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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Leave it to the French

"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly." — George Washington

My last post was dedicated to the remembrance of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy. Since then I have been watching presentations on the History and Military channels honoring the 67th anniversary of this momentous event of the twentieth century.

While looking for articles and blogs about the D-Day anniversary I came upon a disgusting report from France. AP reported:

“French artist Rachid Khimoune has installed 1,000 sculptures shaped like sea turtles on Omaha Beach to mark the 67th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

The turtles’ “shells” are molded from American, Russian and German combat helmets, sprouting flippers and long-necked heads. The sculptures were arranged Sunday along the sandy expanses of Omaha Beach — where the Allies won a pivotal victory against the Nazis.

Some 215,000 Allied soldiers, and roughly as many Germans, were killed or wounded during D-Day and the ensuing nearly three months it took to secure the capture of Normandy.

A French artist of Berber origin, Khimoune is a sculptor, painter and video artist whose work often features everyday objects.”

Tell me: How could the French government countenance this art installation,dday3-620x362 which manages to be both juvenile and deeply insulting at the same time?

Khimoune claims his installation of 1,000 casts of Russian, German and American combat helmets of WWII which also represent turtles, to denounce global violence. What the turtles have to do with his protest art is beyond me. And what did the Russians have to do with the invasion of Normandy?

The AP report continues:

“The turtles’ “shells” are molded from American, Russian and German combat helmets, sprouting flippers and long-necked heads. The sculptures were arranged Sunday along the sandy expanses of Omaha Beach — where the Allies won a pivotal victory against the Nazis.”

I ask you: So, would the artist prefer that the Allies had refrained from dday1-620x362committing any icky violence and instead not invaded Normandy, so as to preserve peace? In which case, France would to this day be called Frankenreich, the western province of Greater Germany?

I mean, OK, sure, stupid artists make stupid art making stupid points all the time. But the French government gave permission for this particular statement to be made on Omaha Beach on the anniversary of D-Day.

The ghosts of 10,000 men who sacrificed their lives that day to save France all say “You’re welcome!” in unison.

At this stage, there’s really nothing left to do but quote George Orwell:

“Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.”

Apparently the French government is marking all the victories over the Nazis by allowing this guy to display his pacifism helmet-turtles at each world-famous French national landmark:

But what about the never-ending horrors of addlebrained moral relativism?

To my knowledge the French have never won a war in their history. They were beaten at Crécy and Agincourt by the English. They were beaten by the Germans at the battle of Sedan. Without the intervention of the British and Americans they would have been beaten by the Germans in the First World War. They were soundly defeated and occupied by the Germans in the Second World War. The lost Algiers to the Marxists Muslims and were routed at Dien Bien Phu. Yes, they assisted us in our revolutionary war with the British and we are thankful for that. There are monuments in our nation’s capital to Lafayette and streets named after him throughout the country. We certainly do not have statues of turtles with tri-cornered hats on them. Now we are following France in Libya. I can only guess how badly that will turn out.

I have been to Normandy on several occasions and I can tell you the people of the Calvados Coast appreciate the sacrifice’s the American soldiers did for them on D-Day and the weeks after the invasion when the battle for northwest France raged in the fields and boscage of Normandy.

When my wife and I were in Paris in 1977 we met a couple Kathy had been corresponding with prior to our trip. Francois was a vice president with the Bank of America in Paris and he had been sending Kathy tips on where to stay and eat. We finally met Francois and his wife Isabelle when we arrived in Paris and they invited us to dinner at their home in the Neuilly district of Paris. Both Francois and Isabelle were very pro-American. Francois had seen his older brother lined up against a wall and shot by the Germans.

Isabelle was a young girl living in Normandy in 1944. She remembered the hardships and restrictions imposed on the Normans by the German occupiers. She also remembered the day of the invasion and the shell firing and bombings. She said it was terrible, but he people realized it was necessary to drive the Germans out. She told me with a smile on her face that the first American she ever saw was a soldier riding atop a tank passing through her village. He recalled waving at the soldier and he smiled and tossed her a chocolate bar. It was the first chocolate bar she had ever had in her life. I am sure Francois and Isabelle do not think much of Khimoune’s “art.”

Another wonderful experience we had in Normandy was in the village Sainte-Mère-Église — the first town in France to liberated. We had been touring the Normandy battle sites and lost tract of time. When we reached Sainte-Mère-Église it was two in the afternoon and we were ready for some lunch. Not realizing that rural French cafes do not serve lunch after two we walked into the Le John Steele hotel and restaurant expecting to get something to eat.

When we entered the restaurant we saw a group seated in the far cornerLe John Steele hotel and café at Sainte Mère Église eating so we sat down. When we were seated a man wearing an apron approached us and informed us in French that the restaurant was closed. When we expressed our disappointment in English he asked if we were Americans. When we informed him we were in fact Americans he smiled and told us to wait. A few moments later he returned with two large ham sandwiches and two small pitchers of red wine. He smiled and told us to eat. When we finished our baguette ham sandwiches and asked him for the bill he told us there was no charge and thanked us for our contribution to France. Kathy and I were astonished and delighted. We thanked him and his family and left the restaurant. I am sure the man in the apron does not think much of Khimoune’s “art.”

When you visit WWII military graves and memorials in Europe, you will find a Looking over the grave markers towards the Chapel .significant difference between those built by America and those built by European nations: American memorials honor the heroism and sacrifice of young men who fought to preserve our freedom. European memorials lecture the visitor on the futility and stupidity of all war, treating the war dead as mere victims. The idea that the Allied soldiers should be honored as heroes for sacrificing their lives to defeat an evil enemy, well, that idea is offensive to the guides at European memorials.

One question remains: How many Europeans still deserve freedom, and how many might as well be slaves and serfs?

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