Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Count

The fellow above is one Count Folke Bernadotte born this day 1895 in Stockholm, Sweden. He has the honour of being the new years first human hero, and is number 132 on the hero list. Those of you who know your Swedish history (both of you), will recognize our boy's last name as a fairly famous one in Sweden. It (Bernadotte) is the name of the ruling house of Sweden, and our boy's grandfather was none other than King Oscar II of Sweden. Big name, big expectations to have to live up to, but Folke did his best, and managed to make it to hero status. Which I am sure will be a consolation to his surviving family members. After attending school in Stockholm, Bernadotte joined the military and was commissioned a cavalry lieutenant in 1918. He got himself a little American wife in 1928, and starting making babies. In 1943 he was appointed to be vice chairman of the Swedish Red Cross. It was in this post that he performed the feat that landed him on my hero list. After the death of Adolph Hitler, Bernadotte began negotiations with Himmler for the release of thousands of Danish and Norwegian POW's from concentration camps in Germany. This was the famous "White Buses" mission, named for the buses used to transport POW's that were painted entirely white except for a red cross on the side. This was done to make absolutely sure that no one could mistake the buses for a military target. It was estimated that Bernadotte's mission saved around 31,000 people from the concentration camps including between 6,5000 and 11,000 Jews (the irony of this will become clear later). After the end of World War II, he was appointed the first ever official UN mediator. His task was to meditate the violence that had broken out in Palestine between Jewish and Arab factions. His attempt to settle the disputes between the groups was not successful, and he was criticized by Jewish groups for being insensitive to the loss of Jewish settlers lives. Not stopping at criticism, Jewish terrorists (yes there was such a thing, no need to avoid calling a spade a fucking spade), assassinated Bernadotte on September 17th, 1948. There is your irony for you, a man who had saved thousands of Jewish lives during World War II at great risk to himself and members of his organization was gunned down by members of the Zionists group Lehi. This group's reasoning for killing Bernadotte is as big a pile of shit as you will ever want to see, and smacks of such hypocrisy that it makes you want to puke. The murder was condemned by the United Nations, and rightfully so, it making very little sense to, in cold blood, kill the man sent to try and help bring you peace. I am no Jew hater by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to wonder if perhaps because his killers were Zionists rather than Arabs if this little incident has went down much more quietly in history than it should have. No one was ever charged with the killing, and relations were a bit frosty for a while between Sweden and Israel. Israel did try to smooth things over by planting a forest in Bernadotte's name, and at a ceremony in 1995 issued a statement expressing regret at his murder in a terrorist way. Big deal, a few fucking trees, and a regret about the manner of his death. Tell that shit story to his widow and fourteen year old son. Either way for standing up and doing the right thing, and for saving all those thousands of lives (even the Jewish ones), Count Folke Bernadotte (January 2nd, 1895- September 17th 1948, at the age of 53), you are my hero of the day.

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