Sunday, March 13, 2005

Dresden - So It Goes

I have been reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut recently. It is available from Rosetta Books in MS Reader format ( Some of you may remember the movie of the same name from 1972.

Needless to say, this first-time reading of the novel is making a major impression, especially coming as it does on the 60th anniversary of the Allied fire bombing of the German city of Dresden on 13-14 of February 1945.

As I am reading the novel, I keep wondering, "Why do we hear so little about one of the worst war crimes of the 20th century?" "Why is it that nobody talks about the totally needless holocaust of innocents perpetrated by up to 1,200 American and British bombers on a city declared a safe zone by the Red Cross and to which hundreds of thousands of people were fleeing from the atrocities of the Russians in eastern Europe?" In fact, if you did happen to read about the anniversary in Dresden at all, what you got was the genuflecting of German leaders decrying the neo-Nazis in Dresden and loudly proclaiming how the lives lost in the Jewish holocaust can never be compared to the loss of life in Dresden. It's all more than a little sickening.

Every year at this time, we celebrate/commemorate Easter and the death and resurrection of Jesus. Some people even see crosses in pine trees as a sign that God would have us remember the sacrifice of God's Son at this time of year. I guess there's nothing wrong with that. But I have to wonder. Would it not also be useful to remember how we obliterated an entire city with no military value whatsoever? But that won't happen, will it? As Billy Pilgrim would say in Slaughterhouse-Five, "So it goes."

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