Monday, July 30, 2012

Recap of Guerilla Archaeologists and the Singapore Story
By Eddie Koh

The talk delivered by Miksic, titled Guerrilla Archaeologists and the Singapore Story, started off by Prof. Miksic elucidating the reason for the talk's curious title, alluding to aspects of archaeology, which share resonance with ‘guerrilla warfare’. He believed that, like many guerrilla units who fought against injustices, archaeologists also maintain the principle of preventing historical injustices such as the falsification of the past to achieve certain ends. As such, archaeologists have an important role in extending mankind's memory beyond its natural capacity, limited by personal memories, and therefore enabling us access to a wider perspective of the past. This is mostly achieved through the archaeologists' efforts in investigating the historical values found in ancient artefacts and the preservation of such objects as symbols that hinted to what our distant past may have been like. And on this thought-provoking note, he embarked upon regaling the audience with his experiences of archaeological expeditions, frequently highlighting certain aspects with a hint of bemusement, which linked back to his opening elucidation on what it means to be an archaeologist.

About timeline: Prof. Miksic recounted his very first archaeological experience centred on the Inuits in Northern Canada. After this, he moved to Malaysia in 1968 and participated in the excavations at Kedah. This was followed by his ventures into Honduras in 1975, then Sumatra in 1976/77, Bengkulu in 1979 and across Java in 1981 to 1987.

Throughout all these expeditions, Prof. Miksic recalled how he had often spent many days roaming around vast tracts of lands, searching for possible archaeological traces.

It was in 1984 that he came do Singapore and since then he had excavated at a number of places, namely Fort Canning and the Empress Place. His efforts at these locations had contributed greatly to the reconstruction of histories associated with the site of pre-1819 Singapore.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Exhumation of Giuseppe Garibaldi

The body of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the 19th Century military leader who played a key role in the unification of Italy, is to be exhumed, in response to doubts about its true location.

The exhumation is to be carried out at the end of September, after descendants said that the tomb thought to be his may not contain his body.

They say the tomb, on an island near Sardinia, may have been tampered with.

Garibaldi is seen as a national hero in Italy, and one of its founding fathers.

The authorities gave their permission for the exhumation after the culture ministry backed a request by Garibaldi's family for the tomb, on the island of Caprera, off the northern coast of Sardinia, to be opened.

"It may be a way of knowing what's happened to him and finally arrive at the truth. I think it's very important," Garibaldi's great-granddaughter, Anita Garibaldi, said.

"If he's there, I think he needs to be preserved for the future. If he is not there, perhaps we should stop telling lies to the tourists that go there and people tell them 'Here is Garibaldi' and he's not."
Last wish

Born in 1807, Giuseppe Garibaldi commanded several military campaigns in the mid-19th Century that eventually resulted in the unification of Italy - for centuries divided into independent states and often dominated by outside powers - under King Victor Emmanuel II.

A much-loved national figure, Garibaldi's memory is honoured in statues and street names across Italy.

When he died, his wish for a simple burial or cremation was ignored, and his body was embalmed, but the family believe the job may not have been done properly.

If DNA testing establishes that Garibaldi is indeed in the tomb on Caprera, there may be a debate about whether to ensure his remains are better preserved, or whether to grant him his final wish, the BBC's Alan Johnston reports from Rome.

French collaobration in arrest of Jews - BBC

The only surviving police archives of the biggest World War II deportation of French Jews are being opened up to public view for the first time.

One of the most extraordinary documents on show is Memo 173-42. It is dated 13 July 1942 and marked "secret".

"The occupying authorities," it reads, "have decided upon the arrest and grouping together of a certain number of foreign Jews."

Over nine pages, the head of the Paris police details his orders for the enactment of the Holocaust on French soil.

Three days later, a few hours before dawn on 16 July, French police operating in groups of two (one in uniform, one in plain clothes and accompanied by a German soldier), arrested more than 13,000 Parisian Jews.

"Many, many documents of this period were destroyed at the end of the war," says Olivier Accarie-Pierson, curator of an exhibition that has just opened at the town hall of Paris's third arrondissement, or district. "It's very rare. This is unique."

Mysteriously, in this district and in no other, the documents testifying to the daily life of Paris during the occupation escaped destruction.

Whether it was an act of civil disobedience or an administrative oversight, nobody knows why the records survived, Mr Accarie-Pierson says. But one day - about 20 years ago - they were discovered in a cupboard.

They are a treasure trove for historians.

Like animals

Although this is the first time they have been put on public view, historians have been studying them since they were put into the central Paris police archive, a mine of information about the minutiae of Parisian life stretching back to before the French Revolution.

Other documents on display are the lists of names - hundreds and hundreds of them - written in a ledger by meticulous French policemen during the census of Jews ordered by the Germans as soon as they occupied Paris in 1940.

That census was updated in 1943 when Jews were forbidden from listening to the radio and ordered to hand in their wireless sets.

The names and addresses of those who complied were taken down and used for future round-ups.

Poring over the documents in this exhibition, it is difficult not to be shocked by the clipped, official language employed.

"And yet we were talking about thousands of people!" says Mr Accarie-Pierson. Men, women and children who would soon perish in Nazi death camps.

The Jews were sent to two camps - the Winter cycling track (Velodrome d'hiver or Vel d'hiv) in the west of Paris and an internment camp set up just outside the capital at Drancy.

Although no photographic evidence has survived of their interiors, conditions must have been hellish.

"Where were the beds?" I ask in front of a post-war photo taken of the inside of the cycling stadium. " Around the edge there?"

"There weren't any beds," says Mr Accarie-Pierson.

In Paris, the Jews were already being treated like animals.

Acts of courage

Police chief Rene Bousquet collaborated directly with the Gestapo to facilitate the round-ups and the bureaucratic language sometimes lets through a glimmer of disdain for the Jews from other police chiefs.

After a few weeks all the Jews rounded up on 16 July had been deported by train, mostly to Auschwitz.

"The Winter cycling track has been liberated," writes one police officer.

"A few personal belongings and 50 sick people were left behind. Everything has now been transferred to Drancy."

Olivier Accarie-Pierson says: "The police obeyed the German orders but they also guessed what the Germans wanted and acted accordingly before the Germans asked them to."

The Germans, however, were angry that the French did not round up more Jews that week.

The French police expected to arrest slightly more than 27,000 people.

If they did not get that number, it is thanks to the moral courage of individual police officers.

"A few days before the arrests, many policemen went to the home of the people that they were supposed to arrest and said to them 'When we come on 16 of July, when we knock on the door, make sure you're not there, you have to escape!" Mr Accarie-Pierson explains.

Many were warned and fled but few thought they would arrest women and children too. This explains why, out of the 13,152 arrested that night, almost 10,000 were women or children.
Saved by neighbour

One of those police officers helped save the family of Moise Weinflasch.

He - like many others coming to this exhibition - was looking for a trace of his family. During the war, his parents and sister lived just down the road from here.

"They escaped because they were informed that they would arrest Jews," Mr Weinflasch recounts.

An old woman who lived nearby hid the family when they asked her. "Five of them in a 60 sq m [645 sq ft] flat," says Mr Weinflasch.

He and his family are still in touch with the family of the woman who saved them, six generations later.

One other extraordinary sign of rebellion against what the Germans were doing you can see here in this show: the mock yellow stars that some young non-Jewish Parisians made and wore to mock and protest against the Nazis' racial policy.

There is one in the exhibition bearing the word Goi - the Hebrew word for gentile or non-Jew. There are others worn by jazz fans called the Zazous emblazoned with the word "swing".

Dozens of Parisians were interned for wearing these yellow stars of protest, as the exhibition shows - many in a former infantry barracks called the Tourelles in the east of Paris, many others in Drancy.

They were made to wear on their clothes the inscription "Amis des Juifs" (Friends of the Jews). They were imprisoned for two months before being released.

As for the 13,152 people they were accused of sympathising with, all but a tiny number were killed at Auschwitz.¤t_page_id=442

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vienna war memorial yields pro-Nazi and anti-war texts

Vienna war memorial yields pro-Nazi and anti-war texts

Two conflicting texts - one pro-Nazi, the other pacifist - have been found under a statue at Vienna's main war memorial, Austrian officials say.

Both messages were in a metal capsule left under the statue of the Unknown Soldier in 1935 - three years before Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany.

The pro-Nazi message, by sculptor Wilhelm Frass, hopes for German unity under the Sonnenrad, the swastika.

The anti-war message was signed by sculptor Alfons Riedel.

The metal capsule has now been removed, and the memorial will be redesigned.

Several times a year, Austrian leaders and visiting dignitaries lay wreaths at the statue of the Unknown Soldier, the BBC's Bethany Bell in the Austrian capital reports.

But for years the war memorial was dogged by rumours that a Nazi document had been hidden there, our correspondent adds.

The capsule was unearthed after an investigation ordered by Austrian Defence Minister Norbert Darabos.

The pro-Nazi message speaks of the "eternal strength of the German people" and calls for unity "under the sign of the black sun", the AFP news agency reports.

The pacifist message says: "I wish future generations will never again make it necessary for our people to erect monuments to soldiers who fell in violent conflicts between nations."

Historian Heidemarie Uhl said the conflicting messages were evidence of the Austrian people's ambivalent political views in the 1930s.

Adolf Hitler 'honorary citizen' row grips AustriaBy Bethany Bell

BBC News, Vienna

Several towns in Austria have been checking their archives this week to see if Adolf Hitler is still an honorary citizen of their communities.

It follows an announcement by the town of Amstetten that - more than 60 years after his death - it was finally revoking Hitler's honorary title.

Hitler visited Amstetten - west of Vienna - in 1938, and was made an honorary citizen the following year.

The Green Party sponsored the move to strike his name from the honours list.

The decision was passed by a large majority in the town council.

But two members of the far-right Freedom Party abstained.

They argued the move was unnecessary, because they said the title expired with Hitler's death in 1945.

Motion filed

The debate has unsettled Austria, which is still grappling with the legacy of its Nazi past, and has sent historians and politicians rushing to check their archives.

The mayor of the southern city of Klagenfurt, Christian Scheider, did not even wait for a debate on the issue, but used emergency powers to officially strike Hitler's name from the city's roll of honour.

He said he wanted to distance Klagenfurt from the crimes of Nazism and had filed the following motion:

"If it should emerge that Adolf Hitler ever received an honorary citizenship of the provincial capital Klagenfurt from anyone - a supposition which lies before us - this is officially revoked and disallowed."

Historians in Klagenfurt have found Nazi-era newspapers that describe the ceremony honouring Hitler in 1938.

Several other Austrian towns continue to argue about whether the honorary titles of Hitler and other prominent Nazis have expired or not.

Amstetten shot to notoriety in 2008, when it was revealed that Josef Fritzl had imprisoned his daughter in a cellar in his house there and fathered seven children with her.

Vienna to honour Austria's Nazi army deserters

The Austrian capital Vienna has announced plans to erect a memorial in honour of soldiers who deserted from Adolf Hitler's army, the Wehrmacht.

The city council has yet to decide the exact location, but campaigners want it to be put in Heldenplatz (Heroes Square) alongside war memorials.

The square is also where Hitler, born in Austria, addressed crowds in 1938 when Austria was annexed to Germany.

The BBC's Bethany Bell says Austria is gradually confronting its Nazi past.

Two years ago Austria's parliament agreed to rehabilitate soldiers criminalised by the Nazis for deserting from the Wehrmacht.

The decision to erect a memorial was endorsed by the socialist and green parties which form Vienna's municipal government coalition.

Vienna Green Party leader David Ellensohn said the monument could be modelled on other memorials to Wehrmacht deserters in some German cities.

'Long overdue'

Analyst and campaigner Thomas Geldmacher told the BBC that the memorial was long overdue.

"For a very long time deserters have been completely neglected in Austrian society," he said.

"In large parts of the Austrian population deserters are still considered cowards, traitors, even comrade-killers. A monument - and especially the public debate around the erection of the monument - could somehow change that."

Mr Geldmacher said an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Austrians deserted from the Wehrmacht, especially in the final days of World War II.

Since the 1980s Austria has taken a series of steps acknowledging the role its citizens played in Nazi atrocities.

Austria still haunted by Nazi past
By Chris Bowlby
BBC Radio

As she listened to the cheering crowds and roars of enthusiasm as Hitler and his army entered Austria in March 1938, teenager Ilse Roemer was fascinated at first.
But then her father told her that the cries of "Sieg Heil" were a signal for the Nazis "to start hunting the Jews".

She had barely been aware of her Jewishness before. "Nobody ever asked if I was Jewish," she recalls.

Now everything changed.

She went to a cafe with her best friend, whose father was an ardent Nazi. Suddenly Hitler's voice came on the radio as he spoke euphorically of his Austrian homeland's absorption into the Third Reich.

The waiter insisted that everyone stand and raise their right arms in the Hitler salute.
Her friend told her to do likewise.

"It was the last time I went to a cafe because it was unbearable that I had to greet the Fuehrer," she says.

The 70th anniversary of the Anschluss this month will be sombre and low key.

It is still a deeply troubling episode for Austrians, who grew up in post-war decades with the idea that they were victims of Nazism, not its supporters.

Homes taken over

The wartime Allies against Hitler first encouraged the idea, hoping to stimulate Austrian resistance. And it provided a comforting myth for post-war Austria, masking a frequent refusal to face up to what had really happened.

Ilse Roemer managed to escape in 1938 as a refugee to Britain, where she worked as a nanny in Yorkshire.

Her parents were less fortunate, prevented from crossing the German-Dutch border as war broke out in 1939, and murdered in a concentration camp a few years later.
After the war, Ilse, now married with a baby and named Aschner, returned to Vienna to reclaim her family's substantial flat.

It had been "Aryanised" - given to a loyal Nazi family.

Her ownership claim, backed with documents, was dismissed by the local authorities, who scolded her for trying to "throw people out on the street".

Wall of silence

The guilty past was either wilfully ignored, or proved too painful to face.

Gabriele Matzner, a historian born in 1945 and today's Austrian ambassador to Britain, says: "I didn't have the feeling that Austria was guilty, but that many individuals had been guilty."

Her own family was divided between those who had resisted Nazism and those who had prospered under it. Many people, in family life and in politics, preferred silence.

That was broken in 1986 when former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, standing for election as president of Austria, was shown to have concealed wartime service in a German army unit which had been involved in war crimes.

Waldheim was never linked directly to such crimes, and was elected president.

But he was shunned by much of the outside world, and his repeated claim - that he had simply been "doing his duty" during the war - became less and less acceptable.

Slowly but steadily, debate has opened up.

Belated recognition

A significant gesture came last autumn when Franz Jaegerstaetter, an Austrian farmer executed in 1943 in Berlin for his refusal on religious grounds to fight for the German army, was beatified by the Catholic Church

His home village near Salzburg embodies the Nazi period's lasting division of Austrian society.
Some villagers opposed the Nazis but were betrayed by the village midwife, a Gestapo agent.

Jaegerstaetter's widow, Franziska, who is in her 90s, still lives there.

She remembers that many villagers "were not good to me" during and after the war, as they felt her husband's actions had undermined the dutiful war service of local men.

Her husband's beatification last October has offered satisfying, if very late, recognition of the price her family paid.

But progress remains patchy towards restitution for all those, like Ilse Aschner, whose family property was stolen under Nazi rule.

Decades-long wait

Multi-million dollar funds have been established by the Austrian government, paying out limited amounts to claimants after often long and painstaking investigations. Some claimants die of old age before they receive anything
Hannah Lessing, whose father was Jewish, runs the restitution funds on behalf of the government in Vienna.
She admits the frustrations, but says her enthusiastic staff prove "there is a young generation that is willing to do it differently".

Meanwhile Ilse Aschner, who grew up in pre-Anschluss Vienna in her parents' smart flat, now lives aged 89 in a council flat up several flights of stairs with no lift.

She has received a few modest payments in compensation, and is waiting for more.

She sometimes walks past the old family flat, sees its current owners looking out of the windows "and I know that those were our windows. It's hard, but that's it".

Asked why compensation, first applied for in 1946, has taken so long, she laughs ruefully and replies: "This is Austria, here things take a little bit longer".

Austria - A Convenient Victim is on BBC Radio 4 at 11am on 10 March

Keynes vs Heyek

Keynes v Hayek: Two economic giants go head to headJohn Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August Hayek were two prominent economists of the Great Depression era with sharply contrasting views. The arguments they had in the 1930s have been revived in the wake of the latest global financial crisis.

The contemporary relevance of their ideas has even been debated in a rap video. More than 1,000 people attended a BBC Radio 4 debate at the London School of Economics to hear supporters of the two economists argue their case.


When discussing Hayek it is important to correct a misconception: Hayek's is not a "do nothing" theory.

It does not deny that we should maintain spending when boom turns to bust. But it goes further.

Unlike Keynes, Hayek believed that genuine recovery from a post-boom crash called not just for adequate spending, but for a return to sustainable production - production purged of boom-era distortions caused by easy money.

Hayek was dismissed as someone who wanted to "liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers," and so on.

But an unsustainable boom is one after which some things really do need liquidating. The straightforward recipe for the revival of healthy investment following the 2008 crisis was to liquidate.

Liquidate Bear Stearns! Liquidate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac!

Liquidate, in short, the whole sub-prime bubble-blowing apparatus that was nurtured by easy monetary policy.
That would have meant letting insolvent banks that lent or invested unwisely go bust.

But instead our governments chose to keep bad banks going and that is why quantitative easing has proven a failure.

Quantitative easing failed because almost all the new money the government created has gone to shore up the balance sheets of irresponsible bankers.

Now those banks sit on piles of idle cash while other businesses starve or cannot get started for want of credit.

The economy is like a drunk throwing up the morning after the night before.

It is disgorging itself - or trying to disgorge itself - of bad investments it was tempted to undertake largely because of easy money.

Giving it still more money will not prevent the inevitable suffering.

It might mask or delay it somewhat, but only at the cost of more suffering later.

This is not the sort of advice that governments welcome.

They want a painless, easy cure like the one Keynesians offer.

But, as Hayekians warned again and again, there is no painless recovery from an unsustainable boom.

The only way to have no pain is to avoid the boom itself.

Friedrich August Hayek

Friedrich August Hayek was born on 8 May 1899 in Austria-Hungary. The economist and philosopher, who taught at the LSE, is best known for his defence of free-market capitalism.

Hayek served in World War I, and said the experience led him into his career in the hope that he could help society avoid the same mistakes that led to the war.

The global Great Depression was the backdrop against which Hayek formulated many of his theories - especially those which were opposed to Keynes.

After the British depression of the 1920s, Hayek promoted the idea that private investment, rather than government spending, would promote sustainable growth.

In 1974 Hayek won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations.

Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, and became a British subject in 1938


Keynes's theory was forged in the Great Depression of 1929-1932 - the biggest economic collapse of modern times.

As their economies contracted, governments responded to their mounting budget deficits by raising taxes and cutting spending.

The Great Depression bottomed out at the end of 1932, with British unemployment having reached 20%, American unemployment even higher.

Keynes wrote the General Theory in 1936 to explain why the recovery was so feeble.

His revolutionary proposition was that following a big shock - usually a collapse in investment - there were no automatic recovery forces in a market economy.

The economy would go on shrinking until it reached some sort of stability at a low level.

Keynes called this position "under-employment equilibrium".
The reason was that the level of activity - output and employment - depended on the level of aggregate demand or spending power.

If spending power shrank, output would shrink.

In this situation it was the government's job to increase its own spending to offset the decline in public spending - that is by running a deficit to whatever extent necessarTo cut government spending was completely the wrong policy in a slump.

When an economy is booming, a hair shirt at the Treasury is the right policy, when it is stagnating it is the wrong policy.

Keynes's message was: you cannot cut your way out of a slump; you have to grow your way out.

Eighty years on we have still not fully learnt the lesson.

Three years after the collapse of 2008, our economy is flat: there are no signs of growth, nor can the Osborne policy of a thousand cuts produce any.

It was Friedrich Hayek, who represented the orthodox theories which Keynes attacked.

According to Hayek the main cause of slumps was excessive credit creation by the banks leading to overspending.

The boom was the illusion; the slump the reality.

The situation following an injection of money by the banking system would be similar to that of a people on an isolated island, if, after having partially constructed an enormous machine… they found they had exhausted all their savings before the new machine could turn out its products.

They would then have no choice but to abandon, temporarily, the work on the new process and to devote all their labour to producing their daily bread without any capital.

That is, go back to growing their own food - much as the Russians did when their economy collapsed in the early 1990s.

Keynes was scathing in his comment on Hayek's book, Prices and Production, which he called "one of the most frightful muddles I have ever read".

"It is an extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end in Bedlam."

Hayek gave up serious economics, though not serious writing.

He and Keynes developed a wary respect, and even liking, for each other. "We get on very well in private life", Keynes wrote. "But what rubbish his theory is."

Keynes's magnetism made a deep impression on Hayek, but he never stopped believing that his influence on economics was "both miraculous and tragic".

Keynes Bakground
John Maynard Keynes was born on 5 June 1883. An Old Etonian, he excelled academically at Cambridge University - where he later taught.

During World War I, Keynes joined the Treasury, and in the wake of the Versailles peace treaty, he criticised the exorbitant war reparations demanded from Germany, which he said would not only harm Germany's economy but that of other countries as Germany would not be able to afford to buy foreign exports.

In 1944, he led the British delegation to the Bretton Woods conference in the United States. At the conference he played a significant role in the planning of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Keynes advocated that governments could control the business cycle, and his theories proved very popular with western economies in the 1950s and 1960s.

He died on 21 April 1946

A Point of View: What would Keynes do?

What would John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century, have made of the current economic situation, ponders philosopher John Gray.

"I can see us as water-spiders, gracefully skimming, as light and reasonable as air, the surface of the stream without any contact at all with the eddies and currents underneath."

That was how John Maynard Keynes, speaking in 1938 in a talk later published as his brilliant memoir My Early Beliefs, recalled his younger self and his friends in the Bloomsbury Group as they had been in the years before World War I.

The influential Cambridge economist has figured prominently in the anxious debates that have gone on since the crash of 2007-2008. For most of those invoking his name, he was a kind of social engineer, who urged using the power of government to lift the economy out of the devastating depression of the 30s.
That is how Keynes's disciples view him today. The fashionable cult of austerity, they warn, has forgotten Keynes's most important insight - slashing government spending when credit is scarce only plunges the economy into deeper recession.

What is needed now, they believe, is what Keynes urged in the 30s - governments must be ready to borrow more, print more money and invest in public works in order to restart growth.

But would Keynes be today what is described as a Keynesian? Would this supremely subtle and sceptical mind still believe that policies he formulated long ago - which worked well in the decades after the World War II - can solve our problems now?

The first thing to be said about Maynard Keynes is that he was an astonishingly intelligent man. Bertrand Russell, his contemporary at Cambridge, described the economist as having "the sharpest and clearest intellect" he had ever known.

Having transformed the study of logic, Russell was himself one of the great minds of the early 20th Century. Yet when he argued with Keynes, Russell wrote, "I took my life in my hands, and I seldom emerged without feeling something of a fool."

Intimately familiar with the history of economic thought and widely read in many fields, producing a major treatise on the nature of probability alongside his famous General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money and a host of penetrating essays, Keynes had a depth of culture that few economists could claim today.

His brilliant intelligence wasn't exercised only in the realm of theory. Keynes was an outstandingly successful investor, who lost heavily in the 1929 crash, changed his investment methods and recouped his losses, growing the funds of his Cambridge college and leaving a substantial personal fortune. He had a deep understanding of the complex, unpredictable and at times insolubly difficult nature of human events.
But Keynes didn't start out with this understanding. As he records in his memoir, he and his friends in Cambridge and Bloomsbury believed they already knew what the good life consisted in and were sublimely confident that it could be achieved. Influenced by the Cambridge philosopher GE Moore, they thought the only things that had value in themselves were love, beauty and the pursuit of knowledge.

Some of the most bold of Moore's disciples - Keynes was one of them - ventured to suggest that pleasure might also be worth pursuing, but Moore, who was something of a puritan, would have nothing of this. Despite these disagreements, Moore's was a liberating philosophy for Keynes and his friends.

Keynes viewed his early philosophy as being entirely rational and scientific in character. Yet it was also his religion, he tells us - the faith by which he and his friends lived. And, in many ways, it was not a bad faith to live by. It armed him against idolatry of the market, which he described as "the worm that had been gnawing at the insides of modern civilisation... the over-valuation of the economic criterion". To identify the goods that can be added up in an economic calculus with the good life was for Keynes - young and old - a fundamental error. The market was made for human beings - not human beings to serve the market.

At the same time, Keynes's personal religion immunised him against the faith in central economic planning that bewitched a later generation at Cambridge. He was never tempted by the lure of collectivism, which he dismissed as "the turbid rubbish of the Red bookshop". Firmly believing that nothing had value except the experiences of individuals, he always remained a liberal.

In other respects, Keynes's early philosophy was dangerously shallow. "We were among the last of the Utopians, or meliorists as they are sometimes called", he wrote, "who believe in a continuing moral progress by virtue of which the human race already consists of reliable, rational, decent people, influenced by truth and objective standards... We were not aware that civilisation was a thin and precarious crust... only maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and guilefully preserved." Underlying this complacent faith in progress was a naive faith in the power of reason. Inspired by a "thin rationalism", he wrote, "We completely misunderstood human nature, including our own."
Keynes discovered just how deluded this faith in reason was when in 1919 he attended the Versailles Peace Conference as part of the British delegation. The European continent was in ruins, and millions were hungry or actually starving. Yet the victors in World War I, who were supposed to be planning Europe's future, could not escape from squabbling among themselves and plotting revenge on a defeated Germany. In his prophetic book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes forecast a popular reaction in Germany, born of desperation and hysteria, which would "submerge civilisation itself".

We do not find ourselves today struggling with the aftermath of a catastrophic world war. Yet the situation in Europe poses risks that may be as great as they were in 1919. A deepening slump there would increase the risk of a hard landing in China - on whose growth the world has come to depend. In Europe itself, a downward spiral would energise toxic political movements - such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, which won seats in parliament in the last election in Greece. Facing these dangers, Keynes's disciples insist that the only way forward is through governments stimulating the economy and returning it to growth.

It's hard to imagine Keynes sharing such a simple-minded view. As he would surely recognise, the problem isn't just a deepening recession, however serious. We face a conjunction of three large events - the implosion of the debt-based finance-capitalism that developed over the past twenty years or so, a fracturing of the euro resulting from fatal faults in its design, and the ongoing shift of economic power from the west to the fast-developing countries of the east and south.

Interacting with each other, these crises have created a global crisis that old-fashioned Keynesian policies cannot deal with. Yet it's still Keynes from whom we have most to learn. Not Keynes the economic engineer, who is invoked by his disciples today. But Keynes the sceptic, who understood that markets are as prone to fits of madness as any other human institution and who tried to envisage a more intelligent variety of capitalism.

Keynes condemned Britain's return in 1925 to the gold standard, which famously he described as a barbarous relic. Would he not also condemn the determination of European governments to save the euro? Might he not think they would be better advised to begin a planned dismantlement of this primitive relic of 20th Century utopian thinking?

I suspect Keynes would be just as sceptical about the prospect of returning to growth. With our ageing populations and overhang of debt, there's little prospect of developed societies keeping up with the rapid expansion that is going on in emerging countries. Wouldn't we be better off thinking about how we can enjoy a good life in conditions of low growth?

Keynes's most important lesson is to let go of inherited ideas. If we cling to the panaceas of earlier times, we risk losing the civilisation we have inherited. This is the truly Keynesian insight that our leaders - airily floating above the dangerous undercurrents of popular feeling like the water-spiders of Bloomsbury - have yet to grasp.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was educated at Eton and Cambridge University, where he studied mathematics

He became friends with members of the Bloomsbury group of intellectuals and artists
Keynes joined the Treasury during World War I, and in the wake of the 1919 Versailles peace treaty, published The Economic Consequences of the Peace, criticising exorbitant war reparations demanded from Germany, claiming they would harm the country's economy and could foster a desire for revenge

During inter-war years, Keynes became a prominent arts patron

His best-known work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, made Keynes Britain's most influential economist

Keynes led 1944 British delegation to the Bretton Woods conference in the United States, playing an important role in planning the World Bank and International Monetary Fund

Britain's first black community in Elizabethan London

Britain's first black community in Elizabethan London

The black trumpeter John Blanke played regularly at the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII

The reign of Elizabeth I saw the beginning of Britain's first black community. It's a fascinating story for modern Britons, writes historian Michael Wood.

Walk out of Aldgate Tube and stroll around Whitechapel Road in east London today, and you'll experience the heady sights, smells and sounds of the temples, mosques and curry houses of Brick Lane - so typical of modern multicultural Britain.

Most of us tend to think that black people came to Britain after the war - Caribbeans on the Empire Windrush in 1948, Bangladeshis after the 1971 war and Ugandan Asians after Idi Amin's expulsion in 1972.

But, back in Shakespeare's day, you could have met people from west Africa and even Bengal in the same London streets.

Of course, there were fewer, and they drew antipathy as well as fascination from the Tudor inhabitants, who had never seen black people before. But we know they lived, worked and intermarried, so it is fair to say that Britain's first black community starts here.

There had been black people in Britain in Roman times, and they are found as musicians in the early Tudor period in England and Scotland.

But the real change came in Elizabeth I's reign, when, through the records, we can pick up ordinary, working, black people, especially in London.

Shakespeare himself, a man fascinated by "the other", wrote several black parts - indeed, two of his greatest characters are black - and the fact that he put them into mainstream entertainment reflects the fact that they were a significant element in the population of London.

Employed especially as domestic servants, but also as musicians, dancers and entertainers, their numbers ran to many hundreds, maybe even more.

And let's be clear - they were not slaves. In English law, it was not possible to be a slave in England (although that principle had to be re-stated in slave trade court cases in the late 18th Century, like the "Somersett" case of 1772).

In Elizabeth's reign, the black people of London were mostly free. Some indeed, both men and women, married native English people.

In 1599, for example, in St Olave Hart Street, John Cathman married Constantia "a black woman and servant". A bit later, James Curres, "a moore Christian", married Margaret Person, a maid.

The parish records of this time from "St Botolph's outside Aldgate", are especially revealing. Here, among French and Dutch immigrants, are a Persian, several Indians and one "East Indian" (from today's Bengal).

In this single small parish, we find 25 black people in the later 16th Century. They are mainly servants, but not all - one man lodging at the White Bell, next to the Bell Foundry off Whitechapel road, probably worked at the foundry.

Some were given costly, high status, Christian funerals, with bearers and fine black cloth, a mark of the esteem in which they were held by employers, neighbours and fellow workers.

Among the names are these:

Christopher Cappervert [ie from Cape Verde] - "a blacke moore"
Domingo - "a black neigro servaunt unto Sir William Winter"
Suzanna Peavis - "a blackamore servant to John Deppinois"
Symon Valencia - "a black moore servaunt to Stephen Drifyeld a nedellmaker"
Cassango - "a blackmoore servaunt to Mr Thomas Barber a marchaunt"
Isabell Peeters - "a Black-more lodgeing in Blew Anchor Alley"
"A negar whose name was suposed to be Frauncis. He was servant to be [sic] Peter Miller a beare brewer dwelling at the signe of the hartes horne in the libertie of EastSmithfield. Yeares xxvi [26]. He had the best cloth [and] iiii [4] bearers"
Among later names, we find:

Anne Vause - "a Black-more wife to Anthonie Vause, Trompetter"
John Comequicke - "a Black-Moore so named, servant to Thomas Love a Captaine"
And, the saddest in this list:

Marie - "a Blackamoor woman that die in the street"
Sometimes the detail in the Botolph's register is absolutely fascinating.

In 1597, for example, Mary Fillis, a black woman of 20 years, had, for a long while, been the servant of Widow Barker in Mark Lane. She had been in England 13 or 14 years, and was the daughter of a Moorish shovel maker and basket maker. Never christened, she became the servant of Millicent Porter, a seamstress living in East Smithfield, and now "taking some howld of faith in Jesus Chryst, was desyrous to becom a Christian, Wherefore shee made sute by hir said mistres to have some conference with the Curat".

Examined in her faith by the vicar of St Botolph's, and "answering him verie Christian lyke", she did her catechisms, said the Lord's Prayer, and was baptised on Friday 3 June 1597 in front of the congregation. Among her witnesses were a group of five women, mostly wives of leading parishioners. Now a "lyvely member" of the church in Aldgate, there is no question from this description that Mary belonged to a community with friends and supporters.
Despite the story of Fillis, the lives of others were far from sweetness and light, of course. The lives of some black people were as free as anywhere in the white European world, but, for many, things were circumscribed and very hard.

Some black women worked alongside their white counterparts as prostitutes, especially in Southwark, and in the brothel area of Turnmill Street in Clerkenwell. Here the famous Lucy Negro, a former dancer in the Queen's service, ran an establishment patronised by noblemen and lawyers. Lucy was famous enough to be paid mock homage in the Inns of Court revels at Gray's Inn.

Her area of London was notorious. "Pray enquire after and secure my negress: she is certainly at The Swan, a Dane's beershop in Turnmil Street," wrote one Denis Edwards in 1602. Shakespeare's acquaintance, the poet John Weaver, also sang the praises of a woman whose face was "pure black as Ebonie, jet blacke".

In around 1600, the presence of black people had become an issue for the English government. Their numbers recently increased by many slaves freed from captured Spanish ships, the presence of black people suddenly came to be seen as a nuisance. In 1601, among the Cecil papers still held at Hatfield House, we hear this:

"The queen is discontented at the great numbers of 'negars and blackamoores' which are crept into the realm since the troubles between her Highness and the King of Spain, and are fostered here to the annoyance of her own people."
The "great numbers" were mainly galley slaves and servants from captured Spanish vessels, and a plan was mooted to transport them out of the country. Was this the first example of government repatriation? In July 1602, Cecil was putting pressure on the merchants, one of whom wrote:

"I have persuaded the merchants trading to Barbary, not without some difficulty, to yield to [ie pay for] the charges of the Moors lately redeemed out of servitude by her Majesty's ships, so far as it may concern their lodging and victuals, till some shipping may be ready to carry them into Barbary…"

Whether this actually happened is unclear. No more then than now, should we take a government's pronouncements on such matters at face value?

But it is at least worth noting that the authorities felt duty-bound to look after food and lodging while the freed slaves were in London. But it cannot be, as is sometimes claimed today, that this edict applied to the many black people who, like Mary Fillis, were living as citizens in London, as they were in Bristol.

Brief as they are, such hints suggest a surprisingly rich hidden narrative for black people in Elizabethan England.

From Lucy Negro to Mary Fillis, their numbers grew in the 17th Century as they were joined by large numbers of people from India and, in particular, Bengal.

Sadly, their own story, in their own words, is lacking, but by the time we reach the 18th Century, we have the remarkable works of prose, poetry and music written by black Britons, among whom the likes of Olaudah Equiano, Ottobah Cugoano and Ignatius Sancho deserve their place in any list of Great Britons.

By the 18th Century, it is thought as many as 20,000 black servants lived in London. They even had their own taverns where they greeted defeat of the "Somersett case" and the victories of the abolitionists with raucous good humour.

Their numbers were still small compared with the population as a whole, but they already had a role in our national story. What would Mary Fillis make of things today I wonder? And what would we give for her story?
London's 16th Century black community is recorded in St Boltolph's Church's records

Eric Liddell of China (Chariots of Fire)

The story of Scottish athlete Eric Liddell - a devout Christian who refused to take part in an Olympic race because it took place on a Sunday - became famous after being told in the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire. But almost a century later, why is the athlete regarded as a hero in China?

In the corner of a quiet Chinese courtyard, 5,000 miles from Scotland, stands a memorial in Isle of Mull granite.

The stone commemorates Eric Liddell - one of Scotland's greatest Olympians - who is buried nearby.

The stone was gifted by Edinburgh University after a Scottish engineer, Charles Walker, rediscovered his grave in the Chinese city of Weifang.

Liddell, the son of Christian missionaries, had been born in China in 1902 and lived there until he was five when he returned to Britain to be educated.

While he was at Edinburgh University, Liddell excelled at athletics and also played rugby for the Scottish national team - as well as being a noted evangelist preacher.

At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, he famously refused to run on a Sunday, ruling him out of the 100 metres race to which he was best suited.

Instead, he took part in the 400 metres race and, against the odds, still won a gold medal.

Soon after his Olympic triumph, Liddell finished his studies and returned to China to become a missionary.

As well as religious duties, he worked as a science and sports teacher at the Anglo/Chinese College in Tianjin.

After the Japanese invasion in 1937, Liddell carried on his missionary work even when it became dangerous to do so.

Liddell's wife and children left China for Canada in 1941 but he stayed to help in any way he could.

In 1943 he was interned at Weifang and he died of a brain tumour just months before the end of World War II, at the age of 43.
The prisoner-of-war camp which held about 2,000 Westerners is now a place of learning for 2,000 Chinese teenagers.

Every new pupil at the school is taught about the camp and Eric Liddell's achievements on and off the track

"This part of history is a great treasure for our school," said head teacher, Zhao Guixia.

"We can see the great value of humanity, especially in Eric Liddell's stories."

In the camp, Liddell was affectionately known as "Uncle Eric" because he spent most of his time teaching children, organising sports and helping others.

Because he was born in China, some people regard him as the first Chinese Olympic gold medallist.

It is not a joke," said Wang Hao, Weifang's director of foreign affairs.

"We are very proud of Mr Eric Liddell. He is a hero".

A small internment camp museum features Liddell's story but the city has plans to pay a bigger tribute.

The building where he died is to be converted into a new museum with a reconstruction of Liddell's prison room and a waxwork of him inside.

It will be a remarkable honour for a Christian missionary in a Communist country.

Outside China, his greatest monument is the movie he inspired.

Chariots of Fire has been digitally remastered and re-released to cinemas to coincide with London 2012.

Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor's taleBy Monica Whitlock

Warsaw Ghetto: A survivor's taleBy Monica Whitlock

BBC World Service

Janina Dawidowicz was a nine-year-old girl when World War II engulfed Poland. As Jews, she and her family were soon driven into the Warsaw Ghetto, but she later escaped and remains one of its few survivors.

The extermination of the Jews of Poland began 70 years ago.

On the morning of 22 July 1942, Nazi soldiers marched the first group of 6,000 Jews held in the Warsaw Ghetto to the railway sidings, the Umshlag Platz, and put them on trains to the Treblinka gas facility.

Janina Dawidowicz, born in 1930, is one of the few people who lived in the ghetto and survived. She recalls the posters going up, ordering residents to report to the Umshlag Platz at 11 o'clock. Any one disobeying would be shot.

Many people, she says, lined up willingly. The Germans told residents that they were being sent to labour camps in eastern Poland where they could escape the misery. What is more, there would be handouts of free food.

"People were offered, I think, two loaves of bread, some margarine or some sugar if they reported to Umshlag Platz. Nobody could imagine that you were going straight into a gas chamber."

The first to go were those with the least power to resist - the old, the ill and the under-12s.

They included, from Janina's apartment, a fragile young woman called Rachel. She had once shown 11-year-old Janina her carefully-stored wedding outfit - a satin skirt and white blouse. When Rachel did not come home and Janina found her trousseau missing, she understood where Rachel had gone.

"Our landlord and landlady went next. They took all their kitchen stuff - pots and pans, large bundles tied up in a sheet, back and front, they could hardly walk. But they went. They waved goodbye and promised to write when they arrived in the East.''

The ghetto had been created as a holding pen for Jews in November 1940. The large Jewish population of Warsaw - a third of the city - was confined to a tiny area, where they were walled in.

They were joined by tens of thousands of Jews from other parts of Poland, Hungary and other German-occupied countries.

"You heard every language in the street," remembers Janina. "Yiddish, Polish, Hungarian, German."

Janina and her well-to-do family came from the city of Kalicz, near the German border.

"I was an only child watched over very carefully by a nanny - frightfully well brought up - white gloves to play in the park! My mother had been to finishing school in Zurich... she could not boil an egg when the war started."

Janina and her parents squeezed into a tiny room, so damp that "I could write sums on the wall", and the sheets had to be dried before bedtime. They cooked on sawdust between two bricks, and fetched water from a communal tap. Food was bread mixed with sawdust and potatoes, rationed to 108 calories per day.

Janina's cousin Rosa had a lively toddler, who slowly starved to death. Like thousands of ghetto children, Cousin Rosa's little boy stopped walking, shriveled and died.

Desperate for a wage, Janina's father Marek got a job in the Jewish Law and Order service - the Jewish police.

The service was often reviled as a tool of Nazi policy, along with the Jewish administration. But at the time, the job seemed to hold out the best chance of keeping the family alive until the end of the war. Marek escorted cartloads of rubble out of the ghetto, and smuggled in small amounts of food.

Families tried fiercely to maintain a semblance of ordinary life between 1940 and 1942.

There were tremendous efforts to run community soup kitchens and look after orphans whose parents had starved to death, or died of the diseases that raged in the ghetto.

Many children like Janina attended illegal schools, risking instant execution for teachers and pupils if discovered.

There were choirs, physics lectures and cabaret shows to raise money for social services. Classes were held in every conceivable skill from cookery to paper-flower making.

The last family summer holiday was in 1939 (Janina is far left)
A symphony orchestra played at the theatre, complete with the stars of the music that all Warsaw had danced to before the war.

The Polish record company, Electro-Syrena, had been Jewish-owned and had produced hundreds of hits before 1939. Now, musicians and technicians alike lived in the ghetto - jazz men like the Gold brothers, Henryk and Artur, who'd run the famous Adria night club.

All they had to do was outlast the war, people told themselves, and life would continue - perhaps not as before, but at least in some form.

"My mother, my grandmother would say: 'Oh, we need new curtains in the living room,'" Janina remembers.

"The carpets! We'll get Sophie and Stephanie in to give us a hand. No-one believed it would go on. France had fallen, but there was England and the USSR and America - there was a whole world. Of course it was going to end."

At the time, it was a reasonable wager. It was not until the autumn of 1941 and the German failure to march victoriously through the Soviet Union, that Nazi policy moved from the mass shooting of European Jews to comprehensive extermination.

Through July and August 1942, another 6,000 were sent from the ghetto to Treblinka each day.

By the end of the summer, more than a quarter of a million were gone, dead within hours of arrival at Treblinka.

Janina, as a policeman's daughter, was one of the few children alive.

"Our whole block of flats was empty. The father of the twins living above us threw himself out of the window when he came home and didn't find the children."

Janina's aunt was taken, then her grandparents. Then the police began being rounded up.

In the last weeks of the ghetto, in the winter of 1942, Janina's parents managed to smuggle her out to Christian Warsaw. As her father had police papers, he was allowed to escort lorries through the gates, so she slipped out with him.

In Warsaw, she was kept hidden by Catholic nuns, changing her name and concealing her identity.

Her parents stayed behind. She never saw them again. Janina thinks her father died in the Majdanek extermination camp. She does not know how or where her mother was killed.

After the war, Janina found one uncle. She returned to Kaliscz, hoping someone else might reappear. She waited for over a year before giving up.

After two years in a children's home, Janina sailed in a ship full of emigrants to start a new life in Melbourne, Australia, where she got a job in a factory. It was in Australia that she managed, finally, to resume her education, and qualified as a social worker.

Homesick for Europe, she moved to London in 1958, where she began to write down her experiences in order to make sense of her life. She became a writer and translator, and has lived in London ever since.

Janina's autobiography, A Square of Sky, is written under her pen name of Janina David

WWI and Franco-German ties in 2012

REIMS, France: France and Germany marked 50 years of reconciliation on Sunday but the vandalism of German war graves cast a shadow as their leaders sought more unity to tackle the euro debt crisis.

The desecration of the graves of 51 German soldiers killed during World War I came on the eve of the highly symbolic meeting in Reims in northern France, a region scarred by centuries of war with Germany.

French President Francois Hollande immediately launched into damage control telling German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others gathered in the cathedral at Rheims that "no obscure force and even less stupidity can alter the deep Franco-German friendship.

"Our friendship inspires Europe," he said. "We don't want to preach. We just want to give examples to be followed.

"Madam Chancellor, I propose from our side to open and even cross a new door together that will lead to even closer friendship between our two nations."

The two leaders reviewed troops from their countries, exchanged kisses on the cheeks in greeting, and called each other "dear" Angela and Francois in stark contrast to earlier more formal, and even frosty, meetings.

The main event at Rheims cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site extensively damaged by German bombing during World War I, was attended by a hundreds-strong cheering crowd.

Merkel's message was more direct.

"Europe is more than just a currency, and the Franco-German relationship is vital in this regard, it has deeply marked European unification," she said.

At the same time she stressed that others were welcome to join in, echoing Hollande who is seeking closer ties with Italy and Spain.

"We must now put finishing touches on a political level of the economic and monetary union, it's a Herculean task but Europe is up to it," she said, ending her speech with "Long live Franco-German friendship" in both languages.

They also unveiled a plaque in German commemorating the "Mass for peace" before visiting an exhibition in the nearby Tau palace.

Hollande, speaking to reporters after the ceremony, rejected the need for a super "Mr Euro" with beefed up powers, saying: "We are mobilised to preserve, nurture and strengthen the euro.

"We will have a good solution once Mr Juncker ends his mandate, a Franco-German solution," he said, referring to Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker who has steered the Eurogroup since 2005. His current term ends on July 17.

The Franco-German post-war reconciliation was symbolically achieved in 1962 by then French president Charles de Gaulle and German chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

The eurozone's two top economies have worked closely in recent years as they scramble to solve the debt crisis hammering the single currency. Eurozone finance ministers will meet Monday in Brussels to build on measures agreed last month to tame the debt crisis.

Observers are watching to see how the relationship develops between the new French president, a centre-left advocate of growth, and Merkel, a centre-right defender of austerity.

The two have locked horns on resolving the crisis with Hollande advocating more spending to boost growth - a position winning over more adherents in Europe - while Merkel touts serious belt-tightening and more fiscal control.

Hollande told reporters that the relationship was developing well.

"Even though we belong to different political traditions, Mrs Merkel and I share the same values with regard to the EU," he said. "Our relations are good and there's no need to try to too hard."

On the eve of the watershed event, the graves of 51 World War I German soldiers were found desecrated at a military cemetery some 40 kilometres east of Reims.

A local prosecutor said the grave markers had probably been kicked out at the Saint-Etienne-a-Arnes cemetery, which contains the graves of some 12,000 World War I soldiers - the majority of them German.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls strongly condemned the vandalism saying: "An enquiry is under way and all means are being employed to find those responsible for this terrible desecration."

According to initial information, the wooden crosses had been pulled up and some used for a camp fire. Several beer bottles were found nearby.

It was not immediately possible to say whether this was a "determined action" or just the work of "irresponsible people", a spokesman at the local prefecture said, adding there were no signs of any political message.

Reims was occupied by the Prussians in 1870, devastated by bombings during World War I, and was the city where on May 7, 1945, US general Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Allies received the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht.