The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] !OT !IT! - "For whom the bell tolls"

>is 'Stammler'; so that would fit. But how did they
>come to adopt as a family name what was in fact
>a derision?

I don't know; I repeated, in my post, all I was told.

>You mean it's still in the collective family memory?
>Or did they have hard time in America as well?

I think they must have, but for a different reason. My great grandfather
was a master wood carver who came to the US shortly before 1900. My
grandfather was born in Germany, and went back there to study chemistry.
Nothing was said on the subject about that time in the family, but a
neighbor told me of remembering a lot of persecution during WW I of those
deemed as "pro-German". Neither did my grandfather ever speak of WW II,
although he did refer to someone he had known as a "damned Nazi".

One branch of the family was Jewish, and I heard stories by one lady how
she and her mother had "passed" during the Nazi regime in Germany, and
what a scary time it was for her. I did hear some about the blacklist and
McCarthy from my parents (my father was in radio then), but mostly in

In general, history (other than names and dates) seems to be a
non-subject in the US -- at least in the suburbs of NJ where I grew up --
both in families and schools. I wonder if this is not more an American
(and immigrant) attitude than elsewhere: leave the past in the past and
forget the "old world". Although, there was one well-loved old immigrant
in the Scouts who told war stories, -- engaging the enemy, the terrors of
war, the hardships -- around the campfire, which fascinated the boys:
then what a shock when he pulled out an ancient photo of his unit -- in
the uniforms of the Kaiser.

Perhaps much of the trouble we have today is from the advent of
television, and the demise of families and neighbors telling traditional
stories and relating their memories. We lose contact with what is real,
and live in a "television world". We accept the stereotypes as portrayed
by the warlords and propagandists, and do not realize how *human* -- how
like *us* -- the "other" is.

And yet we also suffer from isolation, from living only with "our own
kind", with our own tribe -- whites or blacks, Palestinians or Israelis,
Americans or Iraqis, folks from cave number 4 or cave number 23. We see
cultures which emphasize differences and competition rather than
celebrate complementarity and cooperation: Yankees vs Dodgers, sports
teams from rival schools or nations, the advertising department vs the
accounting department, Macy's vs Gimbals, middle class vs upper middle
class -- and, of course, our religion, culture, and language vs their's.

The much praised "Great American Melting Pot" is all wrong: someone once
said that the Canadian ideal was not a melting pot -- all identities lost
in a uniform goo -- but a mosaic. The "bell tolls" for lost tiles, each
an individual, with it's own history and identity, even while part of the
whole --  but this is a truth which the American culture has lost. The
American idea of "peace" seems not so much integrating differences, but
eliminating them.

The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit to sign up today!

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]