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tonight’s lessons

It’s great to spend time with smart, informed people, who have history and geography and current events at their fingertips, whereas I flounder in idealistic generalities with only the vaguest sense of where and why. At Monique’s usual delicious and fascinating francophone dinner tonight, we talked a lot about Greece, what the Germans have done to the Greeks and what it means. But also many other things. Here are a few of the things I learned, while drinking and eating vast quantities:


Stalin did not believe the Nazis would invade Russia because he had signed a pact with Hitler. When he realized they’d begun to cross the border, he had a kind of nervous breakdown and vanished for ten days. So for
the first days of the German invasion, Russia was essentially leaderless.
Kruschev was the commander in charge of
Ukraine, and not long after the Russians began their onslaught, he told Stalin the war was
over; he was going to surrender. Stalin’s commander in chief told his boss to
inform Kruschev this was unacceptable. Stalin told Kruschev that if he
surrendered, Stalin would take his mother, wife and children, who were nearby,
and kill them. Kruschev did not surrender.
Germany has always wanted to annex Ukraine,
one way or another. Hitler wanted it for “lebensraum” – more space for Germans.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a kind of
proxy war in Syria.
Greece has been eviscerated by punitive
Germany and may never recover. The euro was a mistake – to tie the currencies
of large prosperous nations to smaller southern ones with much further to go, was
disastrous. The ideal was good. But the reality should have been to attempt to
bring the southern nations further up the economic scale before liason.
Francois Hollande is a feeble disaster. The smartest economist in Europe is
Dominique Strauss-Kahn. If he’d been able to keep it in his pants, the world
would be in much better shape.
According to Jack, the Iran nuclear accord
is a mistake because too many dangers have been ignored. Iran, for example, he says, still has
huge military and espionage presence in Cuba, Venezuela and Argentina. But then, Jack is 1000% pro Israel. He is not a fan of Obama. 
There’s a great restaurant on Wellington St. called Pravda, that serves many kinds of vodka and has a big ironic
picture of Lenin. Lenin, however, did not drink. He had a very soft voice, and
so at Soviet congresses, with no mikes, could not be heard. That’s where the
famous banging a shoe on the table came from – started by Lenin, continued by
Kruschev.

How’s that for a bunch of interesting stuff? There was more, but I’d drunk a great deal – Prosecco, rose, beaujolais nouveau – by then and can’t remember. And a happy Sunday to you too.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

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Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

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Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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