As I’m writing this, it’s literally pissing with rain– after a summer in which the drought took on dramatic proportions which meant restrictive water measures such as browning our lawns, military style showers and not flushing out toilets (when it’s yellow, let it mellow; when it’s brown, flush it down), the water is now falling from the heavens with a monsoon like force, leading to floods, power outages, downed trees and mud slides.
People always think that such a monster storm will solve the drought, but apparently this precipitation doesn’t count– all that matters is the snow in the Sierras. You’d think that if we can talk about nano particles, artificial intelligence and cures for cancer, it might not be so hard to catch this rain and make it work for us as well, but shomehow it doesn’t work that way. What am I missing?
All of this forces us indoors which means dismantling the Christmas tree while keeping an eye on our kitchen door which has now been professionally sandbagged by Jon, including the installation of a sump pump on the patio, in case our back patio does flood.
The first time this happened, years ago, Caroline was 2 or 3 and eating her cereal, while rubbing the sleep from her eyes. All of a sudden, the water started pouring in and her eyes grew big, she dropped her spoon and yelled: “But mom!!!! I can’t swim.”
Speaking of which, Caroline is still at home but she swims like the best and will survive this storm, too, while Will left for Boston which is hit by snow again.
I’m mentally preparing for my week but am also time boxing some time for The Indo Project (www.theindoproject.org), doing some research for another editorial. The bottom line here is that Indonesia, the former Dutch East Indies, had a very messy independence after the Japanese wreaked havoc in a war of attrition (starvation camps, torture, executions, comfort women/sex slaves– a story that was in the news again this week). This led to an exodus of Dutch and mixed race (Indo) civilians to the Netherlands where their suffering was not only trivialized but where their losses (material, loss of life and PTSD) were never fully acknowledged or compensated for by the Dutch government.
Case in point: my great uncle, a planter, was arrested by the Japanese, tortured and accused of being a “spy” (which he was not) and finally died in Japanese captivity, shortly before the war was over. While resistance people (people who resisted the Nazis) in the Netherlands were acknowledged and honored and received war pensions, my great aunt, who also lost her two daughters, since they were massacred in the crossfire of the Indonesian revolution of 1945 (You can read about this in my book Silenced Voices, still available on Amazon: Silenced Voices) never received a single penny from the Dutch government.
Sad to say, my family’s story is far from unique and the Dutch government has played a very questionable role in resolving this history, which now, in my view, is becoming a human rights question, especially when you compare it to other Allied governments who were engaged in the same conflict and have offered their war victims much more in terms of acknowledgement and compensation over time.
These lingering questions in the aftermath of wars show how far-reaching and cross-generational the effects and damage of wars are, and yet, as a people we don’t learn. Civilians in war (Syria!) always are dealt the short end of the stick because of the power struggle, fought out by a few sociopathic and evil men like Assad. His excuse is that he’s fighting ISIS, but he’s really killing his own people. His uprooted people have migrated all over the world in a refugee crisis that’s comparable to the Jewish refugee crisis of WWII.
Interestingly, it’s a woman (Angela Merkel) who had the balls to do the truly humanitarian thing here and take in countless of Syrian refugees. Putin, who helped Assad bomb his own people some more, will now try to meddle with the German elections because weakening Europe (getting rid of Merkel) means more power for him. Now that he’s got an orange poodle in the White House, the world is his oyster and that should worry all of us. Yet the NYT reports that Trump voters don’t think the Russian hacking is a “big deal”. Go figure. I have no excuse for people who walk around with their heads in their asses.
When I grew up and heard my parents discuss the Axis of Evil, I thought we would never witness such world dynamics again but we’re on the threshold of something truly terrifying, so people better start paying attention.
It’s still raining, the Christmas tree is still up and I’m trying to entertain/depress you with this Diary Challenge– it’s time to roll up my sleeves and do some actual work.
Good luck with your week, folks. And remember to pay attention…