Friday, January 9, 2015

Peace no more

As I am writing there is a battle going on in Paris and around it for young men who have already killed a dozen or more people. In the name of their religious beliefs they kill. At this moment some are holding hostages in a Jewish Deli and another in a printing plant. It looks right now like a woman is also involved.
This is also about freedom of speech.

Makes the hair stand up on my back.

Going back to when I was about 9 or 10, middle WW2. My mother was fluent in English. We are in the Flanders, Belgium.
She was hoping for the help of England to come and save us from this invasion.
She taught me English songs, so I was just beaming when I sang "It's a long way to Tiperary ..."
I felt all grown up as I sang in English.
One day a man came to visit ,I did not know him and do not remember the reason for his visit but I
stuck out my chest and said: "I can sing in English!" Upon which I started..."It's a long way ...mother
kicked me under the table with all her force. I stopped, offended, curious and rubbing my leg.

When the visitor left Mother explained as best as she could.
I knew they always talked about the "whites" and the "blacks"
Over heard my parents often saying: "Joseph A. in the village is a black"
so and so is with us they are white.

Mother explained that we did not know for sure who was white and who was "black".
It was not about race color. It was about their beliefs.
The whites were patriotic, the blacks were pro-german.

The blacks OFTEN reported the patriotic people for things they had said or done,
for listening to radios, just for instance, or breaking curfew or having pro-British pamplets.
Anything could set a commander off to start a hunt or take him or her to a camp.

Weeks before our liberation , a friend of my father was a turn coat, he became pro German and
he reported us to the SS. Father had already left for France and joined the American invasion
but someone came to warn my mother. We got out in time first to the convent and then further in land.
They did not find us.

But this brings me back to the feelings that I had, trying to understand at my young innocent age
why I was not allowed to sing an English song.
It made me sad, and angry. I remember both feelings. Very confused I would like to sing out loud outside so anyone could hear , or I became full of fear at the sight of a grey uniform.

Freedom of speech to me is necessary or do I have to go back to fear of the new rules in this mixed up world.

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