Churchill in a red Kimono…
I just can’t get this image out of my mind since I read about it so I had to make it!
Looking for Churchill in a red kimono, I found the following on the TIME archives:
“Two French officers were breakfasting quietly in a French conference room when they suddenly “beheld an astonishing sight.” The double doors burst open and “an apparition which they said resembled an angry Japanese genie, in long, flowing red silk kimono . . . girdled with a white belt . . . stood there, sparse hair on end, and said with every sign of anger: ‘Uh ay ma bain?'”(where is my bath?)
I first read about it in these wonderful books that give an insight into the minds of Churchill, Hitler and Stalin during the crucial years of 1940 and 1941.
Another great little gem by John Lukacs is “June 1941” where he describes Hitler and Stalin’s relationship before the German invasion of Russia.
The D Day or the 65th anniversary of the 1944 Allied invasion at Normandy is almost here (and the French government snubbed Queen Elizabeth by not inviting her to the big celebrations on June 6th). Churchill is spinning in his grave.
In my last trip to New York, I went to this great exhibition in NY Public Library called: “Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life Under Nazi Occupation”. Reading Lukacs’ books about the same period, made the exhibition particularly interesting to me—I am a history buff and the two world wars have always fascinated me.
It was interesting to see my favorite poets’ letters and postcards during the Nazi occupation of France—the above postcard was sent by Louis Aragon to Paulhan’s wife on a pre-printed postcard (easier to censure!)
Poems sent from prison camps and manuscripts smuggled out written on the back of wallpapers…
I loved Eluard’s poem, Liberté (freedom), illustrated by Fernand Leger:
65 years after the second world war, the world is not a safer place and human beings have forgotten the hard learned/earned lessons; the middle east is as volatile as always, Sri Lanka just ended a bloody civil war, Pakistan is agonizing under the threat of the Talibans, Africa is struggling with its different identities and abortion doctors are being assassinated in America…
It’s harder today to make blanket predictions about the direction history is taking—fast computing and the internet have changed the old orders that were in place since our written history began.
Here are a couple of Churchill’s quotes to finish this post:
“Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.”
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Other things you might not have seen:
And for a slightly different perspective, you may also be interested in a well made DVD/documentary film entitled: Between Hitler and Stalin, narrated by Jack Palance. I believe a book is in the works too.
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I loved the image of Churchill in his kimono. For a couple of seconds I thought it was the real thing! The books on the left add an atmosphere of intellect, culture, reflexion, and historical perspective to the portrait of the man himself. There must have been a glass of whiskey down below, but I guess that got cropped out 😉
I admire Lukács, because even though he suffered through both fascism and communism in his native Hungary, he held to his beliefs and also rejected McCarthyism at a time when it wasn’t easy to do so.
Comment se fait-il que le même être humain ne vive jamais une même situation de la même façon? L’espoir d’une amélioration de l’être humain est sans fondement. Aussi les lamentations inutiles passés et futurs.
Hasard et relativité. L’espoir ?