Memoirs regarding tyranny

I love to read history. During high school, I found it dreadfully boring. My attitude changed after I witnessed the incalculable price paid for my freedom.

Bones of young men, women and children who fearlessly fought scheming European tyrants wanting to enslave our ancestors and take everything we Canadians cherish, became my teachers.

One young man of a previous generation, my wife’s grandfather, was sent to a Royal Naval Hospital school at age 10 until he enlisted in the Royal Navy at age 15.

His life was spent in defence of his country, England, throughout two world wars and the Cold War.

He wrote how politicians reacted to the attempted power grab of one infamous tyrant:

“As the undispersed and undiffused sunless skies of war with another threatening thundercloud filled with fearful fulminations intensified its sombre shadows, so by inverse ratio our politicians became moonstricken.

Like outwitted ostriches in optimistic pipe-dreams they buried their bone-heads in the sly-boots sand of panegyric platitudes.

They refused to admit that they had blundered and had been bamboozled, beguiled and befooled by a bloodthirsty braggart and blackguard.

They ignored or turned a blind eye to what was staring them in the face.

He loomed out of the macabre and murderous mists of mayhem, an unknown, uninvited guest.

He entered unannounced and disregarded into the slack sand-bagged stronghold of sand-castles constructed by cretins for our country’s security.

They stood petrified and could only gasp at this insolent intruder who they perceived with revulsion and unutterable horror.

He strode unchallenged into their very midst, dressed in a ghastly gruesome garb, gilded like a ghoul from Tophet, syncretic with the satanic swastika that enhanced his evil eloquence and guttural rhetoric.

He flaunted his obscenities and flouted the unwritten laws of pity. His appalling apparel and his phrenetic phraseology froze their blood to immobility of deed and addled their pates of perception.

As the stoat cavorts and capers its deadly dance which hypnotizes the cowering paralyzed rabbit so this garish unwelcome guest struck them utterly speechless with fright as they watched this hellish hallucination that transfixed them in terror.

He was the masked, pock-marked phantom…‘Hitler’!

Ineluctably, from 1939-45 my generation endured the malignant madness of an Unconditional Surrender War.

Peace returned. Yet again, nothing had been learned! When will they ever learn?” (Edward Jasper Webb)

Will our modern generation ignore what is staring us in the face?

Will we ever learn?

Garry Rayner, West Kelowna

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