Friday, June 6, 2014

striking a pose on D-Day

World leaders and a few surviving veterans are gathered today in Normandy, France, to commemorate the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing assaults of World War II. It is a day of earnestness that will overlook all the wartime deaths since that time -- deaths that might call into question the honor being heaped on those who sacrificed so much so that such sacrifices would not be necessary again ... and yet rose without much honoring of things past.

(Reuters) - China used the 70th anniversary of World War Two's D-Day landings on Friday to praise Germany for its contrition over its wartime past and slam Japan for what Beijing views as Tokyo's continued denial of its brutal history.
To which Al-Jazeera retorted:
It is ironic that China, a country that commits human rights abuses today, focuses so much attention on Japan’s misdeeds 80 years ago
I don't know history well enough to gauge whose militaristic/nationalistic arrogance was greater -- Hitler (who at least could point with some reason to the financially ruinous Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I) or Japan, whose invasions of Korea and China (1937-1941) was ostensibly based on a kind of Manifest Destiny not unlike America's westward expansions. Japan needed raw materials abundant in China and Hitler needed lebensraum ... but both adventures were cloaked in a grandeur of vision that seldom, if ever, referred to plain old greed.

As ever, there is/was a sweeping vision and a 'necessity' and people died for it and now, today, in Normandy and elsewhere, there are heartfelt memories that do not remember enough.

Smile for the camera.


  1. Historically, China began as a lot of small feudal states and through a series of wars grew into a very large state with typical wartime abuses A history similar to Europe, though they failed to create a behemoth and accepted the stalemate of a variety of smaller nations. The different outcome may create questions, but i'd suggest the variety of states controlled by a centralized government is not that different from what we find in Europe with the creation of the European Union still forming. China's history begins with the Xia dynasty of 2100 b.c. while European history didn't really begin until the Roman incursion in the first century b.c. What was going on in Europe before Rome wasn't of a unifying nature. One might say China had a head start, but i imagine it's more complex than that, and i'm certainly not an authority.