Watching the TV movie ‘Countdown to D-Day’ recently , I was impressed with Tom Selleck’s portrayal of Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower, who he plays with convincing gravitas.
There’s a scene in which Ike deals with a Major General who’d shared a room with him at Westpoint. The officer has been overheard trying to impress his dinner guests by discussing D-Day in a public restaurant . Ike informs him that he’s being sent home, to which the officer replies:
“You owe me something. l’m part of the inner circle.”
“That’s the worst thing you could have said.” Ike reproaches, “There is no inner circle. Only those who will live and those who will die.”
My own father was among those men on landing craft and spent six days at sea. “We were all fucking scared” he told me, as a man not normally inclined to swear for effect.
In the age of reputation building, the selfless sense of duty typical of them becomes even more remarkable, having had the opportunity to return to Normandy with them in 2004.
How different is today ‘s world of social enterprise where inner circles are very much in evidence.
Today my MP and immigration minister Mark Harper replied to the letter I wrote a few weeks ago. I was asking for his support to protect our intellectual property, the work of my deceased colleague. He informed me that he’d passed it on to the British Council and that as a copyright issue, I should seek professional advice.
It’s an unusual situation in that the aim of the copyright, rather than to reap financial rewards, was to benefit the ‘abandoned children of Ukraine’ Just 3 years earlier, founder Terry Hallman had made some rather prescient public observations on what could happen.
“I have no problem with someone else implementing a project, and usually prefer that. Even if they do, it’s still a matter of stolen property in which we’ve invested unilaterally to produce. Almost always, however, there may remain critical components that the implementer just doesn’t want to bother with. Maybe it’s too dangerous. Maybe there are political considerations and conflicts. In that case, the designer is likely the only person(s) to know how to get those done. That’s when it’s time to consult with the architect.”
Terry’s notes are revealing, referring to a ‘reputed mob boss’ and the attempted hijack of the term ‘Marshall Plan’ As General George Marshall had realised in 1947, the absence of a functional society in a large part of Europe was a threat to us all.
“Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full co-operation I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.”
The full cooperation of the US government was not in evidence when we called on them for support:
“Thank you for your time and attention to this. I and others will look forward to hearing from you. I hope we continue to realize ever more fully that outside the box and inside the box have only a box in the way. We outside the box know quite a bit of what’s going on, many times in exquisite detail, perhaps in ways that those inside the box can’t quite as easily access if at all. We are grossly underfunded in favor of missiles, bombs, and ordnance, which is about 100% backwards. Now, with even the US Pentagon stating that they’ve learned their lesson in Iraq and realize (so says top US general in Iraq ten days or so ago) that winning hearts and minds is the best option, I and others shall continue to think positive and look for aid budgets and funding spigots to be opened much more for people and NGOs in silos, foxholes and trenches, insisting on better than ordnance, and who understand things and how to fix them. We can do that. We can even do it cost-effectively and with far better efficiency than the ordnance route. Welcome to our brave new world. Except it’s not so new: learn to love and respect each other first, especially the weakest, most defenseless, most voiceless among us, then figure out the rest. There aren’t other more important things to do first. This message has been around for at least two thousand years. How difficult is it for us to understand?”
Inner circles had been evident from the beginning when joining and seeking the support of the Social Enterprise Coalition. This kind of work was not their current focus, at least not then.
There’s another scene in the movie where Ike’s aide tries to encourage him to do a little self promotion after reading an article which compares him unfavorourably with Patten and Montgomery.
Ike’s response is to point out that it’s difficult enough to manage these ‘swell heads’ without competing with them for newspaper ink.
In 2006, when we broke the ‘Death Camps for Children’ story, we had great need of media support but it wasn’t to be found. Several media sources including the BBC go as far as censoring me.
It is the Sunday Times that brings the story of Torez, the location described in the ‘Death Camps’ article to maintream media. Their article identifies a leading oligarch as the champion of these children. He will resolve all problem in the next 5 years. It’s the same man who’d tried to hijack the ‘Marshall Plan’ title 5 years earlier, begging the question why it hasn’t been resolved already.
One of the journalist, Martin Nunn has connections with Conservative think tank, Respublica. Philip Blond, Respublica’s director, recently claimed that the future of politics would not be oligarchic. A strange conclusion under the circumstances.
The BBC pitched in just a few months ago with Kate Blewet’s documentary where she asks why NGOs and government aren’t challenging this situation. We know a different reality in the interaction with Ukraine’s minstry of Family, Youth and Sport.