Thursday, April 10, 2008

Human Smoke

From Human Smoke, the book I'm currently reading:

Captain Philip S. Mumford, a former British officer in Iraq, joined the Peace Pledge Union. He gave a speech about why. "What is the difference between throwing 500 babies into a fire and throwing fire from aeroplanes on 500 babies?" he asked. "There is none."
Good question. Good point.


The church bells in Guernica begain ringing. It was market day, Monday, at 4:30 P.M., on April 28, 1937. German pilots were in the air. They wore the badge of the Kondor Legion: a condor plunging earthward with a bomb held in its claws.
They were over the town for three hours. The curate of the Church of Santa Maria de Guernica wrote: "Before God and my country I bear witness that the airplanes threw incendiary bombs." The Times of London wrote: "The whole town of 7,000 inhabitants, plus 3,000 refugees, was slowly and systematically pounded to pieces." A reporter for the Daily Mail wrote: "A sight that haunted me for weeks was the charred bodies of several women and children huddled together in what had been the cellar of a house. It had been a refugio."
Later Hermann Goering said that Guernica had been a testing ground for the Luftwaffe. "It was a pity," he said, "but we could not do otherwise, as we had nowhere else to try out our machines."
Read this book.


Big Josh said...

I might have to add this to my reading list.

Sammie said...

Herman Goering

On War and the People

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. ALL you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

chip said...

Wow! What's the source for that, Sammie?

Matt Dowling said...

Hey Chip,

I think Sammie grabbed it as a quote from my blog. It's from the transcripts of the Nuremberg trials when Goering was giving testimony as to how the German leadership was able to arouse the German people as a whole to national war. It's frightening the parallels to our time. As I've been teaching a class at Alameda Church of Christ on pacifism I've used this quote a bit to get people thinking about why we as Christians should resist aligning our interests with that of empire.

Sammie said...

yup I stole it from Matt

Matt Dowling said...


By the by, I finished my class on Christian pacifism and will begin a study in class on Sunday called Sabbath Economics (following a book by the same title by Ched Myers). You might mention it to Katie as well if you guys are interested...