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Archive for the ‘war’ Category


Please don’t miss the author of this book HERE where you can view a video by her about the book! Janine di Giovanni is a journalist and she was a war reporter during this war.
“This riveting, enlightening and passionate book tells the story of the descent into madness that afflicted the land that used to be Yugoslavia at the end of the 20th century.”

I was tagged by Kop-op-‘n-blog  to do a 123-Story… so here’s mine today!
This tag works like this..you take the nearest book- which has to have at least 123 pages or more…and then you open your book on page 123 and count 6 lines from the top and copy down lines 6, 7 and 8.

I’ve chosen Madness Visible, as it was the fattest book near me! Also,  the book brings back memories when you follow the news about the independence of Kosovo! I’m still busy reading this book though! I do love reading books when I have time and like to read books about wars too… WWI/WWII …. the war in Combodia/Kosovo…etc…
On
THIS LINK you can read what I said about the Khmer Rouge and  books I’ve read about the war in Combodia…. “First they killed my father”… and “Lucky Child”… fantastic writing by Loung Ung!

Here’s my tag….lines 6,7 and 8 on page 123!
“The Americans, who had been unable to control the situation and had been caught in a skirmish along with Russian KFOR troops a few days earlier, were deeply embarrassed.
The front line, a village called Lucane, had the two sides, Albanians and Serbs, separated by sandbagged positions only 100 yards apart.

I have to tag another blogger or two! So, I want the following bloggers to do their 123-Story!
First blogger…
Bookstoysgames!  a newly discovered blogger whose blog I find very interesting and stimulating, Meghna because I know she loves books and she’s got some great talent when it comes to stories/poetry! and lastly… Jasper a very talented Afrikaans blogger…he’s a great song writer/poet/story writer..but unfortunately for the English readers…he’s blogging only in Afrikaans, which is a wonderful language I love too!!

Overview of the book… ….here on this link.
The Balkan crises of the 1990’s with its “ethnic cleansings,” have become ancient history or worse. In the aftermath of 9/11 the sin of historical amnesia has blotted out the travails of the Bosnians, the Serbs, the Croats, and the Kosovars who killed and died, perhaps 200,000 of them, during the last decade of the twentieth century. In Madness Visible: A Memoir of War, Janine di Giovanni, a journalist for The Times of London and the author of other books on the Balkans, relates in horrific detail her reportorial experiences.
Di Giovanni writes mainly of the several weeks in early 1999 when the province of Kosovo was the site of conflict. Mostly Muslim and Albanian speaking, the Kosovars were the victims of the last attempt by Serbian nationalists to maintain control over Kosovo, a place sacred to Serbs ever since the fourteenth century. During those weeks, NATO was engaged in a bombing campaign to force the Serbs and their president, Slobodan Milosevic, to end their decade- long aggression. Di Giovanni admits her sympathies lay with the Kosovars, although she is not unsympathetic to the plight of the Serbs and Croats. From her personal experiences, she also incorporates other vignettes from the early 1990’s to 2002, including reflections upon the fall of Milosevic and his subsequent trial in The Hague. Particularly appalling is the story of Serbian middle-class academics caught up in the passions of ethno-religious nationalism and who readily abandoned their rationalism and their humanity, devoting themselves to the brutal destruction of former colleagues and neighbors. Madness Visible is a difficult book to read because of the detailed portrayal of such inhumanity but it is an important book, a reminder that terror and genocide fueled by religious convictions and historical memories are not restricted to today’s Middle East.

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Let us not forget today….People who died for our freedom during the wars! People who served during the wars….Remembrance day…11 November, 11 am….
A bit Afrikaans…
*****My gedagtes gaan ook na my eie pa wat in WWII geveg het, hy het skool op ouderdom 16 verlaat om ‘n Bomwerper te wees. Vandag het ek sy log-boek in my besit – omdat ek sy naamgenoot is – waarin al die vlugte opgeteken is, al die bomme wat afgegooi is, waar dit afgegooi is, watter teikens getref is…ens ens. Hy was in Egipte/Italie. Hy’s op ‘n vroeë ouderdom oorlede aan ‘n hartaanval en die dokter het gemeen dis die spanning van die oorlog, want blykbaar het baie soldate – van WWII –  op ‘n vroeë ouderdom gesterf deur spannings-verwante probleme wat die nagevolg is van die oorlog-spanning. *****
Image: sparkyteaching.com
Why the Poppy?
Scarlet poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as the First World War raged through Europe’s heart.The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in the First World War and later conflicts.
Listen to the song…”The Green Fields of France”…and you can download it here: http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/De/resources/remember/links.html …..

Click on THIS LINK to watch a video about  a Canadian Veteran talking about the war.

Read more here

In Flanders Fiels

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

By John McCrae 1915

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Reply to Flanders Fields
Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders sky
That dims the stars to those below.
You are our dead, you held the foe,
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders Fields.
Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders Fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

– John Mitchell

Poppies, picture by Tom Barret 

The most famous Canadian poem was inspired by one of the fiercest battles of the First World War.

During a lull in the battle, Lt.-Col. John McCrae scribbled the 13 lines of In Flanders Field on a scrap of paper, describing the horror he had seen at Ypres and the hope that it would not be forgotten.

McCrae, a tall, boyish 43-year-old member of the Canadian Medical Corps., was an artillery veteran of the Boer War in South Africa. He went to the line in at Ypres on April 22, 1915, the first time the enemy used poison gas.

But the first attack failed and so did the next wave and the next. For 17 days the allies repulsed wave after wave of the attacking enemy.

“One can see the dead lying there on the front field,” McCrae wrote ‘And in places where the enemy threw in an attack, they lie very thick on the slopes of the German trenches.”

McCrae, worked on the bank of the Yser Canal, dressing hundreds of wounded. At times the dead and wounded actually rolled down the bank from above his dugout. Other times, while awaiting the arrival of batches of wounded, he would watch the men at work in the burial plots which were quickly filling up.

Finally, McCrae and his unit were relieved and he wrote home: “We are weary in body and wearier in mind. The general impression in my mind is one of a nightmare”.

In April 1915, his closest friend was killed.

McCrae, who had written poetry since childhood in Guelph, Ont., sat down and distilled his thoughts about the war into his famous poem.

A full life … As well as being poet and author, John McCrae was a teacher and doctor before going overseas to fight the war.
He mailed the hand-written sheet off to Punch magazine in England and it was published in December 1915.

McCrae never returned home from the war. He died of pneumonia in Boulogne, France on January 28, 1918.

Near the town of Mennin, in Flanders, Belgium, they’ve restored as a shrine the battlefield bunker where McCrae wrote his famous poem. In memory of McCrae and other war dead, a bugler plays the Last Post every evening.

Born to a Scottish family that operated woolen and lumber mills, McCrae graduated from Guelph Collegiate with a scholarship to the University of Toronto.

He earned a B.A. and a medical degree at Toronto, did graduate work at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, served as a gunner with Canadian Field Artillery in the Boer War and then moved to Montreal.

His Guelph home is now a museum that attracts visitors from Belgium, France, Britain and Germany.
Source: http://www.canoe.ca/RemembranceDay/mccrae.html

This next poem was written by a South African poet about a South African that died at Vlaandere during the war…

Aan die graf van ‘n onbekende Boerseun in Vlaandere

Erens in Vlaanderland het jy die stof
van ou Europa met jou bloed verjong;
maar by jou wrede heengaan kon g’n tong
jou vroom toeprewel: “Stof is jy, tot stof. . .”

Met ragtime-deuntjies in jou kop het jy
uiteindelik jou Golgota gevind. –
0, opdraand was jou skofte, trekkerskind, –
jy kón nie in jou tuiste vatplek kry!

En êrens in ou VIaanderland staan daar
In eensame klein kruisie. – Seun van God!
Moet ons ou volkie aanhou offer tot
ons, soos U Kruis, oor heel die wêreld staar?

Stil, stil, my hart, al kan jy niks meer dra; –
in Vlaand’re rus ‘n seun van Afrika!

JRL Van Bruggen

An American, Miss Moira Michael, read In Flanders’ Fields and wrote a reply entitled We Shall Keep the Faith:

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew,
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ fields.

And now the torch and poppy red
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

Other poets of the time were also stirred to write responses to McCrae’s poem.

America’s Answer
Rest ye in peace, ye Flanders’ dead.
The fight that ye so bravely led
We’ve taken up. And we will keep
True faith with you who lie asleep
With a cross to mark his bed,
In Flanders’ fields.

Fear not that ye have died for naught.
The torch ye threw to us we caught.
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And Freedom’s light shall never die!
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ fields.

R.W. Lilliard

Reply to In Flanders’ Fields
In Flanders’ fields the cannons boom,
And fitful flashes light the gloom;
While up above, like eagles, fly
The fierce destroyers of the sky;
With stains the earth wherein you lie
Is redder than the poppy bloom,
In Flanders’ fields.

Sleep on, ye brave! The shrieking shell,
The quaking trench, the startling yell,
The fury of the battle hell
Shall wake you not, for all is well;
Sleep peacefully, for all is well.

Your flaming torch aloft we bear,
With burning heart and oath we swear
To keep the faith, to fight it through,
To crush the foe, or sleep with you,
In Flanders’ fields.

J. A. Armstrong

Reply to Flanders’ Fields
Oh! sleep in peace where poppies grow;
The torch your falling hands let go
Was caught by us, again held high,
A beacon light in Flanders’ sky
That dims the stars to those below.
Your are our dead, you held the foe
And ere the poppies cease to blow,
We’ll prove our faith in you who lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Oh! rest in peace, we quickly go
To you who bravely died, and know
In other fields was heard the cry,
For freedom’s cause, of you who lie,
So still asleep where poppies grow,
In Flanders’ fields.

As in rumbling sound, to and fro,
The lightning flashes, sky aglow,
The mighty hosts appear, and high
Above the din of battle cry,
Scarce heard amidst the guns below,
Are fearless hearts who fight the foe,
And guard the place where poppies grow.
Oh! sleep in peace, all you who lie
In Flanders’ fields.

And still the poppies gently blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.
The larks, still bravely soaring high,
Are singing now their lullaby
To you who sleep where poppies grow
In Flanders’ fields.

John Mitchell

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I’ve started reading this book quite recently….-while reading “In Search of South Africa”, the book which Dennis from the chess site sent me….I posted an extract of it somewhere on my blog…- anyway…this book about Janine di Giovanni’s memoir of the war, is about the Kosovo-War….only now on page 13, and do agree with her…it is about “madness”….

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PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Khmer Rouge “Brother Number Two” Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s top surviving henchman, was arrested on Wednesday at his house on the Thai border and taken to Phnom Penh to face the U.N. “Killing Fields” tribunal for the first time.
A terse, two-sentence statement by the $56 million (28 million pound) court said the octogenarian communist guerrilla would “be informed of the charges which have been brought against him” — in all likelihood genocide or crimes against humanity.
Nuon Chea was arrested by a squad of Cambodian special forces soldiers, police and Western security guards who surrounded his small wooden home in a forest on the Thai border.
He was questioned inside for a short time before being taken away by helicopter and flown to Phnom Penh.
“My dad seems to have no worries, but my mother is worried about him,” his son, Nuon Say, told Reuters
Read further on
THIS LINK about the Khmer Rouge and I posted a few days ago also about them….

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Read HERE about Pol Pot…
I’ve read the book…”First they killed my father…” A VERY upsetting book, but fantastic narration…follow my links to read more about the book. I’m now busy with “Lucky child…”
Last night there was on CNN a very interesting program on TV and that inspired me to post this on my blog…
 
Lung Ung
Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights, and sassing her parents. When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Ung’s family was forced to flee their home and hide their previous life of privilege. Eventually, they dispersed in order to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier in a work camp for orphans while her other siblings were sent to labor camps. Only after the Vietnamese destroyed the Khmer Rouge were Loung and her surviving siblings slowly reunited.

Loung Ung is a national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. She is the author of Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind, and she lives with her husband in Ohio.
Khmer Rouge on trial, CNN.
Read HERE about the author.

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This book “First they killed my father” is a must-read if you like to read books about wars. This is a sad story, but it gives you a true insight in what really happened during the Vietnam War. Read the reviews on Amazon, follow the link below. I totally agree with what everybody says about this book. 
and……….read the sequel too….”Lucky Child…” It’s brilliant, though very upsetting what Loung Ung and her family – and others in Vietnam – had to experience.


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First they killed my Father, by Loung Ung

Loung was born into a wealthy family of nine in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Pen. As her father is employed in the city as a military police captain and is a supporter of the former Lon Nol government both he and his family risk being captured and killed by the Extreme communist Khmer Rouge if his identity is found out. The Khmer Rouge wants to turn Cambodia into an agrarian nation free of the ‘western poison’ of capitalism. To make this dream a reality they begin to kill anyone who isn’t ‘pure’ Khmer and all those who indulge in western culture and learning. Luong’s father moves his family to the countryside where the Khmer Rouge places them into a work camp. The father attempts to keep his origins a secret so his family can survive. Every member of the family works hard and speaks to no-one so that they will become worthy citizens in the eyes of the angkar. The Book moves at a steady pace and the reader is kept interested throughout because of the author’s uncomplicated writing style. Loung’s changing emotions are vividly articulated drawing the reader in and allowing them to understand her plight and also her great triumph at the end when she beats all the odds and finally achieves her freedom.

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