Getting our ducks in a row…
May 1st was a Remembrance Day in Israel.
It’s one we seldom commemorate, but should — Holocaust Remembrance Day!
(In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Israel to designate January 27th, the day when the Auschwitz camp was liberated in 1945, as Holocaust Remembrance Day.)
Israel commemorates the day according to the Jewish calendar, which is our May 1st.
On that day last week their president remembered. He said, “If the countries of the world had dealt with the Nazi threat in a timely, sober way, they could have prevented Hitler from degrading them, and murdering tens of thousands of people.”
In 1945, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, knew, somehow, that people would forget, and worse, would one day begin to deny the existence of the death camps his soldiers had found.
It is told he immediately ordered photographs be taken, as many as humanly possible. He also ordered the German people from surrounding villages be ushered through the camps, and made to bury the dead. He did all of this and explained it something like this: “Because, we need to get this on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say this never happened.”
How prophetic can you be?
It seemed odd that, even on another calendar, while something world-shaking was being commemorated, we were fussing about ducks.
Five hundred ducks. Well it began as 500, then it was almost 500, somewhere around 500 and so on. Apparently three were saved.
Saved from what some call “that beastly blot on the Canadian landscape,” the Athabasca tarsands. The sands where thousands of Canadians earn a living, and thousands more across Canada do the same by supplying them with what they need to produce what the rest of us must have. There’s a price to pay for it too, though our fuel tanks seem to be as far as our oil memory goes, but hey, it keeps us warm, mobile, fed, housed and complaining, loudly! In all our talk about oil we seldom remember the other 6,000-plus products in which oil is an essential component.
The minutiae of this story is the oilsands became the tarsands again in our national media as soon as a flight of ducks, presumably following their leader, landed in a tailings pond.
A comparison came immediately to mind when considering these ducks, and their tragedy. We Canadians have, just like the ducks, blindly followed leaders ending in some mucky mess or other, of their doing, not ours, how many times? Messes that still hang around our necks like a lead balloon.
So, dare I ask, how many duck a l’orange were served in your city last week? Then there’s the fall waterfowl hunt, powerlines, predators, disease, giving us an astronomical number of ducks gone to the happy hunting grounds every year. So who’s worrying about all those ducks?
So what’s going on? Is it environmental paranoia, media paranoia, political paranoia, or, perhaps, all three? Yes indeed, Canadians abhor wildlife tragedies, though we know people make mistakes, and, obviously ducks do too.
While leaders of various entities in our society are in duck apology mode, and others in the world are talking about the Holocaust, the people of Fort McMurray are talking, and asking, what about the 27-year-old heavy-duty mechanic and father, killed in a job accident at the Albian sands site near Fort McMurray in the same week?
Many people around the planet lament the Holocaust; environmentalists, politicians and the media lament for ducks; Who but his family and friends lament for him?
Maybe a world reality check would help us get our ducks all in a row?
A tip of the hat to General P. C. March (1864-1955) for this idea: “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
On a lighter note, to finish the day, this advice just in from a friend: “Remember that while money talks, chocolate sings!”