Category Archives: History

This day. Anniversary of Dresden fire bombing – Allied war crime prelude to the Cold War

(FILES) Photo dated 25 February 1945 sho

Aftermath of the 1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces – at the Old Market, following bombings on 13 February 1945 | WALTER HAHN/AFP/Getty Images

By DOUGAL MACDONALD

On the night of February 13-14, 1945, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) bomber command carried out two devastating attacks on the German city of Dresden. At the time, Dresden’s pre-war population of 640,000 had been swelled by the presence of an estimated 100,000-200,000 refugees. Seven hundred and twenty-two aircraft dropped 1,478 tons of high explosives and 1,181 tons of incendiaries on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed an area of 13 square miles, including the historic Altstadt Museum. Shortly after noon on February 14, a fleet of 316 U.S. bombers made a third attack, dropping a further 488 tons of high explosives and 294 tons of incendiaries. On February 15, two hundred and eleven U.S. bombers made a fourth attack, dropping 466 tons of high explosives. [Dresden was attacked again on March 2, this time by the Americans alone. Mustang fighter escorts machine-gunned fleeing civilians while the heavy B-17s achieved the singular distinction of sinking a hospital ship on the Elbe, filled with injured from the earlier raids.–ed.]

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The deep history of US and Britain’s never-ending Cold War on Russia

The UN War Crimes Commission has finally released files that show the Allies knew – and did – much more about the Holocaust during WWII than previously thought. Cold War politics kept the files locked away | FINIAN CUNNINGHAM*
The Deep History of US, Britain’s Never-Ending Cold War On Russia

Birkenau gate at Auschwitz

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Today is Robbie Burns Day

Today (January 25) is Robbie Burns Day. 25 January 2016 marks 257 years to the day since Scotland’s national poet was born. His polemics against the exploitation, injustice and oppression of his time enraged the establishment and won him enduring love from the peoples of all lands.

burns_statue_Halifax.600x840

The statue of Robert Burns in Halifax’s Victoria Park Square is the centre of innumerable political rallies., as this one in October 2006 against the apartheid wall in Occupied Palestine | Photo courtesy of and copyright 2006, Howard Harawitz, All rights reserved.

One of his best poems, also the basis of the great German revolutionary song of 1848, Trotz Alledem:

Is There For Honest Poverty / A Man’s A Man For A’ That (1795)

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that.
Our toils obscure an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man’s a Man for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that;
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord,
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that:
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that:
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
But an honest man’s abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities an’ a’ that;
The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
Are higher rank than a’ that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,

Shall brothers be for a’ that.
Translation
Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, an’ a’ that
The coward slave, we pass him by
We dare be poor for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp
The man’s the gowd(gold) for a’ that
What though on hamely(homely) fare we dine
Wear hoddin grey(course wollen cloth), an’ a’ that
Gie(give) fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man’s a man, for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
Their tinsel show an’ a’ that
The honest man, though e’er sae poor
Is king o’ men for a’ that
Ye see yon birkie(fellow) ca’d a lord
Wha struts an’ stares an’ a’ that
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word
He’s but a coof(fool) for a’ that
For a’ that, an’ a’ that
The man o’ independent mind
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that
A prince can mak'(make) a belted knight
A marquise, duke, an’ a’ that
But an honest man’s aboon( above) his might
Gude(good) faith, he maunna( must not) fa’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
Their dignities an’ a’ that
The pith o’ sense an’ pride o’ worth
Are higher rank that a’ that
Then let us pray that come it may
(as come it will for a’ that)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth
Shall bear the gree( have priority) an’ a’ that
For a’ that an’ a’ that
It’s coming yet for a’ that
That man to man, the world o’er
Shall brithers( brothers) be for a’ that

Preview YouTube video Is There For Honest Poverty (For A’ That) – Andy M. Stewart

Is There For Honest Poverty (For A’ That) – Andy M. Stewart

 

FURTHER READING ON THIS WEBSITE: 

Robbie Burns, Grand Falls, Mackenzie and Gaza

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Winston Churchill sent the infamous Black and Tans from Ireland to Palestine

The Balfour Declaration’s purpose was to form a “little loyal Jewish Ulster in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism”, according to Ronald Storrs, “the first military governor of Palestine since Pontius Pilate” (his words). Not everything went to plan… | DAVID CRONIN*

“The Birth of the Irish Republic” by Walter Paget

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When Britain turned Palestine into a ‘second Ireland’

“In practice, the British authorities drew no real distinction between combatants and civilians. The activities of Israel today bear a strong resemblance to those of Britain. As part of efforts to erect a smokescreen around its crimes in Gaza, Israel has designated that whole territory as ‘hostile’.”

British General Bernard Montgomery supported extreme violence against the Irish and the Palestinians. Acclaimed as a military commander – he was chief of imperial general staff in the British Army during World War II – by governments, media and historians alike, “in truth, Montgomery was a thug.” | DAVID CRONIN* Continue reading

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For the record: Who owns Jerusalem (al-Quds)?

Sultan Abdul Hamid II | Pinterest

There are 171,306 deeds recorded in 46 registries of Jerusalem in Ottoman archive records. Of these, 133,365 are private property and 37,671 belong to foundations. In addition to this, Turkey’s archives also have records of Jerusalem between the hijri years 950 and 1917.

Among the records of private property were 139 deeds belonging to Sultan Abdul Hamid II, 137 of which were transferred to the treasury in the past. Continue reading

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Centenary of the Halifax Explosion: Time to disturb the sleep of the unjust

Act of God, the harbour pilot, the navy?

The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue

John Griffith Armstrong
(Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002)
Hardcover, 256 pp, 6 x 9 inches, 16 b/w photos, maps
Index, Bibliography and Chapter end-notes
ISBN 0-7748-0890-X
$39.95
New in Paperback: July, 2003
ISBN 0774808918 $24.95

Reviewed by GARY ZATZMAN*

Painting of the Halifax Explosion

Was it an “accident”? Did the harbour-pilot do it? Why did the British Admiralty send such a dangerous ship into the harbour of Halifax in the first place? Why was it diverted from New York? Why did the Americans and the French load explosive cargo in such a way? How much did the navy know – and when did they know it? The Halifax Explosion of 6 December 1917, the most destructive man-made explosion before the dropping of The Bomb, left half the population homeless, levelled residential areas of the working class, the poor, parts of the African-Nova Scotian community at Africville and the Mi’kmaq community at Tufts Cove, discredited the reputations of a number of officials and continues to inflame controversy to this day. John Griffith Armstrong’s The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue heaps another faggot on this fire. Focusing on the official inquiry following the disaster, Armstrong clarifies the role and responsibility of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Continue reading

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