Posts tagged Winston Churchill

What about Winston Churchill?

young ChurchillI have long admired the vision of Churchill for what he saw and knew about the former Soviet Union and Stalin.  He saw through the veneer that was presented during World War II and I am sad that more people didn’t pay attention to what he knew.  The media force from the area of Russia was doing a full court press to make sure that the unsuspecting didn’t believe the anecdotes that were coming out of Russia and other parts of the Soviet Union.  The Australians have long known the truths of what REALLY happened once WWII was over, other generals and those in combat with the Allied forces knew what was happening when the Soviet Union wanted to take credit for ending the war against the Nazis.  Pity those people who were in the Russian quarters of Berlin because they were either sent back to their country, killed or exiled to Siberia.  Churchill some how knew but perhaps his hands were tied along with others.  The truth came out in reports by Malcolm Muggeridge and other reporters who started paying attention to those people who tried to get the message out about what was going on when things settled down.

That is why I think we need to look closely at what Winston Churchill said 116 years ago about something else he knew something about.  That is perhaps why our U.S.president who gave his usual State of the Union address the other night gave back the bust of Winston Churchill to U.K. when he first moved into the Oval Office.  He obviously didn’t like what Churchill stood for because of his own thorough-going beliefs.  What do you think?  This was penned by a young, but already wise beyond his years, Churchill.

The attached short speech from Winston Churchill, was delivered by him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many, but expresses in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language, of which he was a past master.
Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late 19th and 20th centuries. He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician and statesman, a great war leader and British Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt. He was a prophet in his own time. He died on 24th January 1965 , at the grand old age of 90 and, after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral. HERE IS THE SPEECH:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa , raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome .”
Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London ).

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Quotes and a Joke from an American Optimistic Realist

I love a quote used by John Piper which I found on his Facebook status. Back in the mid-1980s I first heard about Kazakhstan when he talked about this Central Asian land.  Perhaps he knew about it from his German connection. Back then, nobody really knew this country existed during the Soviet Union’s Cold War period.  Many in the western world still do not know this land of about 16 million people live in a country the size of three Texas states put together. 

So I have to give credit to Dr. Piper for getting me here to Almaty indirectly when I first arrived in the summer of 1993.  Piper wrote,“If we are not hated by someone, we don’t know enough people, or we don’t speak enough truth.”  I KNOW I fall into the latter category, I’ve been speaking the truth as a realist during my time at this Western university in Almaty.  Another quote I like is: A pessimist sees the dark tunnel, an optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel and a realist sees the train coming down the tracks.”  I also love Winston Churchill and what he stood for, here’s a quote attributed to him about optimism: “I am an optimist and it doesn’t seem hard to be anything else.”

Yes, I am optimistic about Kazakhstan’s future because I have been working with their youth for the past 2 ½ years.  I did not get re-hired by the hiring committee because I fell into the third category of this joke which my husband loves to tell.  Apparently I know too much, especially about Soviet teaching pedagogy. But I’ve been accused of being culturally insensitive. I’m sorry that my words have been misconstrued and twisted by the very people I came to help.  I know I am needed for what I know, but I am not wanted.  Common malady among many of us Westerners, “needed but not wanted.” Read several blogs back.

 The Communist Party (CPSU) membership committee was interviewing candidates.

 The first candidate arrives, sits in front of the commission, and is asked:

“How much is 2 + 2?”

The candidate hesitates and replies, “6”?

“Are you sure?”

“7?”

He is dismissed and discussed.  They vote him in after one of the committee says,

“I like him.  He is flexible.”

The second candidate arrives, sits in front of the commission and is asked:

“How much is 2+2?”

The candidate does not hesitate and immediately replies, “6!”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure, 2 + 2 is 6!”

The second candidate is dismissed and discussed.  The commission votes him in as a new member of the Party, after one of the commission members says,

“I like him, he has the courage of his convictions!”

The the third candidate arrives, sits in front of the commission and is asked:

“How much is 2+2?”

The candidate does not hesitate and immediately replies, “4!”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. What kind of stupid question is that.  2 + 2 is 4!”

The third candidate is dismissed and discussed.  The commission votes NOT to admit him in as a new member of the Party, after one of the commission members says,

“He knows too much!”

Pres. Kennedy is quoted as saying, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education.”  Finally, one more quote by John Maxwell: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”  I’ve tried to do that with my fellow teachers and I’ve tried to be a leader in the classroom full of students, whether they are Kazakh or Kazakhstani (Russian, Korean, Uighur, Tatar, German, or  mix of whatever else).  I have made enemies amongst some who do not want to see reality for what it is.  I still chuckle to myself for coming up with the quote that my Yale law school trained, work mate loved: “The truth will prevail, it may just take a little longer in Kazakhstan.”

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