It didn’t turn the war around, but Agent Orange was still a success. The suffering it created and still creates today is collateral. Suffering is not relevant in the schemes of military commanders.
Agent Orange was a success as it proved that man is more powerful than nature. When the leaves fell and the plants died it became clear that the war against nature had finally been won.
The ‘Rainbow Herbicides’, named after the colorful stripes identifying the barrels, were all targeted against the flora, the plant life. The ‘Agents’ Pink, Green, White, Purple, Blue and, most infamously, Orange, were sprayed by plane over areas of forests, and, less well-known, fields. The expressed purpose was two-fold: to eliminate all cover for enemy combatants, and to destroy the food plants. A starving enemy is a weak enemy is a good enemy. Continue reading
Trigger warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence and it could trigger some people.
Erica was lying on her side, her back towards the door. It was warm and the nurses had taken the blanket off her body. I walked around Erica’s bed and sat in the chair right next to her head. I had been warned that her voice was still very weak. Her eyes moved towards me, skimmed over my body and finally landed on my face. I reciprocated her gaze.
“Hey”, I said. Erica’s lips opened slightly and the corners of her mouth twitched as if she was trying to smile. “Hey”, she whispered.
I made sure to look at her face. It was hard to avoid staring at the two large wounds, one right in the middle of her chest and one from the end of her ribcage through her abdomen. The way they were stitched with black threat the wounds nearly looked like zippers; as if someone had opened Erica’s body and then decided, after all, that it was better to keep it closed. I had to suppress a smirk while thinking about the mental image – “Hey, her organs are getting cold, let’s close her up again.” But in the end that was, in one way or the other, what happened. Continue reading
“I always had this absurd fear of costumes.” Kelly spoke slowly, her brown eyes steadily shifting from the paper on the table to my hand and finally my face. “I hated Christmas, even as a child, because of all the Santa Clauses behind their impenetrable white beards and fake bushy eyebrows. And for my fourteenth birthday my mom brought me to Disneyland. That was the worst day of my childhood. I was terrified when all those huge costumed figures with their large fake smiles came towards me and when they tried to hug me. Half the day I was in the bathroom and the other I was hiding behind my mom, just to make sure none of them could suddenly grab me and take me away from her.”
“But with circuses”, Kelly brushed the long hair out of her face. “I was always fine with them. It was okay when I had a distance to the ring and the performers. Sure, the performers wear costumes, but at least for most of them you can see the face. Only the clowns – I was always terrified of those; especially the ones that walk through the audience to play pranks.” Continue reading
Germanic culture is known for its obsession with efficiency. This obsession spans the whole life of anybody living within the Germanic cultural realm.
Nowadays this manifests in many ways, most of which seem positive. It manifests in the way cars are built to be easy to maintain and safe to drive. It shows in an amusing dislike for ‘useless’ gifts and, accordingly, an obligation for each individual in a family to provide a ‘wish list’ for Christmas or birthdays and an obligation for all other family members to buy only items from the list. Finally this obsession comes to plain sight through the traditions in which children are reared to be self-sufficient as early as possible and how the old ensure that they won’t become a burden for their families.
Today the old make sure to safe enough money for their own end. They make sure that they are covered in every possible manner, from accommodation, living cost and travel money to health care and the cost of a place in a nursing home, to finally the fact that many old Germans, Dutch and the like choose and buy their own graves long before their demise.
But life was not always that easy. Until around 1930 the old would be cared for by their extended families until death. Sometimes the cost of this care was so high that the old would be ‘helped’ to an early end – but that was the exception.
More interesting is what happened before 1700. Continue reading