*take nothing for granted!
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

Who is Online

We have 67 guests and no members online

Translate to another language

The Holocaust


Often the history, the story we tell, is as important as the events that lie behind it. Take the disputed Holocaust as an example.   The Jewish Board of Deputies says the number killed was six million; holocaust deniers say that far less were killed.  What can we make of this?  Unless a lot of film and documented eyewitness accounts have been doctored, I'm reasonably sure it was a pretty big number.  Does the claimed number differ from the actual events?  If so does it matter?

The fact itself, as it really happened, changed the future.  Many people died; many more were never born; paintings were never made; music was never written; inventions were not conceived; discoveries not made; businesses never started.  Almost everyone alive today would never have been born if it had not happened just so.  Why then is the historical version, the story, so controversial?  It's one of few stories, perhaps the only one remaining, that in some countries has legal sanctions attached if people doubt it and say so. 

It's because the story itself, independent of the event it describes, has utility.

In the 1970's I met a widow who had a property in Castle Hill NSW.  In 1945 she said, she had fled from Auschwitz, with the other prisoners; together with their German guards who were also starving; ahead of the advancing Russian Army.  English was not her first language but I understood that she was a Polish political prisoner accused of being an anti-German activist; but the prisoners and their guards were more scared of the Russians than of the Germans. 

She was not Jewish and was not sympathetic to Jews.  She confirmed that the Jewish prisoners were very badly treated and many/most died.  She was, she said, not aware of the extermination ovens.  When they got to apparent safety the allied troops wanting to help gave them food from ration packs.  This proved to be too rich and many of them died as a result of this kindness. 

Her husband had fought with the Russians and for his pains was sent to a forced labour camp, from which he somehow escaped.  Reputedly the Russians massacred numerous troops who had previously fought with them.  For the remainder of their lives they lived in fear of the 'authorities' but most particularly of the Russians in the context of the 'cold war'.

As a result of the actual events that took place you and I are here.  We would not be had not the events that led to these deaths, and the millions of others in two world wars, been exactly as they were.  I explain why in more detail elsewhere on this website.  

But over and above what actually took place are the stories we tell about those events.  In the case of the Holocaust they are still told as an apparent justification for continuing to settle on the land of people who were totally remote from the actual events; and of the stories told about them.


Add comment

Security code

    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Southern England




In mid July 2016 Wendy and I took flight again to Europe.  Those who follow these travel diaries will note that part of out trip last year was cut when Wendy's mum took ill.  In particular we missed out on a planned trip to Romania and eastern Germany.  This time our British sojourn would be interrupted for a few days by a side-trip to Copenhagen and Roskilde in Denmark.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

The Craft


 A Cloud prequel




Chapter 1 - Caught short





Christmas 2069 approaches and in the midst of the greatest retail spending frenzy for decades Bianca has been trying on clothes..  They're at Bergeroff Goodman, an up-market store. Bianca has been brought here by Margery who frequents such expensive places.  Unlike many other retail establishments in the world at this time of year, the store is not over-packed with shoppers.

Elsewhere many customers will expend their entire available credit and have even accumulated credit from earlier in the year to allow for this annual celebratory splurge.  Much of it will be expended on personal services, personal wellbeing, exercise, entertainment and of course religious practice and many will exchange gifts of credit towards these services with friends and loved ones.  But this store is very up-market and discrete.

This Monday lunchtime Margery is encouraging Bianca to buy a top quality black wool and mohair suit with a knee length skirt, similar to the one Margery is wearing.  Bianca had been resisting and equivocating when the call of nature gratuitously cut short their struggle.  The older woman had assumed Bianca's resistance was for financial reasons, insisting that a good suit is not an extravagance but an investment in Bianca's future. 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten



Gough Whitlam has died at the age of 98.

I had an early encounter with him electioneering in western Sydney when he was newly in opposition, soon after he had usurped Cocky (Arthur) Calwell as leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party and was still hated by elements of his own party.

I liked Cocky too.  He'd addressed us at University once, revealing that he hid his considerable intellectual light under a barrel.  He was an able man but in the Labor Party of the day to seem too smart or well spoken (like that bastard Menzies) was believed to be a handicap, hence his 'rough diamond' persona.

Gough was a new breed: smooth, well presented and intellectually arrogant.  He had quite a fight on his hands to gain and retain leadership.  And he used his eventual victory over the Party's 'faceless men' to persuade the Country that he was altogether a new broom. 

It was time for a change not just for the Labor Party but for Australia.

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright