Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day

As well as celebrating my birthday tomorrow, it is also time to celebrate our mother earth. This picture, taken by Apollo 16, illustrates the beauty and fragility of our small blue planet. Let's take care of her, since this small blue ball is the only one we have.

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Arbeit Macht Frei

I haven't written in a while because I've been on a school trip to Europe with the students. We started at Paris and then went to Lucerne in Switzerland, through Liechtenstein to Innsbruck in Austria and finally on to Munich.
The final day in Munich we visited Dachau and it was this visit which marked us the most. We had decided to take the students there because we wanted them to see first hand man's inhumanity to man. In Canada we have never really had any first hand experience with that kind of systematic cruelty and barbarity and the students only read about it in their history books. Now they were able to witness it first hand and were able to get a feeling about what it was. How did the students take it? Well if their silence and thoughtfulness after the visit are any indication, it really hit home. I hope that it is a lesson they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
I consider myself to be a pragmatic, down to earth type of person, not much given to flights of fancy, but that day I admit I felt something tangible as I walked through the camp and the crematoria. It was a beautiful sunny day but there was a pall of darkness that seemed to hover over the camp. As I walked I could feel the miasma of human misery that permeated the atmosphere and I know in my heart that it will never be lifted as long as human memory remains. What also stuck me was the fact that this could have also happened here in Canada. Given the right circumstances of anarchy and a charismatic leader we could have also succumbed to the dark side. It was a very chilling realization, let me tell you. All that is needed for evil to take root is for a good man to shut his eyes.
Here are a couple of photos.

Dachau 1933-1945