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This Favorite WW2 Song Captures Russia’s Ability to Suffer and Fight (Ahh the Roads

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Ekh Dorogi is a Russian popular favorite to this day. It was written in 1945. The famous Russian baritone Dmitry Khvorostovsky frequently performed it, so Western readers may find it familiar. The title means ‘Ahh, the roads’. Translation below.


Dear friends,

Over the past few years one of my main efforts was to try to convince as many people as possible that Russia was preparing for war.  I also tried to caution about the completely misguided notion that because the Russian people feared war (they do!) they somehow were not ready for it (they are!). 

I tried logical, rational arguments.  Then I switched to an angry rant

Now I am going to appeal to your hearts: just listen to this very famous WWII Russian song, watch these images, read the lyrics (translated by Scott) and just try to feel with your heart what war means or, better, what if *feels* to the so-called “mysterious Russian soul”.  Then think of the faces of Trump, Mattis, May, Macron and the rest of them and reach your own conclusions.

This is not an argument, you will either “feel it” or not.  I hope you do.

Hugs and cheers to all,

The Saker

translated by Scott Humor

Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist,
Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds.
Not a soul knows of its fate,
could your wings be folded in the midst of steppe?

Dust is swirling over boots, along roads, along fields.
All around blaze is raging, pierced by bullets’ rings.

Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist,
Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds.

Burst of gunshot, raven descends,
Buddy mine lays lifeless in this wilderness.
But the road keeps on going, the dust keeps on swirling,
All around land is burning, not Russian – foreign land.

Land of pine trees, sun lights up the dawn,
Mother on her threshold waits for son’s return.
And along unending roads, along steppes, along fields,
We are being watched and followed by our mothers’ eyes.

Ah, the roads, dust and foggy mist,
Angst, and chills, and worries, and tall steppe weeds.
Snow or wind storms, friends, let’s behest,
To each one those roads our eternal quest.

——————————————————

Эх, дороги

Эх, дороги, пыль да туман,
Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…
Знать не можешь доли своей,
Может, крылья сложишь посреди степей.

Вьётся пыль под сапогами степями, полями;
А кругом бушует пламя да пули свистят.

Эх, дороги, пыль да туман,
Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…

Выстрел грянет, ворон кружит,
Твой дружок в бурьяне неживой лежит.
А дорога дальше мчится, пылится, клубится;
А кругом земля дымится, чужая земля.

Эх, дороги, пыль да туман,
Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…

Край сосновый, солнце встаёт,
У крыльца родного мать сыночка ждёт.
И бескрайними путями, степями, полями
Всё глядят вослед за нами родные глаза.

Эх, дороги, пыль да туман,
Холода, тревоги да степной бурьян…
Снег ли ветер, вспомним, друзья,
Нам дороги эти позабыть нельзя.

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Shocking news, Irish people may be sanest in Europe

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Ireland is running low on loopers. If we don’t watch out, we could emerge from the pandemic with our reputation for wildness completely shredded. We are in danger of being exposed as the sanest people in Europe.

Vaccines go into the arm, but also into the brain. They are a kind of probe sent into the national consciousness. In Ireland’s case, the probe has discovered exciting evidence of intelligent life.

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Vienna school under fire for sex ed class using doll for children as young as six

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According to Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper, a teacher used a doll to explain “how sex works” to the children, while also encouraging them to use their hands and fingers on the doll. 

She said she wanted to “enlighten” the children about aspects of sex education. The children in the class were between the ages of six and ten. 

The teacher also explained to the children that “condoms should be used if you don’t want to have babies”, the newspaper reports. 

One boy was told to remove the clothes of the doll but refused before being told that he had to do so. 

The boys parents removed him from the school, saying that he was “overwhelmed” after the class and had started touching his sister inappropriately. 

“We have never seen our son like this before, he was completely overwhelmed” the parents said anonymously, “we are taking him out of the school.”

“We can already see the consequences. 

“A few days after these disturbing lessons, a classmate came to us to play. Like many times before, the boy also played with our ten-year-old daughter. This time he suddenly wanted to pull her pants down.

Peter Stippl, President of the Association for Psychotherapy, said that while sex education was crucially important, it needed to be age appropriate in order to be effective. 

“(This type of sexual education) scares the children! They get a wrong approach to the topic and their natural limit of shame is violated,” he said. 

“Sex education must always be age-appropriate and development-appropriate. Many children are six, seven or eight years old – or even older – not interested in sexual intercourse.

“We should never explain sexuality in schools in isolation from love and relationships. It makes you feel insecure and afraid. It harms the development of children.”

The Austrian Ministry of Education will now set up a commission to determine who will be allowed to teach sex ed in schools. 

The city of Vienna is also investigating the specific incident. 



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Madrid’s Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado granted World Heritage status | Culture

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Madrid’s famous Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado boulevard have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The decision, made on Sunday, brings the total number of World Heritage Sites in Spain to 49 – the third-highest in the world after Italy and China.

Up until Sunday, none of these sites were located in the Spanish capital. The Madrid region, however, was home to three: El Escorial Monastery in Alcalá de Henares, the historical center of Aranjuez and the Montejo beech forest in Montejo de la Sierra.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez celebrated the news on Twitter, saying it was a “deserved recognition of a space in the capital that enriches our historical, artistic and cultural legacy.”

Retiro Park is a green refuge of 118 hectares in the center of the city of Madrid. Paseo del Prado boulevard is another icon of the capital, featuring six museums, major fountains such as the Fuente de Cibeles as well as the famous Plaza de Cibeles square.

For the sites to be granted World Heritage status, Spain needed the support of two-thirds of the UNESCO committee – 15 votes from 21 countries. The proposal was backed by Brazil, Ethiopia, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.
Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.Víctor Sainz

Prior to the vote, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the organization that advises UNESCO, had argued against considering the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park as one site, and recommended that the latter be left out on the grounds that there were no “historic justifications” for the two to be paired.

This idea was strongly opposed by Spain’s ambassador to UNESCO, Andrés Perelló, who said: “What they are asking us to do is rip out a lung from Madrid. El Prado and El Retiro are a happy union, whose marriage is certified with a cartography more than three centuries old.” The origins of Paseo del Prado date back to 1565, while Retiro Park was first opened to the public during the Enlightenment.

Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado.
Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado. Víctor Sainz

The ICOMOS report also denounced the air pollution surrounding the site. To address these concerns, Madrid City Hall indicated it plans to reduce car traffic under its Madrid 360 initiative, which among other things is set to turn 10 kilometers of 48 streets into pedestrian areas, but is considered less ambitious than its predecessor Madrid Central.

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee took place in the Chinese city of Fuzhou and was broadcast live at Madrid’s El Prado Museum. Perelló summed up the reasons to include Retiro Park and El Paseo de Prado in less than three minutes.

“When people say ‘from Madrid to heaven’ [the slogan of the Spanish capital] I ask myself why would you want to go to heaven when heaven is already in Madrid,” he told delegates at the event, which was scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, UNESCO evaluates 25 proposals for additions to the World Heritage List. In the case of the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, the site was judged on whether it evidenced an exchange of considerable architectural influences, was a representative example of a form of construction or complex and if it was associated with traditions that are still alive today. The famous park and boulevard sought to be inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992, but its candidacy did not reach the final stage of the process.

Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).
Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).Biblioteca Nacional de España

The effort to win recognition for the sites’ outstanding universal value began again in 2014 under former Madrid mayor Ana Botella, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), and was strengthed by her successor Manuela Carmena, of the leftist Ahora Madrid party, which was later renamed Más Madrid. An advisor from UNESCO visited the site in October 2019.

English version by Melissa Kitson.



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