Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Did Hitler Have a Secret Son? Evidence Supports Alleged Son’s Claims

Until his death in 1985, Jean-Marie Loret believed that he was the only son of Adolf Hitler. There is now renewed attention to evidence from France and Germany that apparently lends some credence to his claim.

Loret collected information from two studies; one conducted by the University of Heidelberg in 1981 and another conducted by a handwriting analyst that showed Loret’s blood type and handwriting, respectively, were similar to the Nazi Germany dictator who died childless in 1945 at age 56.

The evidence is inconclusive but Loret’s story itself was riveting enough to warrant some investigation.  The French newspaper Le Pointe published an account last week of Loret’s  story, as he told Parisian lawyer Francois Gibault in 1979.

Le Pointe retells Gibault’s reaction to Loret’s claim:

“Master, I am the son of Hitler! Tell me what I should do,” Gibault told Le Pointe.

According to Le Pointe, the “Paris lawyer, does not believe his ears. The man before him is rather large, speaks perfect French without an accent, and is not a crackpot. His inspiring story is no less true.”

Loret claimed that his mother, Lobojoie Charlotte, met Hitler in 1914, when he was a corporal in the German army and she was 16. She described Hitler as “attentive and friendly.” She and Hitler would take walks in the countryside, although conversation often was complicated by their language barrier. Yet, despite their differences, after an inebriated night in June 1917, little Jean-Marie was born in March 1918, according to Loret.

Neither Loret nor the rest of his mother’s family knew of the circumstances of his birth until the early 1950s when she confessed to her son that Hitler was his father. She had given her only son up for adoption in 1930 but stayed in touch with him, according to Loret.

After this realization, according to LePointe, Loret began his journey to find out if the story was true, researching with a near-manic determination. He enlisted geneticists, handwriting experts and historians. He wrote a book, “Your Father’s Name Was Hitler,” that details that journey. It will now be republished to include the new studies that Loret believed confirmed his claim.


Bhasha, language… What would our lives be without it!

“… My race began as the sea began,
with no nouns, and with no horizon,
with pebbles under my tongue,
with a different fix on the stars.

A sea-eagle screams from the rock,
and my race began like the osprey
with that cry,
that terrible vowel,
that I!”

- Derek Walcott, ‘Names’

Since time immemorial, mankind has spent days and nights perfecting itself, working around the baroque facet of itself called ‘language’. Be it the Tower of Babel which never reached completion or something as recent in the history of the world as Colonialism, something that emerges as the fulcrum of human life is nothing but language.

The definition of a very person begins with language; we are born into it, grow into it, with it, and at times tweak the contours of language in order to accommodate phenomena that know no definition. The flow of time has been able to erode a lot of language, and has added a lot more, transforming it into something ephemeral. A language is always in a state of flux, always dynamic.

So much of blood has been shed, so many lives has been lost. Wars have torn countries and families apart. There have been many reasons wars have been fought, but one cause that towers over perhaps every other reason – is the issue of language. We don’t exactly need to delve into the depths of history to discover examples, we can look around and see the way lives are still shattered and deformed by language-related wars. A case in point is the ongoing struggle in Sri Lanka. Another, which led to the formation of Bangladesh.

Conferred the title of ‘Bhasha Andolon Dibosh’ (Language Revolution Day/Language Movement Day), 21st February is a day that is writ in blood in the history of the contemporary world. Back in 1948, under the governance of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “Urdu, and only Urdu” was declared as the national language of Pakistan. However, only a minority of the Muslims in the then East Pakistan spoke Urdu. The rest were all Bengali-speaking people. Jinnah’s “Urdu only” policy permeated down to his successor, Governor-general Khwaja Nazimuddin, and subsequently resulted in the bone of contention in his rule.

Several incidents took place as a result of the imposition of Urdu as the state language, and several decisions were taken by the masses. The protests reached a climax on February 21, 1952, and strikes and rallies disrupted the functioning of the day, thereby compelling the Government to take note of the gravity of the entire scenario. A subsequent curfew was imposed upon the city of Dhaka on the day, and gathering of more than four people at a public place was banned. Inside the premises of the University of Dhaka, students grouped together, defying Section 144. Surrounded and threatened by the police, the students held on to their ground. After rounds of firing tear-gas shells in warning, the police arrested students citing the reason of violation of Section 144. The police then opened fire, and ended up killing four unarmed students, the names of whom are now synonymous with the Language Revolution – Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abdul Barkat and Abdul Jabbar.

Dhaka, once the news of the killings broke out, resembled a battleground. Riots erupted all over the city and Dhaka was enshrouded by a pall. The blood that was shed on that day, wasn’t in vain. Rafiqul Islam, a present resident of Vancouver, Canada, made sure that he left no stone unturned in the process of providing a befitting tribute to the ones who’d lost their lives on that fateful day. He sent a letter to Kofi Annan, the then Secretary-General of the UNO, asking the latter to take necessary measures to preserve languages from extinction. The letter from Rafiqul Islam set off an avalanche of events, which culminated in UNESCO declaring in 1999, that February 21 every year to be observed as the International Mother Language Day.

Since then, the day is observed as one when awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity is promoted world over, multilingualism is encouraged, and languages on the verge of extinction are saved from being swallowed by oblivion. United Nations General Assembly formally recognised the observance of the same by declaring the year 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

The art of speaking, they say, is an art acclaimed over everything else. The vehicle of that art is language. A person’s identity is defined and described, and at times distorted by language. The myriad of words and phrases, the inexplicable mazes of grammar, the serpentine meanders of sentences, and the cosy recluses of poetry. Language is that which makes lives possible. For many, lives function without food and shelter, but seldom any without language.

Six decades down the line, language still reigns over every life as that which simply can never be done away with. Gallons of blood-shed later, language is still that which defines us and emerges over everything else. The inseparable, inexplicable phenomenon called ‘language’ is one that rules over everything else. Religion, sure, has made men wage many wars against each other, but the formation of Bangladesh is one where even that frenzy was overridden by language. Their race might have begun with ‘no nouns, or with no horizons’, but they made sure that their deaths were not glossed over by the flow of time. The revolution that the likes of Abdus Salam and Abdul Jabbar participated in, was one that altered the demographics of the world forever. That language can tower over everything else in life- their lives and deaths drove that fact home.

Teesta, Farakka top agenda in Mamata-Manmohan talks

The proposed Teesta water-sharing deal, broken sluice gates of Farakka barrage and agreement on enclaves exchange are expected to play high during Wednesday’s talks between Indian prime minister and Paschimbanga chief minister.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would like to know from Paschimbanga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about her government’s stance on the proposed Teesta water-sharing deal, our New Delhi correspondent reports quoting sources on Tuesday. 

Singh had suffered a diplomatic embarrassment over the issue during his visit to Dhaka in September last year when the deal could not be inked due to Mamata’s strident opposition citing possible adverse impact on the irrigation and drinking water needs of northern parts of Paschimbanga state through the river flows.

Manmohan has made it amply clear that his government was in favour of reaching a consensus on the Teesta treaty keeping in mind the concerns and interests of Paschimbanga and taking onboard the coalition partners of Congress on all major issues.

He however is expected to convey to Mamata that the Teesta treaty is important for forward movement in other key areas of interest like transit, road, rail and waterways connectivity, which would greatly benefit Paschimbanga.

A draft agreement on setting up a rail link connecting Howrah in Paschimbanga and Agartala in Tripura through Bangladesh is currently under consideration. This would considerably reduce travel time between the capitals of Paschimbanga and Tripura states. 

Mamata might convey that her government can firm up a stance on Teesta only after getting the report of the one-man commission set up by her, particularly on the issue of quantum of water to Bangladesh. 

The commission headed by leading hydrologist Kalyan Rudra was expected to submit its report in December last year but has sought more time to collect data on availability of water in Teesta. 

Eurozone ministers back 130bn-euro bailout for Greece

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a second bailout for Greece after marathon talks in Brussels.

Greece is to receive loans worth more than 130bn euros (£110bn; $170bn).

In return, Greece will undertake to slash its debt from 160% to 120.5% of GDP within eight years and accept a permanent EU economic monitoring mission.

The country needs the funds to avoid bankruptcy on 20 March, when maturing loans must be repaid.

The euro immediately rose on reports of the deal, which was announced early on Tuesday, after 13 hours of talks.

But a report by international experts obtained by Reuters news agency warned Greece would need more help if it was to meet its debt reduction target.

The confidential report was drawn up for the international "troika" set up to help Greece - drawn from the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission.

It warned Greece would remain "accident-prone" in coming years.
Under the deal hammered out in Brussels
  • Greece will undertake to reduce its debt to 120.5% of GDP by 2020
  • Private holders of Greek debt will take losses of 53.5% on the value of their bonds, with the real loss as much as 70%
  • Greece's economic management will be subjected to permanent monitoring by eurozone experts on the ground
  • Greece will amend its constitution to give priority to debt repayments over the funding of government services
  • Greece will set up a special account, managed separately from its main budget, that must always contain enough money to service its debts for the coming three months
The Greek parliament is expected to vote on the bailout on Wednesday.
'Significant efforts' 
The agreement was announced early on Tuesday by Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of the eurozone finance ministers group.

Mr Juncker said the "far-reaching" deal would lead to "a very significant debt reduction for Greece" and ensure its future within the eurozone.

He said the Eurogroup was "fully aware of the significant efforts already made by the Greek citizens".

In a statement, the Eurogroup said the new "comprehensive blueprint... hinges critically on its thorough implementation by Greece".

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, who also took part in the negotiations, said the deal "should give enough space for Greece to restore its competitiveness".

Speaking after the bailout was agreed, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said he was "very happy" with the outcome. 

"It's no exaggeration to say that today is a historic day for the Greek economy,'' he added.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Brussels says the agreement will mean deeper cuts in public spending than Greece has planned.
A first rescue package worth 110bn euros in 2010 was not enough to avert Greece's deepening crisis.

"The funds that are coming in are not staying in Greece, are not being invested in Greece, are not here to help the Greeks get out of this crisis," Constantine Michalos, president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the BBC.

"It's simply to repay the banks, so that they can retain their balance sheets on the profit side."
Anastasis Chrisopoulos, a 31-year-old Athens taxi driver, saw no reason to cheer the bailout.
"So what?" he told Reuters.

"Things will only get worse. We have reached a point where we're trying to figure out how to survive just the next day, let alone the next 10 days, the next month, the next year." 

Votes scheduled
German and Dutch legislators are also scheduled to vote on approval for the deal next week. Politicians in both countries have been critical of lending more money to Greece.

Successive rounds of austerity measures, demanded by Greece's international creditors, have failed to restore growth and have provoked clashes between protesters and police.

The Greek government fell last year after ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum on the eurozone rescue package.

He was replaced by Mr Papademos, an unelected technocrat who is expected to lead Greece until parliamentary elections in April. 

Measures passed by parliament last week set out 3.3bn euros' worth of cuts to salaries and pensions, and to health and defence spending - sparking a fresh series of protests.

Bangladesh can’t use excess water coming thru Farakka: official

Despite excess flow of water to Bangladesh through broken sluice gates of the Farakka Barrage, the additional water could not be utilised due to the absence of adequate water reservoir in the country.

An official of the Joint Rivers Commission told UNB on Tuesday that Bangladesh is receiving additional quantum of water due to the breach in two sluice gates of the Farakka Barrage, which has a total of 109 sluice gates.

JRC director Ahsan Ullah said Bangladesh is scheduled to receive around 40,000 cusecs of water at this time of the year under the Bangladesh-India Ganges Water Sharing Treaty. But due to the damaged sluice gates, the country is getting 15,000-16,000 cusecs of excess water.

He said if the proposed Ganges Barrage would have been in place the excess water could be reserved for use in the dry season (March-May).

Ahsan Ullah said the design of the proposed Ganges Barrage to be built at Pangsha in Rajbari district will be complete in July and tender for the construction of the barrage would be invited in December this year.

Meanwhile, Paschimbanga chief minister Mamata Banerjee has stepped up her campaign against the excess flow of water to Bangladesh and plans to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the matter.