Roland Dürre
Monday May 29th, 2017

Nomads on the Cyclades – MILOS

This time around, we started our island hopping 2017 on May, 22nd in Serifos, coming from Piräus.We continued via Sifnos to Milos. Tomorrow, we will leave Sifnos and go to Paros and Antiparos. And on May, 29th, we will return to Piräus and spend our last Greek night before the return flight from Athens to Munich there.

I managed to read the book (almost) in one go – sitting on my balcony in the hotel Beach Lagada.

When we arrived in Milos, I found a book in the Adamas coal mining museum. I found it so exciting that I read it in one go. The title is
THE DOCTOR HANS LÖBER
Letters from Milos, 1943-1944
Edited and with a comment by Dr. Hanns-Georg Löber and Gregory Belivanakis.

This book made such a huge impression on me that I absolutely recommend it. So, dear Cyclades hiker: if you ever come to Milos and if you wish to know more about the island, you want to buy it.

Here are a few ideas: 
During WW2, many Greek islands were occupied by the Deutsche Wehrmacht and the army of the Italian allies. Consequently, they were military strongholds. Dr. Hans Löber was a marine medical officer who, after having been sent to various battlefields also had had the order to build up a medical “district” in Milos on the “North-Ocean” in 1943. This district was supposed to make sure the German soldiers injured during the intended military operations in the Mediterranean Sea had sufficient medical attention. Thanks to his special organizational talent, he was very successful, regardless of extremely difficult conditions.

Quasi as a side effect, he also built a military hospital for the locals of Milos who were not at all well cared for medically. Among the natives, this brought him a lot of respect, appreciation and gratitude.

It happened quite frequently that I found testimony of the German occupation of Greece during WW2 when visiting the Peloponnesus and the Cyclades. Especially in Kavralyta (see my  pre-view of the Peloponnesus hiking trip early in May 2017), I was deeply moved when I heard about the Deutsche Wehrmacht massacre, which had been a reaction to partisan skirmishes and where some villages were destroyed and around 100 people were murdered.

In this book, the letters Dr. Hans Löber sent home during his time on Milos are published, probably unabridged. They are supplemented by a few commentaries by the editors and a selection of historical photos.

What makes the book special is the high amount of humanity that the letters convey. These are the reports and confessions of a highly religious and “true and upright” German. And I mean true and upright in the best sense of the words.

However, they are also impressive contemporary documents. For instance, the writer of the letters constantly relates events of the war and political events he heard on the island. The letters convey both his unbroken joy of life and his big personal misery caused by the death in action of two of his brothers.

But the documents also show how perfect and perfidious the Wehrmacht was organized and how humans were used in the war as resources in order to reach a questionable goal. And also how WW2 was minutely planned and realized by the German Administration. That was also true for fringe topics such as field post or air field post or the German Military Radio Station in Athens, from where a program from Milos was broadcast on Christmas Day.

Above all, this book is – even if that is not said expressly anywhere – an impressive appeal for PEACE. That is why I recommend that every upright person should read it.

Milos, May, 29th, 2017

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
You can also order it online – the proceeds will support a hospital in Milos.

Roland Dürre
Thursday May 18th, 2017

Armies in General and The Bundeswehr in Particular.

About War and PEACE.

It is a great achievement to be able to be peaceful and drink your beer.

Currently, you can again read a lot about the German Armed Forces. Suddenly, many issues re-surface, things that were well known are newly discovered and Frau van der Leyen wants to repair it all. With things such as a “new tradition awareness regulation” and the like. They even start talking about reviving the general military draft. That gives me pause!

However, none of these things will help. Because every army will collapse sooner or later, certainly when matters get serious. Because armies can only function if you have people who can actually see beyond humaneness.

War will always thrive on hatred and enmity. It brings murder and death, useless destruction and annihilation. The soldiers are the instruments that actually realize war.

Consequently, I will now give voice to three theses that show that the German Armed Forces cannot work as they say it works. All three theses are relevant, and not only because of the current developments and discussions. Yet I never hear them in public discussions. Because they would show us how irrational war is. And that is something politics world-wide do not want – among other reasons because the weapons industry does not want it.


First Thesis

An army is not and can never be a “normal” enterprise.

Politics often claim that the German Armed Forces are a normal enterprise that produces security. But that is not what it is. Because: an enterprise is defined as a social system with an economic goal. Said goal is realized through producing things or offering services that the market (the people) need or think they need.

Naturally, the German Armed Forces are also a social system. However, it does not have an economic goal. Its goal is simply to destroy and kill. Its legitimation is fear and its lie of a camouflage is the service “security”. It is considered a matter of course that it exists – based on indisputable “forces”. That is why nobody spends a lot of time thinking about it and, unfortunately, only few persons in Germany sincerely question it.

After WW-II, there was the dream of a peaceful Germany without an army. This dream was quickly destroyed through the re-armament in the 1950s.

The reasons given in favour of armed forces changed again and again during the last sixty years. Let me relate to you how I experienced it as a witness of the time. When it was re-started, the Bundeswehr was sold to us as a

  • DEFENSE ARMY
    Thus, the re-armament was a necessary contribution towards defending the “free west”. It was realized against the wishes of the majority of the “stupid” citizens. 
At the time, almost the entire world was – totally irrationally – divided into two blocks through external IMAGES OF THE ENEMY. At school (I grew up in the FRG and was indoctrinated accordingly), I learned that the “East”, which was downtrodden and enslaved by Stalin & Co, wanted to conquer us – the free and rich “West” – and then force communism on us.
    Two blocks confronted each other in maniac distrust, each of them overflowing with weapons and with armies that consisted of millions of people. Ideologically and systemically, they were total opponents. You could only have either COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM. The former was extremely evil, the latter was paradise. The other side said the exact opposite. 
In these blocks, there were two not quite “totally independent states” that had no army. In the West, it was the FDG, in the East, it was the GDR. Due to the image of the enemy – caused by FEAR – and probably also because of pressure put on them by the “allies”, the FRG was the first of the two to decide that re-armament was necessary. They established the Bundeswehr. A few years later, the East reacted, the Peoples’ Army was established in the GDR. This is how the “German” GDR became the most unrelenting enemy of the “German” FRG. The extension was the Warshaw Pact (UdSSR and the rest), i.e., the world of the communists. 
Since everybody understood more or less clearly that the “defense case” would mean the new total destruction of Europe, there came a time when this model was no longer so famous. Consequently, the military strategists came up with something new, the
  • ADVANCE DEFENSE
    They gave people the illusion that war could be kept from your own country and that the enemy can be destroyed (beaten) before you suffer detrimental consequences yourself. Since this assumption did not ring very true, it was based on things like “total deterrence through overkill” and “first-hit doctrine”. . 
The concept reminds me a little of how, today, they think you can win wars by sitting at your desk and sending fighting robots and drones. You will find others to do your dirty work for you. 
The doctrine of advance defence, too, became doubtful. The people no longer believed it, the Cold War disappeared, Russia capitalized itself (late). Corruption increased. Despotism started to grow. Consequently, they looked for “new tasks” for our army – and they found them. The German Armed Forces became part of the
  • World Police
    After all, Germany was glamorous again. Being an economic world-power – so they said – we had the duty to take more “responsibility” for the (new) world order. Along the way, we also noticed that, due to our throw-away-society, we are rather dependent on raw materials and that said raw materials often come from far remote countries. And we assumed that some evil-minded guys of this world wanted to steal them from us. That was another reason to become part of the American World Police. 
Totally as a logical conclusion, the Green and Social-Democratic Parties (!) as the ones in power decided that our Armed Forces were now also necessary abroad. Because if it is not in Germany, waging war is not so bad and no taboo. You can kill people and destroy houses.
    (This alone should be reason enough to never again vote for either of the two parties.)
    This is how we became part of the export of weapons system. 
However, if you look at the wars of the last sixty years, you will soon realize that none of these wars ever improved a situation or solved a problem. All those wars were more or less a failure or totally useless. They always brought a lot of misery to people, many persons were killed or injured, crimes against humanity were committed on a daily basis and the destruction of infrastructure was always massive. Yet, the “political result” was always failure. 
The “small” NATO war on the Balkan is often cited as an example for a successful and just “campaign”. Well, I am not so sure about that. Apart from considerable destruction and the creation of victims, the consequence was that Yugoslavia was liquidated and replaced by a number of small countries. Following modern diction (the belief in huge units such as Europe), this is not considered advantageous, either. 
But it is actually possible that the Balkan war ended useless bloodshed through determined bloodshed. I might perhaps accept this instance as the one exception that proves the rule. 
As soon as we started war against (marched into) Afghanistan, it was clear to me that, basically, war can never solve problems. As a side effect, we learned that it is hard to gain raw materials by means of weapons. It is much easier to buy them with good products and hard cash. Thus, the motivation to play world police dwindled and they needed a new reason for waging war. Luckily for our military and politicians, there was a new enemy:
  • TERRORISM
    Thus, we started our war against terrorism. We even have units stationed in Turkey. Since, basically, terrorism may also come with the refugees, we protect our border on the Mediterranean with armed forces through Frontex. In order to fight terrorism, we are prepared to increase our budget for more armament by fifty per cent in relation to our gross national product. In doing so, we are true to a promise we gave many years ago totally unnecessarily – a promise that our favourite ally under Trump is now demanding we deliver .
I wonder what new enemy they will find when they find out that terrorism cannot be fought with war, either.

Second Thesis

The military principle will cause all armies to derail sooner or later.

The militia and armies are based on a cruel principle. Every soldier must be ready to kill and die if he is ordered to. In war, this is an absolute necessity, because otherwise war will not function. This is something every recruit should be made aware of when he decides to be a soldier. 
Following military concepts, it is impossible that a soldier judges whether or not an order is ethically just or if it can be boycotted. Especially in the real-world scenario, this is unthinkable. Just like it is unthinkable that a soldier may desert his post when he starts having doubts. Deserting your post is a no-go and cannot be compatible with war functioning. 
Since such a situation is about life or death (that is why some desert), there can only be one punishment for a deserter – the immediate execution. Everything else is wishful thinking. War will not work if a soldier is free to desert. Just remember the old proverb:

Imagine there is a war and nobody joins.

If, for instance, today the occasional deserter from the Third Reich’s Wehrmacht is “rehabilitated”, then this is total hypocrisy. Just like the fairy tale about the citizen in uniform is fraud and a lie. It will only work if the army is some kind of bluff weapon that is never supposed to actually be used. I do not believe that his has ever been the case for the German Armed Forces of the FRG – and even if it was so, then that is definitely no guarantee that it may not still be put to practice
So:
Soldiering is based on the perverse basic principle: “Kill or die on order”.

This principle has to be practiced daily. Basically, a social system with this underlying principle cannot develop in a socially reasonable way and it cannot be healthy either. Sooner or later, it must collapse, either totally or in parts. Armies will always feed from the “honour of the private” and his virtues and heroic deeds. In order to keep this stupid pretence up, you will always need a mystic tradition. And this is where the Third Reich Wehrmacht is an ideal concept for today’s German Armed Forces. After all, it was extremely successful for a few years and was consequently glorified in a unique way.
And thus, the perhaps sub-conscious admiration of “heroic deeds of the German Wehrmacht”, transported through several generations, is probably still found in the hearts of many young persons. 
(Cynical note: 
Formerly, I sometimes visited computer vintage markets. And I always met the most enthusiastic computer people. Good IT people basically love computer vintage, and good soldiers love weapon vintage).

Third Thesis

The weapons industry promotes war.

To me, this thesis sounds trivial. Consequently, it is quite clear that I will not make a huge effort to justify it. For the weapons industry, war means “making real money”. If you build weapons, you need war. And we all know that today the concerns generally have a huge influence on political decisions and also on legislation, etc. I am sure that the weapons industry is not in the habit of mincing words.

One of my friends, Jolly Kunjappu, can show you particularly well how weapons concerns “plan and make wars”. You can meet him on July, 8th in the Munich Literaturhaus.


I believe that the re-armament and consequently also the establishment of the weapons industry was the greatest sin of the German post-war politics. This decision was prepared by Adenauer in a conspiratorial way immediately after the FRG started to exist and then it was established against the wishes of the German majority. In my eyes, that was a criminal act and it deprived Germany and the world of a chance.

For us, there is perhaps no other way than to “dis-arm” step-by-step. We have to cut down on weapons budgets world-wide. We have to minimize the influence of the weapons industry – and at the same time, we must also become more peaceful, at least in small steps.

Consequently, here is what I ask of you: please be for PEACE. And you will make me happy if you read my category PEACE  and especially A PEACE manifesto .

Thank you so much!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday April 10th, 2017

Jolly on July, 8th in the Literaturhaus München.

Every person has his or her own rhythm. They only need to find it.

Being human is not always easy. Especially if you want to live in peace, it is often hard. Perhaps living happily is even harder. You have to practice it. Above all: everybody has to begin with himself/herself. For every one of us, the world is primarily about ME, which is YOU.

Consequently, we have to learn to appreciate and love ourselves. And, above all, we have to become more peaceful. We have to take responsibility for ourselves (ME) and bring this in harmony with the responsibility for the whole (WE). This is how we can develop our own personal recipe for happiness.

My friend Jolly says it in a nutshell. We have to find our rhythms. Each his or her own. On Saturday, July, 8th, he will show you how to do it!

As always, I will look forward to meeting many friends when Jolly performs. But remember: the Literaturhaus is not very big and will be soon booked out.

So you want to buy your ticket early. I will gladly help you.

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

P.S.
On Thursday, April, 28th, 2016, Jolly spoke in favour of PEACE in my Unterhaching office building. We were allowed to film him. Here is his full performance!

I recommend that you enjoy the video with friends and a nice glass of red wine. I promise that the 60 minutes you spend watching it are a very good time investment. And afterwards, you will have a lot to talk about.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 28th, 2017

Prejudices, Aversions and Resentment will not bring PEACE.

The Way to PEACE Starts Inside Myself.

Last year, I spent a few days in the philosophic seminar with my friend Klaus-Jürgen Grün. Each time, I learned many new things. One of the topics of our philosophic research was resentment.

Staying with Klaus makes me thoughtful, staying at certain places encourages me to reflect.

Consequently, I started thinking about my own resentments. For me, aversions, resentments and prejudices are the little sisters of hatred. I want to find where they are inside me in order to prevent them from growing further and from taking possession of me.

Like hatred, they are a paradox. They, too, are directed against the “others”, but mostly damage the person who has them inside. Like fear, they happen between the ears and will make you aggressive and unhappy.
And that is certainly something that is not necessary. I do not wish to harm myself because I am prejudiced against others. After all, it is not logical, is it?

So I try to become aware of my aversions and resentments and ask questions about them. I know that they are based on prejudices, i.e., on totally irrational assumptions. And that they can cause terrible judgement in advance.
Basically, this is all about how everything goes without saying in my life. I find a new prejudice inside myself every day. They all cause negative communication and unfair treatment.

What is worse: I noticed that the very characteristics I hate most about myself are those I dislike in others. That is when I think I should first look for my own mistakes and, where possible, correct them. And after that, the world will already look totally different.

Consequently, it is a lot more constructive for me to start on the way towards PEACE inside myself. This is how I will become stronger, instead of pushing myself down because I get annoyed about others. Because it is as useless as a canker, gains me nothing and will harm nobody but myself.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday February 27th, 2017

A Manifesto for PEACE!

It is always rewarding to tune in to Bayern2. This time, it was the “Culture Journal” that found my heart.

Ingeborg Bachmann: Graffito by Jef Aérosol at the Klagenfurt Musilhaus

Yesterday’s program had literature and poetry after the war as its topic. The last interview was with the publicist Peter Hamm. It made a huge impression on me. You can listen to the entire program as a podcast  (Kulturjournal of February, 26th,  2017).

Peter Hamm related in a very intense way how, early in the 1950s, he suffered because of the re-armament. To put it bluntly, he said that “the re-armament meant the end of his relation with the new nation”. At the time, he had read works by authors such as Ingeborg Bachmann and Nelly Sachss. And that is how they found the “manifesto of his generation”, the poem “Alle Tage” by Ingeborg Bachmann.

And that was when my brains said “click”. Because this poem was also the manifesto of our youth. It is a cry for help by Ingeborg Bachmann that is more modern than ever before!

 

 

Each Day
War is no longer declared,
it just continues. The unspeakable
has become normal.The hero
remains aloof from the fights. The weak ones
are now under fire.
Patience is the uniform of the day,
your decoration is a pitiful star
of hope above the heart.

It will come in last
if nothing more happens,
after the barrage has ended,
when the enemy has become invisible
and the shadow of never-ending armament
spreads to the horizon.

It will be awarded
for fleeing and deserting,
for bravery before your friend,
for treason through telling unworthy secrets
and for not following

any orders.

Ingeborg Bachmann

(1952)

 

When I read it, my only emotion was sadness. And especially the last six lines say exactly what I crave!    
It would make me truly happy if “Alle Tage“ were also to become the manifesto of the young generation!

RMD
(Translated by Evelyn)

P.S.
On this lyrikline page, you will also find an audio version of “Alle Tage”.
I took the image and signature of Ingeborg Bachmann from the German Wikipedia page.

For more information on the poem, see:
© Piper Verlag GmbH, München 1978
Aus: Die gestundete Zeit. 1953.
Heute in: Werke Band 1
München: Piper, 1978
ISBN: 3-492-11700-7
The audio production lyrikline is by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (1952). It, too, impressed me very much.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday February 21st, 2017

MORE MONEY FOR ARMAMENT …

Says the USA as they look towards EUROPE …

 

 
 
 

I find it terrible

  • After all, up to now I believed it is the world-wide goal of everybody to wage fewer wars, kill fewer people, produce less misery and build fewer weapons.
  • And that weapons always will only be useful for business in the weapons industry.
  • In the last fifty years, I myself never knew a war that solved any problems. On the contrary.
  • Side effect: now I know that Greece (relative to its gross national product) is the EU country that spends most money on armament (2,4 %) and Germany (thanks to the strict rules formulated by the “federation partners” when we were “re-united”), least (1,2 %).
  • Just like I always also hear that, among all the EU countries, Greece is worst off and Germany best off.
    🙂 Honi soit qui mal y pense!
  •  

     
     
     

And here are some questions.

  • Why does not EUROPE counter by asking the USA to spend more money on climate protection?
  • How does EUROPE expect to become more independent if they do not vehemently oppose the amoral request of the USA, rather than agreeing like an obedient sheep?
  • What exactly are the shared values of the USA and Europe that need to be defended?
    (Would you like me to guess? I cannot think of very much.)
  • Does the NATO really have to manoeuvre in the Baltic States and already plan the next manoeuvres in Poland?

In particular, I do not understand it because EUROPE, just like the USA (and the same is true for the enemy RUSSIA) are bankrupt with permanently increasing debts. And besides, these nations, just like the entire world, have totally different concerns that they really should get worried about. It is the “fear that eats up the soul” and truly fills the heads of some old men from a world long gone. That makes me sad.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Woebegone Europe – What Exactly Is It?

At the moment, nobody can probably say what kind of construct the so-called ’Europe’ is. Economically, it does not look too good, its crisis countries struggle against increasing unemployment rates, it is politically divided and the citizens and elites have become more and more each other’s enemies because, after seven years of Euro crisis, they now see themselves confronted with a refugee stream from Africa and the Near East that does not look like it will end in the near future.

Is this the demise of this ’European Artificial Concept’ European Union (EU) and currency union, where none of the governments that are part of the whole is capable of showing us a uniting narrative – which means that the stupid shouting of rightist disruption mushrooms is being slurped up by an abandoned citizenry like Grail Messages?

Or is this diffuse concept EU doomed because all its borders have to stay open? Since, as the German Chancellor – who simultaneously writes into her subjects’ annals that a 3,000 kilometre-long border as Germany has it cannot be controlled anyway – tells her citizens that otherwise the Euro will have failed. Just like the EU with its 14,000 kilometres of borders, cannot be expected to control them all?

And those who think they know better and tell people that ’Schengen ’ should under all circumstances have been adhered to and that the exterior borders should have been protected are told that, after the interior borders had fallen, they perhaps learned nothing at all from the world financial crisis that, too, was initiated by the Americans. After all, did anybody care about the Maastricht Rules when the individual governments hastily saved their banks because the economic control mechanisms had failed – or that is at least how they interpreted it – and, consequently, everybody had to return to the ’primate of politics’ as a matter of course?

And that is how we are going to continue, no matter what! As it is, the safety packages and soft budget limitations are an excellent tool for keeping the interest rates of ’Mr. Draghi’s EZB’ low and even for, without any shame, indebting ourselves even more without having to deal with the intricacies of debt reduction and structural reforms as the usual dumb asses demand!

What a pity that parts of the population and the EU and currency union get more and more dissatisfied regardless: masses of them run towards the leftist parties in the south and towards the right extremists and national conservatives in the north and east, instead of at long last becoming wise and taking their example from good old Germany – this is true for the euro crisis, the refugee crisis and the energy revolution! It would be quite easy, wouldn’t it?

Even if there might be the danger that the occasional wisecrack who believes that Germany, based on well-meaning, will actually do the wrong thing due to its uncoordinated policy, thereby threatening to destroy the peace project of a unified Europe. One of those wisecracks is he historian Heinrich August Winkler. He says: It is part of our German responsibility to kiss inflated moral egos that especially progressively inclined Germans world-wide possess good-bye. It is an erroneous belief that we, if necessary even all by ourselves, have to realize the good things. It must not become our lives’ lie!“

Hm – how confusing! This is definitely not what our Federal Chancellor thinks?

But maybe the man actually has a point?

KH
(Translated by Evelyn)

Roland Dürre
Monday January 9th, 2017

PEACE

PEACE must not become a religion, because then we will quickly become un-peaceful.

That is also the reason why there must be no project PEACE.

Seems to be a powerful symbol für peace. May be to powerful.

As you all know, I was going to start a project PEACE. Well, more than ever, I am in favour of PEACE. But no longer as a project.

In the last few months, I have had many dialogues with wise and peaceful persons. Like me, they are convinced that peace is the most precious commodity for us humans. And I learned a lot from them and thought a lot about what I can do for PEACE.

Here is what the current state of affairs regarding my ideas is:

I no longer believe that peace can be brought about by organizations and projects.

A short time ago, a strong lady came to me and said:

“Roland, I am now retired, I have lots of time and I would like to support you in your project PEACE”.

I had to tell her that, according to my understanding of PEACE, there cannot be a successful PEACE project:

The only possible project is to live for PEACE yourself.

Very individually and initially only in private. So I asked her to start her own “project” and simply live for (and work towards) her own und all our PEACE. Consequently, I believe there have to be many small peace projects. Everyone first and foremost works on them for himself or herself and individually.

And that you have to deliberately refrain from coordination and mutual agreements. That would be dangerous and quickly cause manipulation and ideology. And it would probably do more harm than good.

So it is my idea that we all should not organize anything. Instead, we should open our sensors wide and be considerate and free – perhaps as a swarm with others who want PEACE. That sounds religious. I do not like religious patterns.

But perhaps PEACE can work if peaceful persons live their beliefs exclusively for themselves and if the convictions they have are based on their own ethically responsible judgement and on the values of humanity (such as the Golden Rule, the Biophilie principle, human dignity being unalienable  …).

I think even “peace-loving” people must NOT actively try to convince others towards being PEACEFUL or act as missionaries. All humans have to come to their own conclusion about PEACE being the requirement for everything else. Otherwise it will not work.

And, above all, nobody should be willing and able to sacrifice themselves for what they believe and thus become martyrs! Because this is not how PEACE can work. Consequently, no organization and no project for PEACE can be a success and actually bring PEACE. In fact, perhaps even the symbol for PEACE I chose and inserted at the beginning of this article is questionable and might be criticized.

It is not easy for me to formulate my complex ideas. If I succeeded in making a little clearer what moves me, then that will make me happy.
And I will continue to strive towards my own PEACE..
RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Perhaps this is a process – can we call it evolution?

My Personal Wish for 2017:
Gratitude and Considerateness, both for You and Others.

Many years ago, I already noticed how important it is to be considerate, both towards yourself and other persons, in what you do, but also towards the entire creation. I also started realizing quite some time ago that appreciation is the basis for peace and that appreciating yourself is the first requirement if you want to be able to appreciate other people.

But it took me almost 66 years to discover that the ability to be grateful is probably the most important requirement for a happy life. Today, I am infinitely grateful for all the things I was allowed to experience and learn in my life.

Consequently, it is my personal wish for 2017 that the degree to which I am thankful will and can continue to grow. And that is exactly what I also wish all my friends, and especially the IF blog readers!

So:
For 2017, I wish you loads of beautiful things so that the degree to which you can be thankful will grow at your heart’s desire. And I wish us all the ability to be very grateful!

Health is also a very important commodity. So I also wish you all very much health!
As opposed to this, the small piglet is just supposed to bring a little luck. May the portion of luck that gives us the extra joy always accompany us all!

Best wishes for the start of the New Year and the same for the entire 2017!

Einen guten Rutsch und ein gelingendes Jahr 2017!

RMD

P.S
I use this beautiful picture every year as an illustration of my new year wishes. It was originally designed by my dear friend, the photographer Rolo Zollner. It is listed as “common licence“, which means that you all can use it, provided you tell all your readers where you found it and who designed it.

May it bring as much happiness as possible to as many persons as possible, and in particular to Rolo!

Roland Dürre
Tuesday December 27th, 2016

#NoArmy – Belize, Costa Rica, Panama

In my last post, I started telling you about my last trip through the Caribbean under the title Travelling in Central America (Unterwegs in Mittelamerika). One of the surprises that made me happiest was that I found three countries that have no federal destruction machinery, also known as army or military system.


A short trip through the Panama Channel in a pleasure boat. On the horizon, only just visible, you can see the Puente de las Américas, which was opened on October, 12th, 1962. Having an open height of 61 metres, it is still not high enough for some ocean giants.

Actually, one of my dreams is to live in a country that decides not to have an army and consequently will also do without the elements that go with an army, such as weapons industry, compulsory service and/or mercenary armies, etc. That would be a country that has no ministry of war or defence and no soldiers who work machines the sole purpose of which it is to kill humans and destroy cities.

I still find it regrettable that, immediately after WW-2, the Adenauer administration purposefully and secretly worked towards a re-armament, regardless of the fact that the German Parliament had refused a national re-armament in its first state debate on November, 24th and 25th, 1949. See also the article on the Himmeroder Denkschrift (and especially the part about the Himmeroder Expertengruppe).


Let me cite Wikipedia:

In May 1950, keeping it top secret, Adenauer had instituted an office under his military advisor, General Gerhard Graf von Schwerin. Its official name was Zentrale für Heimatdienst (ZfH) and its task was to select former officers, generals and admirals of the three military sectors who were “unblemished” and some of whom could be counted among the military resistance against Hitler in the broadest sense of the word. From this group, a team of German experts for military expert exchange with the allied forces was to be established. They were also to represent Germany in negotiations with allied partners. Regardless, some of them were subjected to intense criticism.

As early as April, 25th, 1953, Adenauer had reached his goal and the re-armament of the FRG was a foregone conclusion. It was probably in reaction to this that the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) was established on January, 18th, 1956.


Back to Central America:

In Belize among the Mayas 🙂

I had already known that Belize was a country without an army. However, I was surprised to learn that the same was true for Costa Rica and Panama. During discussions, I had long been in the habit of mentioning Belize as an example for a country without army. At the time, my argument in the discussion was always countered by others saying that, basically, Belize was just a (hidden) colony of the USA.

That is why I intended to talk to the people living there about the topics #NoArmy and the US dominance. And I was surprised to see how all the people I talked with in these three countries felt not having an army was really something very positive.

Regardless, I can well imagine that the CIA controls these countries. However, the people living there I talked to denied this. To me, they all seemed to be very independent and democratic. They pointed out that their country lives in peace with all other countries of Central America and the rest of the world.

Neither could I detect a US dominance as far as business is concerned. As everywhere, the cars, busses and trucks were from Asia and the EURO was just as welcome as the USD.

This picture was taken at our departure to the Puma waterfall scientific centre at Costa Rica when we started an organized and wonderful trip to the Veragua rainforest.

Our female guide in Costa Rica who accompanied us during a trip starting from the Puerto Limón was able to describe the situation very precisely. She remained in Costa Rica after having been on vacation there. Today, she is a young grandmother, living with her big family and working in charitable projects that want to support soft tourism that will eventually channel the money into the right hands.

But our time in Belize also quite exciting. This is where I noticed that there is still a lot of British colonialism. Belize was also the only country on our trip where the cars were driving on the left side. In Panama, I saw a truly healthy national pride. At least judging by what I felt, the people and the country were not at all controlled by the USA.

But even if this were not true: I personally would prefer being a little under US colonialism to having an army.

This is how the three countries have again become real valid examples for the fact that it is possible to do without an army and probably even to do better without. And this is how, for me, the Puente de las Américas became a symbol of hope and for a peaceful future without weapons.

RMD
(Translated by EG)