October 2, 2006

Two articles in the Ottawa citizen made me angry this morning. Tories pull plug on portrait gallery being one, and the other was about the Canadian War Museum not documenting World War II allied bombing raids in a totally positive light. A visiting veteran “may wonder if it’s a war museum, or an anti-war museum,” comments the biassed reporter. As if anyone would want to advocate a pro-war museum! Of course people hero-worship the veterans of those bombing runs. All well and good. They had heroic courage indeed and sacrificed themselves without flinching to what they believed was a great cause. However, that is no excuse for refusing to see the wrong that was done. What is the difference between the innocents who perished under the bombs dropped on London or Coventry and the civilians who burned to death in Köln, Berlin or Dresden? Sorry, but I don’t see it.

If Canada cannot boast a decent National Portrait Gallery in our capital city, like the excellent Australian National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, then we are bound to be seen as an inferior, second class nation. What a shame.


One Response to “Grrrr!”

  1. Emma Says:

    I watched an interesting TV programme last night. I didn’t mean to watch it – but it followed on from “Autumn Watch” a programme about British wildlife in autumn that I did want to see. I saw the trailer for the next programme and decided to keep watching.

    The programme was a reinactment of the Nuremberg trials – concentrating on Goering. What is scary is not how evil these people were – but how human. The programme really concentrated on the diary of the psychologist (himself an Austrian Jew who’d moved to America) who “befriended” Goering in order to understand what made him tick. It was fascinating.

    There was one interesting bit of the trial where they talked about the accusation of taking over Poland etc by force and Goering said: “Taking over land by force – I can see why they’ve got the British to question us on that, they’re the experts”. He also replied to cross-questioning by an American with comments about what the Americans did to the Native people in California – that got the American extremely stressed and he lost his temper. At that point in the trial Goering got a lot of fan mail. It was only a more calm approach that beat him in the end – Goering himself broke down in tears when they showed video footage of Auschwitz.

    I think this matches Dad’s blog this week – it is too easy to pigeon hole these Nazis as “monsters”. That’s safe, it makes us feel morally superior and gives us a feeling of “it couldn’t happen here”. When you realise they were highly intelligent, well-educated human beings who chose, semi-rationally, to destroy lives methodically – that’s what’s really scary.

    The most interesting museum I have been to that discusses World War II is the Jewish Museum in Berlin – there there is no attempt to justify war from any point of view. It simply educates.

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