected clown, he was more dangerous to us than the enemy.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - that's not a very reasonable response now is it ? Uncle Joe became uncle Joe because the British loved him he was our saviour.

Some people are so tightly wrapped in the flag that the blood is sometimes cut off from their brain, I have never met anyone from my father's generation who had a good word to say about the old swine, did you know the old thug instructed troops to shoot striking miners ?

He represented everything that is rotten and corrupt in the class based system which made him, his recent thoughts on race have been made public, did you read them ? Add racism to his other endearing qualities.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - that's not a very reasonable response now is it ? Uncle Joe became uncle Joe because the British loved him he was our saviour.

Some people are so tightly wrapped in the flag that the blood is sometimes cut off from their brain, I have never met anyone from my father's generation who had a good word to say about the old swine, did you know the old thug instructed troops to shoot striking miners ?

He represented everything that is rotten and corrupt in the class based system which made him, his recent thoughts on race have been made public, did you read them ? Add racism to his other endearing qualities.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Jim lewis - you have your opinion of Churchill and I have mine that is debate - no war is a good thing that's a stupid thing to say even by your standards.

You should try to get a hold of the autobiography of his personal physician Lord Moran, he tells the truth and he's not alone but, with a closed mind is there any point ?

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

"Uncle Joe became uncle Joe because the British loved him he was our saviour."

He was not our saviour by any strech of the imagination. The British people did not love him, and the only ones who wept over his death were Labour Party officials and BBC employees.

You should really read some history books- you would benefit a lot from them. What do you think about Stalin's concentration camps then?

"Churchill was a well connected clown, he was more dangerous to us than the enemy."

It is difficult to know how to respond to that, as it is so wrong that it has moved beyond the realm of reasoned deabte.

If everybody hated Churchill so much, why did they vote him back in the 1950s, throwing out the Labour government who had set up the welfare state?

Up until this point councillor, I never quite understood where you were coming from- I do now.

Jim Lewis said...

Um, I wasn't debating, I was stating fact. Don't take my word for it. As you're so fond of saying, look it up. Or is your mind closed?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - You're letting your prejudice get in the way - many British homes had Stalin's portrait on the wall. Telling me to read history books is infantile why don't you do some reading, see, that's infantile too.

Whatever Stalin did or didn't do does not alter the fact that he saved the world from Nazi Germany, again your prejudice gets in the way, you seem to think that I'm some kind of big fan of Stalin's when all I'm doing is trying to see the truth.

I try to do that with all of them including that old drink sodden half wit Churchill, the war was won despite him.

Where did I say that everyone hated Churchill (prejudice again in the way) people vote for many reasons, how did Bush, Nixon, Reagan etc get elected ? Your reference to the 19 50 election pales into insignificance when compared to Labour's landslide over Churchill in 19 45 that's when he should have been at the height of his popularity and he took a drubbing, how could you possibly avoid mentioning that.

You missed the bit about ordering troops to shoot striking miners , Dundee where he is still reviled, the Dardanelles and his recently discovered racism, or were there two of them ?

Tell me where you have decide I am coming from.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jim lewis - at the risk of being condemned, this drivel doesn't qualify as an argument.

When are you going to explain your mysterious yes/no answer you coward.

Byeck said...

Councillor
Stalin would have made a better and quicker fist of saving the world if he hadn't murdered 90% of the Russian officer corps in the late thirties and sent his brighter citizens on extended Siberian holidays.

Set against this, how many Welsh miners were, even slightly, shot on Winston's orders?

So far as Churchill and Dundee goes, anyone who upsets the inhabitants of that proud city can't be all bad and you should hear what they say about Blair.

C4' said...

Isn't it about time you updated your profile photo? You look like Jabba The Hutt!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Byeck - Your insistance on going over the same ground weakens your position, I've said before you are a dupe.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

c4' - I might lose weight and look entirely different - You would need to go under the knife.

Jim Lewis said...

You don't even remember asking me the two questions do you? Oh you do? Then I answered them.

Rumbold said...

Stalin did not save us. The Soviets relieved pressure on the Western front, which was good. They were fighting for selfish reasons, as were we. Counterfactual history is always dangerous, and it is impossible to know what would have happened if the Soviets had stayed out of the war.

Do you prefer Churchill or Stalin (if you had to choose)? Your answer will sum you up.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

jim lewis - tell the truth you'll feel better - this wriggling is obviously getting to you.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - If it wasn't for the Soviet Union we would have been defeated - your political blindness makes it difficult to say anything positive about people who were our allies.

Churchill or Stalin ? neither but, if I had to choose, Stalin.

He might have been a monster as was Churchill but Stalin wanted a better world Churchill wanted to protect the corrupt brutal status quo which kept him and his class at the top of the pile.

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

"If it wasn't for the Soviet Union we would have been defeated - your political blindness makes it difficult to say anything positive about people who were our allies."

I said that the Soviet Union helped. My point about counterfactual history is that one never knows what 'would have happened', so we cannot say that the Allies would have lost without the Soviet Union, anymore than we can say that they would have won. We cannot tell.

"Churchill or Stalin ? neither but, if I had to choose, Stalin."

I regard Stalin as falling in the same bracket as Hitler, so you can see why I might be slightly peeved at your statement.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - we have been over this have we not, 'the Soviet Union helped' 20,000,000 dead, more than every allied country combined, your language gives the game away surely.

Had their been a stalemate before the end of the war and Churchill had the chance to pick sides he would fought with the Germans against the Soviet Union. That is not only my opinion but I doubt if you want to think about that.

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

The reason why there were so many Soviets dead is because Stalin did not care above the lives of his people- he was happy to sacrifice countless numbers in order to achieve an objective. Also, the Soviet high command had been decimated by purges so it was less effective.

As for Churchill picking Hitler over Stalin, there is no evidence for this, especially as it was never likely to be a scenario. Churchill despised them both, as do I, as should you.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - I've read stories and listened to many versions of this which portrays the Russians as heroic and determined to defeat Fascism you don't seem to be able to accept this, I find that quite strange and can't think of any reason other than being hidebound by political prejudice to explain it.

Churchill despised them both and I despise all three as should you but I gave an honest answer and I would still go with Stalin rather than Churchill

Byeck said...

Councillor
Now, about the 20,000 Polish officers murdered on Stalins orders at Katyn in 1939 when he invaded Poland in support of Hitler.(before you scream fabrication,Gorby & Yeltsin have admitted Soviet responsibility)

Do you have any comment???

Rumbold said...

Councillor:

Individual Soviets were just as brave and heroic as individual Brits or American. The reason why so many of them died though was because Stalin was happy to sacrifice them, and they knew that if they lost a battle then they would be shot by Stalin. Just look at the larg numbers of Soviet soldiers taken prisoner, then shot by their own side when released. I wish to take nothing away from the bravery of the average Soviet, but the huge death toll was a result of Stalin's inhumanity.

Churchill was far from perfect, but he was a damn good war leader and a far better man than Stalin. Yes, Churchill had a helping hand because he was born into privilege. If somebody educated at Eton and Cambridge discovered a cure for a disease, you would not say that they were lucky because they had access to top science labs, you would applaud them.

I think that our Stalin Vs. Churchill debate has come to an end for now, so I will make it my last comment on this thread on this topic.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Byeck - 20,000 - at least it was a nice neat number, be fair now you've got to give him that.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Rumbold - the main drive after the war from the west was to destroy what they saw as a threat to their 'way of life' the Soviet Union, hence the cold war and the demonisation of Stalin.

The fact that he proposed a change to an evil global system (capitalism) makes him better than someone (Churchill) who only cared about his place in history as the man who preserved that system which served him so well.

He wasn't a damn good war leader, he was a damn good figurehead.

If someone who went through Eton and Cambridge discovered a cure for a disease, of course I would applaud them.

But here perhaps is the difference between us, I would not be able to avoid wondering if the disease could have been cured quicker if Eton and Cambridge were available to all.

Byeck said...

Councillor
Stalin in Poland, Mugabe in Matabeleland....you do have a weakness for murderous old B*****s dont you?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Byeck - Well spotted.

Byeck said...

Councillor
Re your aadmitted 'Weakness for murderous old B******s'

Always excepting Winston of course....

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

byeck - I regard that as an insult -

I do not discriminate on the grounds of age.