Home' Greymouth Star : June 7th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, June 7, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1862 - Britain and United States sign treaty
to suppress the slave trade.
1893 - Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of
passive resistance is born when he is thrown off
a segregated train in Pietermaritzburg, South
1906 - The famous Cunard passenger liner
Lusitania is launched. In 1915 the Lusitania
was sunk by a German U-boat.
1929 - Vatican City is established
in Rome, reviving the Papal State
which had ceased to exist in 1870.
1937 - US film star Jean Harlow
dies of kidney failure, aged 26.
1939 - King George VI, with his
wife Elizabeth, crosses from Canada
to the US at Niagara Falls to become the first
British monarch to visit the United States.
1967 - Israeli forces reach banks of Suez
Canal in Egypt, two days into Six-Day War.
1970 - Death of E M (Edward Morgan)
Forster, English novelist of A Passage To India
and Howards Way fame;.
1981 - Israeli military planes destroy a
nuc lear power plant in Iraq, saying it could
have been used to make nuclear weapons.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Paul Gauguin, French painter (1848-1903);
Imre Nagy, Hungarian premier (1896-
1958); Gary Cooper, US actor (1901-1961);
Jessica Tandy, English-born actor
(1909-1994); Dean Martin, US
singer-actor (1917-1995); Tom
Jones, Welsh-born pop singer
(1940-); Liam Neeson, actor
(1952-); William Forsythe, US actor
(1955-); Prince, rock singer (1958-),
Damien Hirst, English artist
(1965-); Bear Grylls, British
adventurer and former soldier (1974-); Anna
Kournikova, Russian tennis player (1981-).
“Some seek bread; and some seek wealth
and ease; and some seek fame, but all are
seeking rest. ” — Frederick Langbridge, English
clergyman and author (1849-1922).
“And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the
idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the
weak, be patient with all of them. ”
— (1 Thessalonians 5.14)
An effort to control
a distemper outbreak
here is being made
by the West Coast
branch of the SPCA this afternoon. Although
not in the epidemic stage, the outbreak is
“smouldering” and could flare up at any time.
The SPCA has taken an unprecedented step
to check the disease in that it has organised
a group vaccination campaign which will
eventuate this afternoon. O ver 40 dog owners
have indicated they will be having their
dogs vaccinated. The Hokitika veterinary
surgeon, Mr V Petersen, will adminsiter the
Commenting on the outbreak, the secretary
of the SPCA here, Mr B C Devlin, said “there
was quite a bit of the disease around the town”.
He said the disease was spread by an airborne
virus which can kill a dog in a very short time.
A painting of Mount Barron, near Otira, by
Greymouth artist Mr M T Woollaston, will be
sent to England soon. It has been bought by
Lady Cochrane, wife of Air Chief Marshall Sir
Ralph Cochrane, RAF (retired).
Sir Ralph Cochrane was the first Chief of Air
Staff of the RNZAF, from 1936 to 1939.
The painting, which was completed late last
year, will hang in their home in Oxfordshire.
Mr Woollaston already has one painting in
England — a scene of Blackball hangs in New
Zealand House, London.
Grey County engineer Mr J M MacRae,
whose resignation was accepted this week,
will become the new engineer-manager to the
Greymouth Harbour Board, replacing Mr B G
Dowrick who switched this week to the post of
engineer to the Westland County Council.
uFood for thought
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03 755 8422
The presence of
Putin on the Normandy
beaches on the 70th
anniversary of the
D-Day landings was
planned long before
the current conflict
over Ukraine, but it is a
useful reminder of the
fact that Russia is not
some Asiatic tyranny on
Europe’s eastern borders. It is a European
country that has played a major role in the
continent ’s affairs for centuries.
Not only were the Russians on the same
side as the western allies in World War
Two; they did most of the heavy lifting in
the war against Nazi Germany, and they
paid by far the highest price.
While 850,000 American, British and
Canadian troops were landing on the
French coast in June of 1944, six million
soldiers of the Soviet army were fighting
massive battles with the German army
in eastern Europe. The land war on the
Eastern Front was already three years old,
and by June of 1944 the Russians had
won: the Germans had already begun
the long retreat that ended above Hitler’s
bunker in Berlin 11 months later.
The price the Russians paid for their
victory over Nazi Germany was huge: at
least 11 million military dead (compared
to fewer than one million dead for the
western allies). No other country in history
has lost so many soldiers, but in the end it
was the Red Army that destroyed Hitler’s
Wehrmacht: 80% of Germany’s six million
military dead were killed on the Eastern
The main strategic significance of the
Normandy landings, therefore, was not
the defeat of Germany, which was already
assured. It was the fact that Moscow had
to accept that Europe would be divided
between the victors down the middle of
Germany, rather than along some line
further west that ran down the Franco-
German border, or even down the English
President Putin, who began his
career as a KGB agent working in
Soviet-dominated East Germany, will
certainly be aware of the irony that he
is commemorating a military operation
whose main result was to contain Soviet
power. His presence will remind all the
other participants that World War Two
was not really fought to defend democracy
Hitler never intended to conquer Britain,
and was surprised when his armed forces
conquered France in 1940. He was
certainly not out to “conquer the world”,
a preposterous ambition for a country of
only 80 million people. His real target
was Russia: the Jewish-Bolshevik Soviet
Union. He could not conquer even that.
Unlike previous great-power wars, the
two world wars had to be represented as
moral crusades against evil because new
wealth and technology turned them into
total wars that required mass participation.
If people are going to be asked to sacrifice
vast numbers of their children in a war,
they must be told that it has some higher
purpose than the traditional one of settling
disputes among the great powers.
The people who lived through World
War One were fed that lie, but we no
longer believe it now. To a remarkable
extent, the western countries that fought
in World War Two still believe that it
was a moral crusade, because Hitler was a
very evil man.
So he was, but almost nobody in the
countries that were fighting him knew
about the death camps until the war was
over. Moreover, the country that was
carrying the heaviest burden in the war
against Nazi Germany was a monstrous
tyranny led by Joseph Stalin, a man who
certainly rivalled Hitler in terms of how
many millions of people he murdered.
It seems churlish to insist that World
War Two was just another great-power
conflict on the day when the last
survivors of the generation who fought
in it are gathering to honour, probably
for the last time, those who died on the
beaches of Normandy. But there is no
other time when people will actually
pause to listen to such an assertion, and it
is important that they understand it.
If the world wars were moral crusades
against evil, then our only hope of
avoiding more such tragedies in the
future (probably fought with nuclear
weapons) would be to extinguish evil in
the world. Whereas if they were actually
traditional great-power wars, lightly
disguised, then we might hope that we
could stop them just by changing the way
that the international system works.
That was the real conclusion of the
governments on the winning side in both
world wars. It is why they created the
League of Nations after the first one,
and the United Nations after the second.
Both organisations were designed to
break the cycle of great-power wars by
criminalising those who start wars and
taking the profit out of victory (because
nobody will recognise your conquests
even if you win).
The League of Nations failed, as
first attempts often do, but the United
Nations did not. There has been no
World War Three, and no great power
has fought any other for the past 69
years. Putin’s presence in Normandy is
an embarrassment precisely because he
broke the UN rules by forcibly annexing
Crimea, but the enterprise is still, on the
whole, a success. So far, so good.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Vladimir Putin with Francois Hollande in Paris before the D-Day commenorations.
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Putin attending D-Day anniversary a timely reminder
There has always been a fascination
about the world we cannot see. When
I was a boarding house master for a
primary school in South Africa, the
popular request was for a ghost story —
particularly if it was a true one.
Today I hear of many adults as well as
teenagers who are experimenting with
the spiritual world, fascinated by the
fact that there could be something more
to this life than what we can see and
feel. For me, the sad part is that they
are not acknowledging God the Creator
and God of this universe in the process.
Rather, they seek experiences and
hope to find information about the
The Christian Church goes much
further than this. It declares that there is
definitely a supernatural world all around
us that is not visible. However, we are
able to interact with it, because God
chooses to communicate with us. God
does this in a number of ways.
For instance, this weekend the
Christian Church will be celebrating
Pentecost. This is the time when
the Holy Spirit of God came down
dramatically on about 120 disciples,
believers in the risen Lord Jesus Christ,
and filled them with His presence. The
effect was dramatic. There were some
exciting physical signs that accompanied
the presence of God as He filled them.
The whole building shook like it was
being vibrated by an earthquake. There
was the sound of wind and tongues of
flame were seen on each person’s head,
without burning them.
In case that was not enough, many of
them spoke in foreign languages that
they had not learned, and bystanders
from foreign regions found that
they understood what they said. This
extraordinary anointing of the Holy
Spirit occurs today, though usually less
dramatically. Nevertheless, many of those
filled with the Holy Spirit discover that
they have supernatural gifts such as
words of wisdom, knowledge, healing
etc. They discover this as they step out in
faith, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God
the Creator. He is also the Spirit of Jesus
Christ. Yes, we believe that the Holy
Spirit is God Himself.
If that is indeed true, wisdom suggests
that allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us
is the safest way to find healing and also
guidance for the future. After all, such
trust honours God, and acknowledges
that He is indeed the Creator of both
the seen and the unseen world.
I’m so pleased I have committed myself
to His guidance and supernatural gifting
— and what an exciting life that is!
Greymouth and Kumara Anglican
The spirit world
long America’s most fabled
road, Route 66, lie the
almost forgotten graves
of German and Italian
prisoners of war brought to
Oklahoma some 70 years
ago and who now rest in the red soil of a
former Wild West pioneer outpost.
All but ignored by the thousands who
travel Route 66 each year on nostalgic
tours in search of bygone America, there
are few signs and little fanfare surrounding
the cemetery housing the remains of 62
German and eight Italian soldiers.
As many as 20,000 German POWs were
brought to Oklahoma during World War
Two and held at eight main camps and
about two dozen branch camps chosen
for their remoteness from urban areas for
Germans made up the bulk of the
POWs, who were put to work at tasks
such as picking cotton and clearing fields.
Most had been captured in fighting in
North Africa but never made it home
when the war was over after dying of
pneumonia, appendicitis, accidents and, in
one case, murder.
In the Fort Reno cemetery, separated by
a low wall from the graves of those who
died in the Wild West days, lies Hans
Siefert, who suffered fatal wounds from a
The most contentious among the dead
is Johannes Kunze, who was murdered by
fellow POWs who thought he passed Nazi
information to United States doctors at a
camp in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, said Karen
Nix, director of the Fort Reno Visitor
Centre and Museum, about 65km west of
“The die-hard Nazi prisoners killed him
— beat him to death. Those four Nazis
were hung, and Kunze was buried here,”
A few years ago, someone wrote
TRAITOR on his tombstone in spray
“Someone who knew the story
desecrated his grave,” Nix said.
A few relatives, however, know of the
cemetery and come for annual visits,
placing small German or Italian flags or
flowers at the burial plots.
“It’s a touching thing to see. We have
one German fellow in particular who
comes every year with his son to see his
father,” Nix said.
Some locals, like Italian-American
Giuseppe Clemente, have a soft spot for
the men. Clemente has been working
to repatriate the remains of the Italian
POWs, many of whose families have
forgotten their relatives captured decades
ago in Africa and taken to a remote corner
of the United States.
One of those was Private Francesco
Erriquez, also listed in official records
as Francisco, who was 31 when he was
captured by Allied Forces in North Africa,
and who died in a farming accident on
January 13, 1944, and was buried at Fort
Erriquez’s parents in the southern
Italian town of Spinazzola never knew
what became of their son, but Clemente
travelled to Italy and eventually found his
85-year-old sister Rosa.
“The loneliness is amazing. No one
remembers these people,” said Clemente.
“ We worked for three years with the
Italian Consulate to be able to send
Erriquez home,” Nix said.
“On June 20, 2011, we had a very
touching ser vice to disinter him. After
67 years, he was finally able to go home.
His remains were taken to Italy, and he’s
buried next to his mom and dad. ”
POWs lie on Route 66
A visitor walks past the graves of German and Italian POWs in a segregated portion of the cemeter y at Fort Reno, Oklahoma.
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