Wednesday, May 10, 2006

War And Walking

Nina went to march around Ljubljana last Friday. Every year after first Mays holiday this march is organized. It's called "March along the wire of occupied Ljubljana". In 1941 Ljubljana was occupied by Italy and later they completely encircled the city with 32 of barbed wire. The barb wire fence was guarded by around 1,300 soldiers and 400 policemen, who checked the identity papers of those travelling to and from the city. It stayed enclosed like that for 1171 days. In 1957 first march was organized and it became a tradition. All around Ljubljana, where the wire was once installed, sandy road was built 20 years ago and it's where the march goes now. This public walkway is called "Trail of memories and comradeship". I went to my fist march when I was still little, I remember (probably from the pics) dad carried me on his shoulders. I got my first badge then. I have quite a nice collection of badges from years that followed. I started to hate this thing when I was in high school - we had to go to this walk (the shorter version, maybe just half of the way? A quarter? Ummm, I don't remember!), it was part of our school plan or something. Thats ok... but it was not so ok when later it was on the radio and tv news how nice it is that so many young people voluntarily join that walk every year. Thousands of youngsters, walking voluntarily? Yeah, right!

Anyway, yesterday was 60th anniversary of the end of WWII and the liberation of Ljubljana. The other day I watched a clip from a performance for the soldiers who faught in that war, partisans. It seems many of them are still alive, the hall was pretty crowded with old men. Some didn't even look so old. Weird... Many were killed though, my both granddads, for example. Maybe we don't appreciate that enough nowadays - at least I don't most of the time, but I surely am happy to live in a free country! And I'm happy that the war 15 years ago was over in just 10 days... who knows what our lives would be like if it lasted longer.

*Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves. (D.H. Lawrence)

*They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason. (Ernest Hemmingway)

*Zeus most glorious and most great, Thundercloud, throned in the heavens! Let not the sun go down and the darkness come, until I cast down headlong the citadel of Priam in flames, and burn his gates with blazing fire, and tear to rags the shirt upon Hectors breast! May many of his men fall about him prone in the dust and bite the earth! (Homer - The Iliad)

*Naturally, the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country. (Herman Goering)

*Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. (John F. Kennedy)

No comments: