Jan 12 3 Comments

What’s the whole story, morning glory?

I have started a new book. It is about 850 pages long, the font is point 9 and it is about post-war Europe. I am on page 25 and so far so good. In two years you can ask me which page I am on.

The book starts by outlining Europe in the days, weeks and months after WWII ended. Ruins. Ruined buildings. Ruined lives. Ruined dreams. I guess I have never thought much about the post war. Just the horrors of the war itself. But while reading this book I have realized that the war went on for years after it actually ended.

Then the Red Army entered. It must have been much like swimming in the North Sea at winter,  knowing you most likely will drown. You are slowly sinking, but then you see a ship and you think that you are rescued. The ship comes closer, and when the people on the ship see you they use a long pole and push you even deeper down in the water than you already were. That was the Red Army. You survived the Nazis, now try to see if you can survive us too. He-he.

In reading I have felt a sense of awe. It’s a miracle that anybody lived. It’s a miracle that people did not just pick up their hats and jumped in front of a train. Goodbye cruel world.

But, look at Europe now. The people rose up and kept on fighting. Some gave up after they got whacked in the head by the pole, but others just kept on swimming.

As in the rest of the world, there is a huge difference in the standards of living in the different European countries. I am ashamed to say that I think that we are so prosperous in Norway because we somehow deserve it. Nothing in the world could be further from the truth (except, maybe, that Coke will make you athletic). There are days when I (blush, blush) look down on people from Eastern Europe for example, and even the people from Finland if it is that kind of a day. I feel so superior here in Norway with all our oil and gas and highly educated individuals and a social welfare system to die for.

But, we were handed our welfare on a gold platter. That is the simple fact. OK, the Nazis destroyed our country and held us in bondage for five years too. That took it’s toll and my grandparents and parents toiled to rebuild the country again. The pain suffered was immense. But at least we did not have the Red Army come and pillage, rape and destroy as soon as the Nazis left. We were left alone to rebuild. At least we did not become the slaves to a regime that didn’t allow people to think free thoughts, much less feed their children decent meals at decent times.

That is what happened in Poland for example.

That the Poles are able to thrive in their country that has suffered so much is a miracle if I ever heard of one. Whenever there was a war, Poland seemed to be right in the middle of it. For ages. And now, here they are, trying to make the best out of life. And succeeding. There are some obstacles to overcome, sure. But they are making it. They are rebuilding and making some remarkable steps forward.

It may me think of one of the silliest, lamest, dumbest rituals in a lot of Western school systems: The honor roll. The award ceremonies. The time when the Oh, so perfect kids get to come and receive and award for being Oh, so good. A kid whose parents are well-educated and wealthy, who has had a stable upbringing and private math tutoring, who has slept well and eaten right get all As. Big, flippin’ deal! What about the kid whose parents are alcoholics, who live in a low-income neighborhood and eat McDonalds, who have no warm clothes and watch the neighbors fight? If that kid even manage to get out of bed and to school every day it is an accomplishment. And if he manages to get any grades above a C, it is a miracle. That is the kid that needs an award. Not the spoiled all straight As kid.

You know that I mean, right? What I mean is that Poland needs an award simply for still existing after all this suffering and oppression. Same with the Czech Republic and Estonia and a bunch of other countries who have had the same kinds of issues as the kid with alcoholic parents.

What I mean is that we are so quick to label people, countries, dogs and whatevers as successes or failures when we don’t know the whole story. We are so quick to judge when we don’t know the whole story.

I think this blog is an encouragement to get to know the whole story.

The end


  • Ingun Bøe says:

    Er så hjertens enig! Som en tidligere statsminister sa det:” Det er typisk norsk å være best” Med våre velfylte mager og pengebøker er det så enkelt å være best.

  • lynnie says:

    Poland is a country that does certainly have it’s horrid history. A friend of Mikey’s is going back there this next month after years of being here in the states. Ya know what? He misses his brave, sweet, family. I got a crash course from him on Poland one afternoon. Mercy, the suffering that country has endured You are so right about the US and the system that rates children on things that are NOT in perspective. That is why I homeschooled my last two boys. I now know that they missed so little in those early years. Actually the whole country is going crazy here. Tyrants, greed, oh yes, America has it’s serious problems. Read New York by Rutherford and you really get a true feel for our beginnings……..

  • Issler says:

    Battle of Białystok–Minsk 341,073
    Battle of Raseiniai 704 tanks
    Battle of Brody (1941) 800 tanks
    Operation München 17,893
    Smolensk 300,000
    Uman 203,000
    Kiev 700,544
    Finland 265,000
    Toropets–Kholm Offensive 29,200
    Velikya Luki 104,022
    Mars 335,000
    2nd Kharkov
    Blue 2,226,416
    Voronezh 568,347
    Stalingrad 1,129,619
    3rd Kharkov 86,569
    Zitadelle 177,847
    Kursk 863,303
    2nd Smolensk 451,466
    Lower Dnieper 1,500,000
    Dnieper-Carpathian Off 270,198
    Leningrad 1,087,000
    Narva 480,000
    Kamenets-Podolski Unknown/400 tanks
    Crimea 84,819
    Jassy-Kishinev 150,000
    Vyborg-Petrozavodsk 80,000
    Belarus Offensive 770,888
    Lvov-Sandomierz Offensive 65,001
    Jassy-Kishinev Offensive 80,000
    Baltic Offensive 280,000
    Debrecen 117,360
    Belgrada 18,838
    Petsamo-Kirkenes 21,233
    Vistula Oder 200,000
    East Prussia 570,000
    East Pomerania 225,000
    Berlin 361,367