Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jersey Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 - still seeking the baddies?

Once again Holocaust Day has been marked in Jersey with some short speeches, a few prayers and wreath-laying.

For the families of the 21 with Jersey origins who died in the “death camps” there are personal and painful reasons for participating in these proceedings but why members of the government and other VIPs turn out each year is not so clear.

This year we were told that MIND was laying a wreath for the first time in recognition of all the physically and mentally sick people who were persecuted by the “Nazis” and Senator Routier, who has a disabled son, was chosen to represent them.
Quite why his son or any other disabled person was not allowed to lay the wreath was not explained and it may not be relevant because the Senator has had his own health challenges.
Yet he declined to be interviewed for this blog on the ground that it was too emotional and he would not be drawn into the wider deficiencies of the prevailing and active discrimination against disabled persons in Jersey.
Nor would he comment on Jersey’s continuing failure to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People or the fact that even Guernsey has now agreed to a whole Strategy on Disability which includes Ratification of International standards and many other progressive measures for that Bailiwick….

Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Gorst also declined to be interviewed in order to update last year’s somewhat inadequate Human Rights message as did the Dean who spoke at the indoor ceremony, said a prayer and lit a candle as usual. His brief address included the rhetorical question – What am I doing here?

The Dean meant at the ceremony rather than here on earth (I presume) but if there is any confusion he still refused to be drawn into a discussion in front of my little camera on the ground that he had to leave to attend a meeting.
Strangely he was talking to influential friends in the miserable outside weather long after I had retreated to somewhere warmer but I still failed to find anybody prepared to speak on camera…

It was the “history” aspect that I particularly wanted to examine since a special wreath laying guest was an historian who had only recently discovered that his grandfather from Jersey had died in a prison camp for failing to surrender a radio. His “crime” had been revealed by the Jersey Attorney General and the St Saviour Police during 1943 and so his fate was sealed along with others of the 21 who died because information was supplied by locals to the occupying forces….

It was this omission from the 2014 Memorial proceedings that bothered me because it is evident that more and more information is leaking out from restricted archives and other sources in Jersey and elsewhere. So just when and how will Channel Islanders deal with the more unpleasant facts of collusion? Who will ultimately decide whether the names of collaborators should be made as public as the identities of those who died or were persecuted as a result of their unfortunate actions?

Channel TV a few years ago, named the two sisters who shopped a whole family for listening to a radio during the Occupation. Their selfish action caused a brother and sister to be sent to the death camps and only the man returned.

In other countries there was immediate post-war justice and rough retribution for those who collaborated. Trials are still taking place for those few ancient survivors who have long-concealed war crimes to answer for.
But nothing has been done so far in the Channel Islands.

As always, it is easier to blame somebody else for the ills in society rather than looking too closely at ourselves.
Thus The Germans aka NAZIS are a very convenient label to stick on the wrongs that occurred during and after the 1930s and it is interesting at least that the various speakers listed the victim groups – Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Freemasons, Disabled and Sick, Gypsies, Homosexuals – but in every instance could not utter the word - Communists….

It was the Communists after all who started this particular deathly and discriminatory ball rolling in the 1930s and the rest of the world did little or nothing then because their extermination satisfied a wider capitalist game plan….

Unfortunately, after a brief dalliance with respectability it is the Communists who are once again even more “despised” than all the other groups put together in our Capitalist dominated world.

So, although the speakers such as the Dean claimed that we are ALL children of the same God and that we have to respect the rights even of those that we do not agree with – he and they do not really mean it….

History has a strange ability to reveal itself. Secrets have a habit of seeping into the public domain.
Last year there were 22 names on the Jersey Holocaust roll-call but one has now been removed because the person did not die.
Even a trained historian did not realise that his grandfather was a victim along with so many millions of others from diverse groups and world-wide origins.

The record – officially or otherwise – is constantly subject to revision.
Jersey’s Holocaust Memorial ceremony needs to extend its terms of reference soon if it is to be taken as seriously as the subject deserves.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bankrupted Jersey Deputies Shona and Trevor Pitman leave the States - but why...does anybody know?

It may seem a bit odd - but in the UK today Nick Griffin, an elected MEP declared that he will carry on until May, in spite of being declared as bankrupt for failing to pay his lawyers fees of £120,000.
Even then he proposes to stand again for election to the EU Parliament...
meanwhile in Jersey Deputies Shona and Trevor Pitman were immediately required to resign when their bankruptcy was confirmed in the Jersey Royal Court for failing to pay lawyers fees and costs....so is there something that needs to be looked at here - just what is the reason for "bankrupts" being barred from serving as elected representatives?

There have been other cases in other countries and a trawl on the Internet reveals some interesting recent and long ago instances of bankrupts in government. The subject certainly needs further examination and discussion in Jersey so the interview that follows with Sam Mezec and Nick le Cornu can serve to start that ball rolling....

That Nick Griffen is a BNP member might be viewed as unfortunate for thoseseeking a liberal view of such matters but his is a timely intervention nevertheless...

What happens now to Shona and Trevor Pitman is not known to this blog but we wish them well and thank them for their efforts in the States and with their electorates.
Some of the other related issues are discussed here too in this video which runs for 21 minutes.