Letter from a vagabond… 26 October 2018 Shaking off “the old ennui…”


            Since arriving in Germany, clouds have hovered over the country every place I have been, Cologne, then Heidelberg and now in Wiesbaden, where I have stopped for a few days as my friends Pierre and Lionel are also here.

My spirits are feeling just a little grey, also.  Nothing is wrong I can articulate; I just have a bit of “the old ennui.”  The world has felt out of focus.

Pierre and I wandered over to SAM, the City Museum of Wiesbaden, which chronicles the history of the town of Wiesbaden and there was also an exhibit about Topf and Sons, the company that made both the crematoriums and ventilation systems for Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

There were copies of letters, detailing orders and specifications and warranties and repairs, all normal sounding correspondence for items that were anything but normal.  Each letter closed with, “Heil Hitler!”

There was something very sobering about seeing that correspondence, bringing history into focus in a way that was horrifying.  Men with typewriters did these awful things, organizing the death of millions, at the manufacturer and at the user.  Millions in Reich Marks worth of business in killing and getting rid of Jews, gypsies, gays, “traitors.”

As I moved from placard to placard, my phone went off with news bursts from the BBC, CNN, and NYT announcing that “suspicious” packages had been delivered to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, not long after a bomb was found in the mailbox of George Soros, billionaire supporter of liberal causes.  Robert De Niro and Joe Biden have been added to the list of bomb receivers as have Maxine Waters as well as John Brennan, former Obama Administration member and now a correspondent with CNN, which is where he received his and CNN had to evacuate its NY HQ.

One of the other news reports I read yesterday was about a white widow with bi-racial children who received a disgusting Facebook message from a young white man in another state she didn’t know, wishing her children dead.  She called the police in her state and his.  He was intercepted by authorities with two hundred rounds of ammunition and plans to shoot up a couple of schools.

Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist [a nephew of Adnan Khashoggi, the notorious arms dealer and second cousin to Dodi Fayed, who died with Princess Diana], was gruesomely murdered in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, and his death has set off a Middle Eastern diplomatic crisis that is much larger than I am sure the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince anticipated.

The Saudi story of Khashoggi’s death changes every other day.

MBS, as Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is known, made a point of shaking Jamal Khashoggi’s son’s hand while offering condolences at his “Davos in the Desert Conference.”  Young Khashoggi was pained to do so.  MBS is widely thought to be the man who ordered his father’s death.  But what was he to do?

Looking at those letters, all with their “Heil Hitlers!” made me remember we all need to remember we all have a part to play in history, even a little bit of one, and I did my little bit yesterday, filling out my absentee ballot, giving it to Pierre, who will mail it on his return to America, before the deadline, as I will be on the high seas on election day.

Go, be part of history.  Vote!

And that might help shake off any of “the old ennui” you might be feeling and bring the world into a bit of focus.

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