View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunday 27 January

Some people make "putting foot in mouth" an artform, and none more so than Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi. At a Holocaust Memorial event in Milan, he said that Benito Mussolini had done a "lot of good things". Berlusconi wants to be reelected. I think he has blown that prospect. Italy deserves better than a dunderhead like that.

A day of mixed fortunes, starting dry and bright, but cloud soon covered the sky. It was not warm, 5C / 41F, but elsewhere in the UK, the rising temperatures caused snowmelt and with that flooding. These floods are set to get worse, and have already claimed at least one life. A canoeist was pulled from the River Swale at Reeth, but was later pronounced dead. The Swale is notorious for sudden rises in waterlevel, particularly when snow melts off higher ground; a footbridge outside Reeth was swept away some years ago during a flashflood.

And this evening, we were plunged into profound darkness for half a minute, when the power went off. With no streetlights, you really could not see a thing. The only light I had available was the screen from this PC, which runs off a battery. Fortunately, power quickly returned.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

Today it is 68 years ago since the infamous Auschwitz Birkenau concentration camp was liberated by Soviet forces. More than a million people, mainly Jews, were killed there during the Second World War. The process was conducted as an industrial process. To date, some of the goods left behind by the victims of the Holocaust remain on display. These include suitcases with name tags, spectacle frames, hair and shoes. I have never visited Auschwitz and am not likely to. January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering all the victims of the Nazi's policy of extermination of all those they considered to be sub-human. We must never forget. Nor the victims of other holocausts, perpetrated around the globe before and after.