Category: Uncategorized

Not recognizing the times

A very recent furor over a Ukrainian Galician SS member being recognized by the Canadian Parliament reminded me of an incident back when I was away at school.

I “roomed,” that is I rented a single room from a family for sleeping and studying.  Food was acquired at cafeterias and restaurants.   One of the places where I roomed was in a home owned by former Estonians.   Estonia existed as a Duchy in the middle 1200s; it experienced strife off and on for the next few hundred years.    In the early 1700s, it came under Russian domination.  In the middle 1800s, an Estonian national identity began to be promoted; however, the area was also suffered from Russification

After the Russian Revolution, Estonia gained independence which lasted until it was part of the spoils from the  Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact where Estonia again came under strong Russian (Soviet – now USSR) influence.  That rule was oppressive.  Many Estonians became anti Soviet guerillas.  Germany broke that Pact in 1941 and attacked Russia.

But again, in early 1944, when the Soviet army, as part of their pushbike of the Germans, invaded Estonia, my landlord became a soldier fighting for Nazi Germany.  From what he related, the Estonians were basically front line canon fodder, but he survived.

When the furor over the Ukrainian Galician SS member blew up, I remembered my landlord.   I do not in any way defend the German efforts in WW2.  However, I do understand how a Ukrainian might join anyone who would fight against the Russians.

Holodomor.   Ukraine has had a very checkered time with Russia.  During the Great Depression, the Soviets, under Stalin, drastically changed how farms were managed and when food became scarcer, confiscated from the Ukraine.   The result was starvation (called the Holodomor).  Possibly five million (1 in 10) Ukrainians died of starvation in the early 1930s.   I doubt that there was much love left for the Stalin led Russians/Soviets.

The Galician SS was formed in 1943 to fight on the Eastern Front (ie against the Soviets).   Their members were allowed to emigrate to Canada after 1948

“ The Canadian Deschênes Commission

The Canadian Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênes, concluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal. #1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.[55]

The commission considered the International Military Tribunal’s verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, at which the entire Waffen-SS organisation was declared a “criminal organization” guilty of war crimes.[56] Also, in its conclusion, the Deschênes Commission only referred to the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), but rejected such a principle. “

Things are not always black and white.  You cannot condone what the Germans did in WW2.   However, peoples occupying border areas (especially those who have been ruled by one or more of their neighbours) often have reasonable motives for doing things those of us from a different time or place consider very wrong.   My former landlord was a decent person.  He didn’t spout any “party” line; he was fair and provided what was promised and more.

Is it possible that this former Galician SS soldier who was brought to Parliament was also put into an impossible situation and chose what he considered the lesser of two evils, which was to oppose those who starved and brutalized his people?

Time and location can lead us into some interesting and controversial decisions.

The Plaidneck

Humans are a funny Species

With apologies.   A very long time and no words

Where I live, we recently had an “ice storm.” It was about -2 or 3 C and it rained. At this temperature, ice forms on pretty well everything. Our maples had budded and the load of ice on the small bud laden branches was too much for many of the tree’s branches. They came down and we had an interesting day. This area went through a 7-day ice storm in January 1998. More ice, similar local damage and because then we lost poles as well as power lines, a lot longer time to put the electricity delivery system back in order

This year although the power was out, it was more localized and the poles didn’t suffer as 25 years ago. Still, the cleanup was a bit of work.

When I was cleaning up, I noticed a couple of “humans are a funny species” items:

  1. Dog walkers on a whole seem to be very responsible on picking up after their pets. (Quite a change from even 15 years ago when the spring lawn had unplanned sometimes messy volunteer fertilizer.) However there are a few who seem to have missed the purpose of bagging the stuff. There were a number of nicely wrapped fille baggies chucked into hedges. How can a person pick up the poop and then just throw it back hermetically sealed in a bag?
  2. Clean up was fun. Our local municipality opened sites where cleaned brush could be dropped off. The site where I took the brush from our trees, I saw pickup trucks pulling trailers filled with brush. Not bad, but a number of the boxes of the pickups were not used. The owners kept their “truck” bed clean and under tonneau covers. And I thought trucks were for moving stuff.

the Plaidneck

There are too many Humans

There are too many Humans

Today, I heard another news story of Ontario agricultural lands being removed from production to make room for more houses. The rate was 132 hectares per day (the report said one farm per day, but for those of us in older settled areas, it is closer to 3 100 acre farms/lots per day).

Why are we still growing houses not food.

Too many of us. Probably

Not that long ago, I listened to a radio program about sand. Apparently commercially available sand is getting in very short supply. Sand is an integral parr of one of the most common construction materials – Concrete (the stuff too many “intellectuals” call by one of its smaller ingredients – cement). The article said by a not too future date, 90% of the population (of the “south”/developing world) would be housed in cities. We need sand to build those cities.

Maybe we should look not at not enough sand but too many people.

In my lifetime, the world’s population has tripled (a annual growth rate of about 1.8%).

We are seeing local wars for territory; local food shortages, global changes in climate. Trying to accommodate upwards of 8 billion people in a finite habitat seems to be becoming more and more difficult.

Think of this. Many “western” countries are hoping to reduce green house gasses (GHG) to 50% of the 2005 amounts by 2030. World population has grown 19% since 2005 and is expected to grow another 9.5%. A 50% reduction imposed on a 28.5% larger population is approaching a 67% reduction in GHG (by everyone).

Is it possible. Maybe, but I’m skeptical. After the short lived Covid slowdown, there does not seem to be a will to continue “not doing that”. If population (not just population growth) is not reduced, we are in trouble. If growth is reduced by half, by the time my grandchildren are my age, there will still be over 15 billion people (twice today’s population) on the planet.

There is an experiment where a closed vial of nutrients has a dividing cell introduced. The experiment is designed so that the cell(s) divide every minute and the nutrients will last exactly one hour. Some questions

when is half the nutrient supply left? —- One minute before the end.
How much nutrient is left 5 minutes before the end?
— There will still be over 97% of the nutrients left.

Continued growth in a finite system is not possible

The Plaidneck

Copyright © 2024 Plaidneck

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑