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Blogging 201: Set three goals.

I’d like to know what I’m doing. I don’t know for example, how the dashboard works. That seems pretty stupid. I seem pretty stupid. But I don’t mind that. I just want to do things and be one of these people that knows how to pop pictures and drawing, perhaps a graph or something that explains something. I’ll give you an example of this. When Gladstone introduced the old-age pension for Britain in 1908, he asked one question, when do most folk die? The answer was around sixty-five. A new policy. Anybody over sixty-five got a pension. How liberal was that? Now, of course, sixty-five is when pensioners start hitting cruise control. At the same time families of eight or nine children are not as common and not as many folk are being born.  If you have eight or nine children, rest assured, other people hate you. They’ll call you a welfare scrounger. The paradox is although we live in a gerontocracy we need young people to maintain our standard of living. There’s a growing deficit. This can be shown in a simple diagram. In Gladstone’s era the dimensions for age, measured in years, would be the vertical axis and the number of people alive, numbered in thousands, would be the bottom axis. I’d guess it would look something like a triangle. Now the triangle is slowly turning the other way, tipping upside down. It would be great if I’d magical powers and could do something like that.

 

  • I’d also like to find time to read other’s blogs. I have checked a few out, but sometimes it asks me something I can’t answer like who is my gravitar and I just panic and leave, working on the assumption I can and will crash the net.

 

  • I suppose what I’m saying is I’d like to be a tech geek, or at least sound and talk like one. If that’s not possible I’d just like to know what I’m doing and be able to figure out what I’m not doing. Trial and error may be great, but whoever wants to go on trial has something wrong with them.

http://unbound.co.uk/books/lily-poole
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Roxane Gay (2017) Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body.

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Roxane Gay is the author the New York Times bestseller Bad Feminist the tag on the cover of the book tells the reader. This is an easy book to read in terms of thin chapters and the subject matter of need and greed and what makes us what we are. This is right up there with the classic, Lucy Grealy, Autobiography of a Face.

Chapter 1 of Gay’s autobiography is one sentence long.

Everybody has a story and a history. Here I offer mine with a memoir of my body and my hunger.

Chapter 2:

The story of my body is not a story of triumph. This is not a weight-loss memoir. There will be no picture of a thin version of me, my slender body emblazoned across the book’s cover, with me standing in one leg of my former fatter self’s jeans. This is not a book that will offer motivation. I don’t have any powerful insight into what it takes to overcome an unruly body and unruly appetites. Mine is not a success story. Mine is, simply, a true story.

If we flip to the last thin chapter Gay offers a summation of her life. What makes it interesting is Gay, like Grealy, has over the years developed the tools of writing to interrogate what she has become, and what she might have become, had she not been traumatised.   An honest account of a body taking up more space than it should, but not an apologist account. Art not for art’s sake, but for truth’s sake.

Chapter 88:

When I was twelve years old I was raped and then I ate and ate to build my body into a fortress. I was a mess and then I grew up and away from that terrible day and became a different kind of mess…I am as healed as I am ever going to be.

I guess we are all in some ways our own kind of mess, but Gay has ‘found her voice’. I like that. Sometimes that’s enough. But most of the time I wonder if anybody’s listening.

Risk, BBC 2 10pm, directed by Laura Poitras

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b095vnpx/risk

I didn’t like Julian Assange after watching this programme, but I didn’t have to spend six or seven years filming him and his cult of followers, much of the time in the Ecuadorian Embassy, as director Laura Poitras did. It’s unusual for a director to speak directly to the audience with her misgivings about Assange’s motives as Poitras does. It’s the equivalent of actors breaking the third wall, while in character, and speaking directly to the audience from the stage. Poitras feels she’s being played and used by Assange and I think she’s probably right.

Assange reminds me of a slicker version of the moron’s moron in the Whitehouse, Donald J Trump. Ironically, Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange is fingered as the patsy behind leaks from Hillary Clinton’s email server while she was Secretary of State in the Obama administration and prior to running in the Presidential election against Trump. In 2011, the opening shots of Risk set in Norfolk (England) has Julian Assage having one of his team phoning the Secretary of State and asking to speak to Hilary Clinton. It creates drama for the camera. But if I phone up Buckingham Palace and ask to speak to Prince Charles the likelihood of me being able to do so would be extremely slim. I’d be speaking to one of his  flunkies. Predictably, that’s what happens. Assanges’s flunky speaks on the phone to Clinton’s flunky. But it’s claimed as a moral victory for Assange, because as leverage he claims to have access to 700 000 classified documents, 250 000 United States documents classified as secret. ‘We don’t have a problem,’ he says. ‘You have a problem’ when we release them onto the internet, which he did.

Fast forward to June 2017.  James Comey then director of the FBI testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that there had been a sustained cyber-attack on the Whitehouse by a foreign power, Russia, that had close links with the Trump administration. Comey was sacked by Trump, allegedly for leaking state documents.

I googled a question. ‘What is Wikipedia?’   ‘Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia, written collaboratively by the people who use it. It is a special type of website designed to make collaboration easy, called a wiki.’

Wikipedia tells me about Wikileaks: [It is] an international non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks,[6] and classified media provided by anonymous sources.[7] Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press,[8] claims a database of 10 million documents in 10 years since its launch.[9] Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief, and director.[10]

 

The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya.[11] In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the so-called Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the “Iraq War Logs”. The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in “significant” attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published.[12][13] In 2010, Wikileaks also released the U.S. State Department diplomatic “cables”, classified cables that had been sent to the U.S. State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[14]

 

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta suggesting impropriety against fellow Democratic Party candidate senator Bernie Sanders, among other issues. These releases caused significant embarrassment to the Clinton campaign, and to Hillary Clinton, and is speculated to have contributed to the Democratic Party’s loss’.

The motto of Google is famously, ‘don’t be evil.’ The motto of Wikileaks, ‘We open governments’. The promise of transparency is always an easy selling point. Assange was teenage cyber hacker uncovering those hidden secrets of government departments. These are the guys that are wearing the white hats, cyber writing what was wrong and bringing it to the light.

Google’s dictum, of course doesn’t extend to paying taxes to governments or allowing competition. Algorithms rule the world. What you don’t see is what you get. Google are appealing a 2.4 billion Euros fine by the European competition commissioner for among other things favouring, not surprisingly, its own online shopping services. Facebook were fined 110 million Euros for using Whatsapp accounts as a Trojan horse for data mining individual’s preferences.  Apple, the richest company in the world, which provides much of the hardware to allow the software to date mine, was fined 13 billion Euros for having an effective corporation tax of 0.005% in Ireland. If you want to know how much power Apple has the ‘Double Irish’ wasn’t that the Irish Government wasn’t being cheated of tax, but they claimed they didn’t want the fine levied. The openness of a free society does not extend to the largely American conglomerates that peddle power and claim no allegiance (in theory) to any one nation. Donald J Trump, of course, spent almost all of his campaign funds of $90 million on Facebook fake news and tweaking accounts of potential backers and voters.

When we look at the power of transparency in post truth society, what do we see looking back at us but our own image. Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for six years, we know he’s a celebrity because we see Lady Ga Ga visiting him. The twin charges of rape in Sweden have been dropped. He claims this as a victory. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–348). It is literally translated as ‘Who will guard the guards themselves?’

Juvenal was referring to sex scandals. Like misogyny and a hatred of government that’s something that runs through these high-tech companies and is in the foreground of the moron’s moron and Assange’s cabal. The guards that the rich Roman’s paid to watch their wives and keep them having sex with others, were the ones they were fucking. Transparency is always a good thing, but let’s start with ourselves. Truth is often not plain and rarely simple. I’m with Assange for greater transparency, but I don’t want less government, I want more. I want to tax the Trumps and those hi-tech boys that deceive us and manipulate the truth and mix it with lies. If that sounds familiar, remember those things called bonds. A bond was something established something you could trust.  There derivatives financial weapons of mass destruction. They were in plain sight. No need to hide them. Transparency wasn’t an issue. Complexity was. But somehow, in one of the richest countries in the world, the poorest members who had the least stake in the 2008 implosion, took the biggest hit and took the blame. Welfare. In a Post-Truth world propaganda has its roots in a lack of transparency, but more in a lack of power. Those without power know what’s coming and how they’re going to be hurt, but can’t do anything about it.  Assange might have opened up a Pandora box, but if you look who is in the White House and look at Russia and Turkey and Syria, what has he done? I don’t know. But I don’t like him. That’s my truth. We don’t judge things rationally. Again and again it’s been proven empirically we feel first and think when we need to later and construct a truth around it.

 

Black Lake, BBC 4, 9pm, 9.40 pm, Directors: Jonathan Sjoberg, David Berron, Peter Arrhenius.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081clh5

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0821s1b

 

I watched episodes one and two of Black Lake last night. I’ll be following the other six episodes. I’m a bit of a Wallander anorak, loved wooly jumpers and The Killing, so a Swedish thriller with subtitles is a must see. A group of friends meet and drive to the Black Lake hotel complex, a remote ski resort that is so near the Norwegian border they joke they’re not even sure they’ve crossed it. Johan (Filip Berg)  is the young, hip financier that plans to make a killing on the land and property and takes his friends along for the ride. His girlfriend and later fiancée, Hanne (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina) who look like a young Winona Ryder isn’t sure about the hotel, isn’t sure about the noises coming from the basement and therefore isn’t sure about him. Her sister Mette (Mathilde Norholt) who is doctor ask Hanne if she’s still taking her meds. Their brother drowned when Hanne was twelve and she has never got over it. She’s off-kilter as some of the locals. The caretaker Erkki (Nils Ole Oftebro), for example, refuses to open the cellar door and threatens to punch the putative owner Johan when the latter gets a bit stroppy and challenges his lame excuses for doing nothing. Then there’s the appearance of those strange children’s drawings (a dramatic device I used in my novel (Lily Poole https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lily-Poole-Jack-ODonnell/dp/1783522356) and the way Jessan (Aliette Opheim) suffers from mysterious pains in her bloodshot eye, sleepwalks and is drawn to the cellar door. Her boyfriend,  Frank (Philip Oros) seems powerless to help when she sleepwalks and when she becomes possessed by drugs or something more malevolent. Nobody can offer any answers. Osvald (Victor von Schirach) cook and bottle- washer in the hotel complex is filmed entering the cellar, but he claims he too sleepwalks and has no recollection of it. He also claims to have no knowledge of another party making a bid for the complex, but Johan doesn’t trust him. The key to what happened twenty years ago is the local Lippi (Valter Skarsgard).  He’s nearer in age to Hanne that the distant Johan and teaches her to ride a motorised snow-ski. It doesn’t take much delving to uncover the facts and guess they’ll get together. Here we are in Stephen King’s The Shining territory. Isolated hotel. Hannah’s psychic presence and the backstory of murders that took place in the hotel when it first opened. Father, mother, and children, holding hands as they were all smothered. An open and shut case.  Helgesen (Christian Skolmen) is shown confessing to the crimes on an old betaxam tapes Hannah watches and replays. Then she spots it. He said something made him do it. The hotel is built on the grounds of an old mental sanatorium. Local myth is that murdered children return to capture souls. Johan is also captured kissing Elin (Anna Astrom) by Hanna’s sister. He’ll be punished for his sins.

 

Stacey Dooley Investigates: Young Sex for Sale in Japan

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04t0h2b/stacey-dooley-investigates-young-sex-for-sale-in-japan

I watched this half-drunk on Tuesday night, after the Celtic horror show. I quite like Stacey Dooley, a kind of Miss Marple with sensible shoes sorting the world out, but she’s breezy and young and pretty. It depends, of course, what you mean by young and pretty. Japan has a bit of history here. You’re probably aware of the rewriting of history textbooks in which comfort women were omitted. The giant damages the Japanese government paid to South Korea which funded their neighbour’s modern steel industry. The Japanese proclivity for young girls in school uniform (and young boys?) which finds expression in popular culture in pop stars and their followers, otaku, mainly middle-aged men.

Stacey Dooley tells us that child pornography was banned in Japan, but up until three-years ago images of children being raped and abused were not illegal. Her first stop was a popular Tokyo shopping area where minders touted for business from middle-aged men and looked for talent among the young girls who could be persuaded to work in the sex trade. The minders warned Stacey that she couldn’t film them or they would phone the police, unless she scrubbed the film. When Stacey refused the police came and asked her to delete filmed images of the incipient sex trade.

Her next stop was a JK café. Young girls in school uniform serve middle-aged men drinks and food, but it’s them on the menu. They chat to their customers who pay a premium rate to talk dirty to them and gawk at them. They can pay even more and get to hold hands with them and admire their purity. That’s a word, ironically, you’ll hear a lot from child stalkers.

Sex is for sale in Japan, as it is everywhere else, but with Manga comics and nationwide talent shows its mainstream. Stacey interviews a young girl that has sex with three or four men every day and views it as a form of self-abuse, like cutting her arms, but better paid.

The commodification of sex extends to children as young as six in the grey area of Chako Ero. Stacey meets a photographer who tells her how much money he is making taking pictures of young children in a thin layer of erotic clothing, who are taught to pose for the camera. Stacey asks him what he would do if it was his own child being photographed or filmed. The businessman admitted he would kill her and himself. It’s an honour code that doesn’t extend to others.

Christian and Aristotelian ideas of virtue building character seem foreign, even to ourselves. Different epochs or cultures might impose different standards on what is true and what is a virtue. When the acquisition of money is the greatest virtue, and the commodification of young girls’ bodies is a cultural given, what is regarded as shameful shifts.

Tracy meets in the denouement a self-confessed paedophile who has the courage to appear in front of the camera. He’s a cultural stereotype, the sad loser with bad teeth, and shiny white ribbons in his hair. This marks him out as other, not part of the mainstream. Not really a threat. The kind of man the authorities would happily lock up for a very long time to prove, like Stacey, they are on the case. He carries a cardboard box. Inside it is a floppy doll. He admits to undressing it and imaging what would happen…when it does he puts on a condom. He doesn’t want to get the doll dirty. Paedophilia, he declares, is a person who loves children. He loves children, but scorns the idea he is a child molester. Molesters are people that make unlawful advances towards children. He would never do that. But if a child wanted to… and he wanted to, that might be cute. Cute is not illegal. Children are cute.  Young girls are cutest of all.

Celtic 0 – 5 Paris Saint-Germain

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Hamilton manager Martin Canning after Friday night’s defeat to Celtic admitted his team had stood off Celtic in the first-half, given them too much room to play, they’d done better in second half, but they were outclassed. Ditto here. Celtic were outclassed. The odds for both teams were roughly the same. Hamilton to win around 12/1. Celtic to win 12/1. The bookies are rarely wrong. It was all so easy for PSG at Parkhead last night. Barcelona have been here before with a triumvirate of Messi, Suarez and Neymar. The latter always seems to bring out the worst in the Celtic support. Not that it bothers the world’s most expensive player. He just gets on with it. He was up against rookie right-back Ralston who was the wrong side of him and Neymar finished cooly. Edison Cavani already had the ball in the net only to be ruled off for a marginal offside decision. And five minutes before Neymar’s finish Cavani had inexplicably passed to a Celtic player when twelve yards out and should have scored. He made up for it scoring a penalty just before half time. Jozu Simunovic tugging him back and giving away a needless foul and was lucky to stay on the pitch. Cavani’ best goal, and the best goal of the night was the fourth, finding himself at the back post he somehow looped and bent the ball with a header up and over Gordon and into the net. Fabulous goal. By that time, of course, the game was over. Kylian Mbabbe, scored the second,  joining Neymar in the most expensive strike-force in world football, and found it all too easy to finish unmarked from ten yards, after Cavani had fluffed his lines and missed the ball. Celtic could easily have been 5-0, or more, down at half time.

Before the game there was some debate whether Rogic or Armstrong would start. Both did. Armstrong got the first half, Rogic the second, with no notable difference. With seven minutes in the game to go Lustig added an own-goal to the PSG tally, after another forty-odd million pound substitute for the French team, German international Julian Draxler walked past Sinclair and whipped the ball into the box. It was all so easy for the French, but I’m sure the German Bayern team will not be so keen to step aside and there’s no guarantee that this PSG team will go all the way and win it. Last night’s game was little more than a training match for them. They’ve still to play the big boys. We need to go away from home in the next match to think again. A straight shootout between Celtic and Anderlecht for third spot and a Europa league place is the best Celtic can hope for, which would be more our level. Personally, I’d bite your hand off for that now.

L’Equipe’s player ratings makes interesting reading. Spot on with Stuart Armstrong, a bit harsh on young Ralston who was on par with Simuovich and just about everyone else in the Celtic team. PSG players got double the scores of Celtic players. Twice and three times as good and that’s about right.

L’Equipe player ratings

Celtic

Craig Gordon – 3

Tony Ralston – 2

Jozo Simunovic – 3

Mikael Lustig – 3

Kieran Tierney – 3

Scott Brown – 3

Olivier Ntcham – 3

Stuart Armstrong – 2

Scott Sinclair – 4

Patrick Roberts – 4

Leigh Griffiths – 3

Brendan Rodgers – 3

Average – 3.2

PSG

Alphonse Areola – 7

Dani Alves – 7

Marquinhos – 6

Thiago Silva – 6

Layvin Kurzawa – 6

Thiago Motta – 7

Marco Verratti – 7

Adrien Rabiot – 8

Kylian Mbappe – 7

Edinson Cavani – 7

Neymar – 7

Unai Emery – 8

Average – 6.8

 

Champions League, Celtic v PSG.

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Some things are as predictable as a blind man waving a white stick. Ranger’s supporters are saying what they say every year when Celtic make £30 or £40 million from the Champions League and they can’t make progress against a team called Progres who are fourth best in the a Luxembourg league, which is the equivalent of the Scottish First or Second Division, and you’d think that would shut them up, but it angers them even more and they cry Celtic won’t get a point. They’ll get hammered 7-0 by PSG, as they did against Barcelona over a year ago, but let’s remember that was after humping the mighty Gers 5-1 and it should have been ten. Celtic are Scottish invincibles. They deserve to be where they are. Compare them with the financial firepower of PSG with Neymar’s £200 odd million, Mabappe’s £170 odd million and even the guys that won’t be playing such as Silva’s £35 million and Di Maria’s £45 million are enough to buy all of Scottish football and that includes the stadiums and makes David Murray’s grand-theft Ranger’s scheme look like financial-fair play in an Oddbins kind of way.  And yet the usual rules apply.

It’s 11 men against 11. We are the diddy team so our goal keeper Craig Gordon must not make any blunders as he did on Friday night against Hamilton. He must play the game of his life. Griffiths, or even the promising young striker Osdonne Edouard, on loan from parent- club PSG (worth a punt as an outside bet for first goal) because not surprisingly he can’t get a game in his homeland, must take what few chances we create. Our makeshift defence, the real weakness in a Celtic team that can hold its own in most other areas of the pitch, must hold out. Unless we go with a back three, which is a possibility, then Bitton, in particular, must not play like a fanny and be found out as he has in some many other European games already this year. But remember we used to go with the mighty McManus and Caldwell in defence who were poor enough to be regular Scottish internationals. So there’s nothing new happening here. Selling-on prices for seats £2 500. Fuck off. Celtic might well get hammered and they probably will, but listen to the Zadok the Priest and the Champions League theme music and go green with envy. Here’s where we want to be. Here’s where we deserve to be. C’mon the Celts.

Wendy Whitworth (editor) (2004) Survival: Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Story.

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Marina H.  Smith in the Introduction to the 46 Jews published here, who survived the Holocaust, tells the reader: ‘Every life is different. Every story is different too.’ That is true of us all, but there is a pattern of before and after. The survivors are young, middle or upper-class adolescents, some of them younger children, when the Nazis came to power and swept through Europe, when transport to the East meant certain death in Concentration Camps such as Auschwitz. I came to hear about this volume when a fellow writer Elsie wrote a moving peace about the funeral of her father. His story is here, each story different, each story the same, a broad synagogue of suffering, arranged alphabetically under S for Schaufeld, Avara, ‘A Journey – Chorzow to Wembley’ followed by the story of Elsie’s mother Vera, ‘Saved by the Kindertransport’.

Vera Schaufeld’s story is self-explanatory. She grew up in Klatovoy in the 1930s. Her father studied law and one of his teachers went on to become President of Czechoslovakia. Her mother was a paediatrician who studied in Prague and Paris. The population of their town was around 8000 and about 350 of them were Jews. Vera’s parents weren’t observant Jews. They were assimilated intellectuals. The nearest kosher butcher, for example, was 30 miles away. After Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia on the 15th March 1938 Jewish survivors could be counted on one hand. Vera’s mother and father used what clout they had to get their daughter on one of the Kindertransports leaving Prague for England. She survived, quickly forgetting how to speak Czech and German, becoming nominally assimilated into everyday English life.  Her family died.

Her odyssey was not unique other tell here of the rituals of humiliation on the Kindertransport of having their property looted and of a group of children being taken from the train on the Dutch border and being made to lick the platform by SS men and missing the train, being sent back to their deaths. Vera met Avram and they married. Here again is a commonality, like marrying like. I imagine it has little to do with Jewishness, more to do with unspoken suffering. After the war nobody much talked about the camps, the deaths, and nobody much wanted to know. For ten years or more there was collective amnesia and silence.

Andre Swarz-Bart in his fictional masterpiece The Last of the Just chronicles the pogroms against the Jews, against the idea of their otherness, and the way ‘history penetrates legend and is assimilated by it’. And the Just Jews, Lamed-Vow, becomes ‘experts in sorrow’.

O God, cover not our blood with thy silence.

Avram Scaufeld’s survival is indeed miraculous. He was a thirteen-year-old adolescent in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. The next day he became a man and had to work for the Judenrat in Sosnowitz to survive. He was one of the lucky ones taken to work in a forced labour camp in Lower Silesia in autumn 1942. Then his luck ran out. In 1943 he was sent to work on construction with thousands of others, from half-a-dozen countries, in Blechammer. Rations became sparser and camp conditions worsened. Each prisoner fighting for scraps of potato.  Avram survived but as the Red Army closed in the Germans began to evacuate camps. Long columns of prisoner marching in the cold to an unknown destination. The Death Marches were walk or die, those that couldn’t walk being shot and left in a ditch. Avram suffered from a leg ulcer and was crawling with lice, a Musselman, who could no longer keep up. His decision to step onto the cart picking up stragglers ensured his death. But when the SS came to shoot stragglers outside a cemetery, Avram found enough strength to climb the wall and hide. He was recaptured by a German policeman and handed back to the SS. He was packed in an open cattle truck with other prisoners and sent to another overcrowded camp. He was sent away once more to a forced labour camp, Langstein, digging tunnels into a mountain. Little food and any transgressions punishable by death the mortality rate was so high the dead were stacked like ‘cordwood’. His legs gave way, he was incontinent and he couldn’t walk. Two SS men with Alsatians found him and he thought this ‘a funny way to die’. Taken to the sick bay as the Allies got nearer an SS man came to evacuate it and warned those that couldn’t walk would be left burnt in their bed. Most of those that  could walk were taken by the German on another march died. Avram drifted in and out of consciousness.   How many miracles keeps a man alive in a few short years?   

We can know little of the camps, a few grey outlines against the backdrop of the raw emotions and human experiences. Perhaps Scwarz-Bart’s image of hell in which Andalusian Jews ‘venerated a rock, shaped like a teardrop,’ comes closest, or the Hasidic story of the Just Man that rises to heaven, but ‘he is so frozen that God must warm him for a thousand years between his fingers before his soul can open itself to Paradise’.

Post-war the silence of those that suffered and the eugenic policies of the Nazis led to a kind of moratorium for about ten years while those countries involved in the war rebuilt their economies. Now we have the right-wing backlash that mass murder did not take place and that is why these witnesses light the way and show that it did and show it by their storytelling.

But evil does not go away. It morphs in new ways. There’s something familiar about Jacob Judah, on the Mynamar border writing about 70 000 refugees trying to cross the border into Bangladesh and being turned back. Contemporary echoes of the SS in reports that Rohingya men and women are indiscriminately killed and Myanmar ‘military are taking the children from the arms of their mothers, and throwing them away.’ Echoes of the grey ghosts of the Sonderkommando moving among transported Jews and telling mothers to give their children to an older aunt.   The problem is that no one can offer workable solutions and even fewer care to try. Nobody wants refugees. We prefer to let them die. But there for the grace of god, go I.