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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Elitist Bosses, Conduit Leaders and Reborn Masters

Not just this government, but most governments, and certainly all Political Parties.

There's something of the notion of a small group of adults trying to reign in and direct a group of unruly children, i.e. the electorate.  The assumption in this, of course, is that they (the elected officials by virtue of their title, the partisans by virtue of their beliefs, the political operators by way of their unquestioned sense of superiority) are better than us (everyone else).

This is where the true problem lies.  The superior that feels they have nothing to learn is doomed to fail; bosses aren't leaders and top-down management places pressure on the base while hollowing out the pinnacle.  Collapse, either partial or complete, is inevitable.

Leaders don't assume they have the answers; they have vision and direction and serve to mobilize and empower.  Leaders act as prisms, harnessing the best of everything the people bring to the table and channeling it into unified action.  There are few, if any, true leaders on our political landscape.

But then there are the Masters.  These come along once in a generation, tapping into a vein of universal, accumulated understanding that best reflects the "public wisdom" Preston Manning sought. 
The secret they uncover is not a public wisdom but a social, natural syncopation that penetrates and informs all life and interaction that surrounds us, penetrating us, binding us all together.
These Masters don't talk, they act - and are often seen as tricksters for this.  In truth though, experience the world through eyes reborn with wonder.  They become the world itself.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Return of the Cold War, but it's Getting Warmer

Make no mistake - this is political posturing, a show of force that's intended to send a message to Putin: we mean business, so think what you do next carefully.

Over the weekend I was in East Germany for services commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp where Ukranians, Poles, Jews, Russians and countless others were executed together.

At one point I got to have a long conversation with an acquaintance who is Russian.  I grilled him hard on homophobia, but focused primarily on the Ukraine.

The fellow's take was this: it's NATO, not Russia, that's escalating the problem.  By moving into more countries, they are moving closer and closer to Russia.  By placing American missiles and bases on Russia's doorstep, it's the West threatening expansion, not Russia.  Russia is simply looking to defend itself and Putin has played a well-constructed tactical game.

I deconstructed my friend's analysis and pointed out that the West wasn't interested in expansion, unless it's of markets.  There's no economic value in a war on Russia any more than there is public appetite to enter into another costly war.  

Through empathy, query and provision of alternatives, I got my friend to question the official story he'd been spouting, which was a positive sign.  For my part, I gained some perspective on the other side of the wall, which was helpful.

All of that was before this happened.

Jews being forced to register in the Ukraine?  There's frightening precedent for where this trend leads.

This is where we get into really dangerous territory.  It's bad enough that Ukraine's turning into an ethnic powder-keg and the rest of Europe is ripe to catch fire - there are many more relationships to take into account here. 

Israel will have clear interest in protecting Jews in the Ukraine and elsewhere, and for good cause.  It's allies in NATO are already positioning themselves against Russia, who is allied with Iran, who would is not a friend of Israel's.

What's this all mean?

It means that our leaders damned well better get their heads out of their partisan-positioning asses and realize that play time is over.  The decisions they make now are going to have significant long-term consequences, some of which could lead to World War III.

Call me an exaggerator if you must.  That's what they said about Churchill.  I'd rather speak up now and be derided later than sit silent now and regret it when it's too late.

Which, if we continue down this path, it will be soon enough.

Chilling - We ARE Repeating History

This is where it starts.  No, that's not fair - it's been brewing for some time.  Economic challenges, political shenanigans and stagnant attitudes have fueled resentment in Europe which itself has allowed for the growing creep of nationalist populism.

Left unchecked, we know where this ends.

I hate to think my sons may have no choice but to refight the battles of my grandfather's generation.  But if that's what it takes, that's what we'll do.

Makes sense, but as the article says, there's nothing new in this.  So why are we seeing so much of the reverse - more centralized power, less communication more dictating rather than communicating?

Because our system isn't designed to benefit everyone in the end.  It's designed to support the aggressive sellers at the top and keep everyone else out of harm's way.

That's why it's failing.

You Tell 'em, @acoyne!

There are more than a few examples out there of backroom political people doing, you know, politics - manipulating people, data and money to get the results they want.  When caught in misdeeds, they deny, deflect or attack.

Even the ones who said there was a line they would not cross.

When it becomes solely about winning, everything else gets stripped away in the functionally-fixed race to victory.  What happens when you don't look where you're going?

There's no one political party at fault here, so let's not play that game; it's divisive, energy-consuming and time-wasting.  The problem is structural and cultural and the solution will only arrive when people recognize that we can only re-balance the system if we work together.

Which is antithetical to how our politics is working.

And that's just criminal.

Can You Vaccinate Against Fear?

There's a fascinating psychology behind this.  Yes, it's true that Big Pharma is interested in making money and yes, it is in their interest to have more of their product bought.

It's also true that incidences of fatalities from communicable diseases like measles, mumps and rubella have gone down thanks to the introduction of inoculations.  In fact, the increase in healthcare, social infrastructure and social services demonstrably improves quality of life across the board.  

There have been complaints, however, about inoculations causing autism.  This has been refuted; there has also been evidence that an increase in autism diagnoses has nothing to do with vaccination changes, but diagnosis changes.  Recently Aspergers was rolled up into the Autism spectrum, giving a whole group of people a new label.

It doesn't matter how much evidence is brought forward against this complaint, however, because all this evidence is trying to solve the wrong problem.  The issue was never specifically that inoculations cause autism, but that some people were fundamentally uncomfortable with the concept of inoculation itself.  Irrifutably demonstrate that there is no causal correlation between autism and inoculation and you'll still have doubters; others will simply find another straw illness to tilt at.

The problem isn't the risk - it's the fear of risk.  It's the same with wind farms - having recently come back from Germany, I met and talked with a number of youth who grew up next to wind farms and are no physically worse off than someone who grew up next to a subway, or a freeway, or a road, period.  

In the past, each of these innovations and environmental changes have provoked fear and, in each case, those fears have been associated with health risks.  

In truth, people are right in all cases, not just in the way they think they are; the health issue is not one of what we traditionally identify as physical illness, but one of anxiety.  All these things are out of the individual's control and change the individual's physical and mental landscape.  Change is an uncomfortable process that we are inclined to fear, because on some level, we're not sure if we are able to adapt.  

Therefore, we resist.

Phobias are most often irrational; fear of open spaces, fear of spiders whether they're harmful of not, fear of gay people, of black people, fear of all kinds of things that aren't actual threats.  Phobias are like allergies - overreactions to physical stiumlus that really aren't trying to hurt us.

This doesn't make them any less real or crippling - as is the case with any mental illness, phobia can get in the way of normal individual functioning and social cohesion.

Which takes us back to vaccinations - a densely packed society like ours can't function without vaccinations.  That's a ticket to plague, exacerbated by a lack of coordinated (and enforced) social rules around cleanliness, transit, dispute resolution, etc.  We aren't physically designed to live in such crowded environments; society can't function without collaboration and a certain amount of central coordination.  That's why we invented government.

What does being anti-vaccine have to do with being pro-gun?  The gun industry is massively wealthy and spends a large amount of coin promoting gun culture, why aren't they traditionally lumped in with Big Pharma?

It's because a gun in the hand is, theoretically, about giving you power over others.  A vaccine, however, is about defending your immune system as well as that of your neighbours'.  A gun is aggressive, reactive and individual; a vaccine is strategic, passive and collective.

By and large people are reactive and individual; what pushes us to be aggressive, is we're not sales-oriented hunters, is a response to fear.

This is why the politics of fear is so widely practiced and why it allows for otherwise sane people to do pretty insane things.  It's not logical, it's emotional - when you appeal to emotions first, an individual can find all sorts of ways to validate their opinion, including through the use of micro-targeted arguments and full-on attacks.

Sadly, we're seeing an increased use of fear, isolation and idolatry in our political systems these days, catalyzing a solidifying oppositional movement.  Hate, we're told, is a purifying force - and hate is on the rise.  This is not a good thing.  There's precedent and current examples of where hate leads us.

Fear and hatred aren't the solution - they catalyze immediate, reactive action against something, but to the detriment of broader social sustainability.  If you're not killing your opponent off, you have to live with them, something hate and fear don't allow.

Hate is a purifying force, after all - it allows for no diversity, no debate.  Like fear, hate is a mind-killer.

Society is at a tipping point with a new revolution required to help us break through to a more sustainable model.  As the old system fractures, people are becoming increasingly anxious, a fact being exploited by populists doing far more long-term harm than they probably care to realize.  We are looking for names to blame for our anxiety, subconsciously trying to isolate ourselves from an increasingly invasive world.  

This isolation from the global picture and rejection of everything from inoculations to fluoride in the water to social services to immigration aren't the fire-walling solution, they're part of the structural problem.

So, what do we do?  How do address the deep-rooted reality of strong, reactive emotions like fear and hate?

There's a fascinating article on the rational choices of crack addicts that offers an interesting window into the nature of behaviour; it throws the assumption that an addict is an addict by demonstrating how crack addicts, removed from negative environments, can make more rational, sustainable choices.

This suggests that even the most negative of behaviours can change, which we should already know.  It also implies that perception isn't as functionally fixed as we like to think it is.

I recently met a 90 year-old Holocaust survivor who tells an amazing story about laughing in the face of an SS firing squad.  Chat Bowen made them deeply uncomfortable - it didn't matter that they were in complete control of the situation, they had no ability to influence Chat.  He had no fear, no anger; he simply accepted that death had arrived and their was no point fretting it.

For 70 years, Chat has lived his life with an acceptance of death and a rejection of fear and hatred. He's healthy, happy and deeply in love with his wife, his life, and at peace with the world.

The lesson here is that, even under the worst conditions imaginable, it's possible to control one's responses to external stimulus with the right perspective.  This is incredibly difficult and, like running a marathon, not an option for everyone, but it's still one option on the table.

It's important not to make the mistake of assuming fear is not real and merely a product of the thoughts you create - that's not the case.  Fear is an emotion; it precedes and informs thought, just as hatred, hopefulness and love do.

Like all emotions - like most physical processes, really - fear can be controlled.  People with anxiety disorders control fear through the use of medications and practices like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  Activities like yoga or simple breathing exercises also help to re-balance a body's neurochemistry (out with the bad, in with the good, oxygenate the blood).

The growing field of Positive Psychology as well as fields like Social Emotional Learning and Self Regulation are increasingly looking at fear, depression, hatred, excitement and all of our emotions as things that can be regulated.  

These regulatory processes are being introduced to our school systems, empowering our youth with the ability to recognize and up/down regulate their emotions as necessary.  Encouraged in this process is critical thinking; the ability to look beyond one's own emotions and view a situation, a person or an object in a more objective capacity (something that, despite what Ayn Rand may have thought, doesn't just happen naturally).

As with any exercise, the more you do it, the stronger you become.  Athletes train, writers write, innovators never stop iterating.  When it comes to emotional regulation, practice is a constant but the result is an increasing amount of conscious awareness and control of both one's own emotional state, but of those around you as well. 

It's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Problem Definition and Political Ice Cream



This has been readily identified as a key problem within our bureaucracies, political parties and how our very democracy functions.

But are we identifying the right problems?  Or are we viewing everything as a nail because the only thing we know how to do is hammer on our own interests?

Leaders don't tell people what the problem is and how to fix it; they bring them together to properly identify the problem and design a sustainable solution.

It's a forward, together kind of thing.

The Poem I Read at the KLB Plaque Unveiling (Reflection by William Walderam)

I've had some asks for the poem I read at the unveiling of the plaque commemorating The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald.  In truth, I was asked by Mike Dorsey if I'd read it just before the event started and was handed a paper copy of the poem right then.  That copy went to a German journalist, but I've found the text online here:


By Willie Walderam, Royal Canadian Air Force, KLB 78402

I'll think of you dear KLB
Again some future day,
When the world is gay and free
And I am so far away.

Of those long appells in pouring rain
With neither boots nor shoes,
And the SS guards who counted us
Hitting whom they choose.

When I bounce my children on my knee,
I'll think of the Gypsy kids,
Who, instead of wearing ball and chain,
Should have been wearing bibs.

When I Lay in my cosy bed at night
I'll think of your hard boards,
With a single blanker to cover us,
And flees and lice in hordes.

Ironically, I'll think of how
You took our dog-tags from us, 
'Nix soldat-civil' you said,
Smiling fanatically at us.

Yes, you gave us soup and enough black bread
To etch out a mere existence,
Enough to keep us wanting more
And weaken our resistance

How two of our number lost their lives
For lack of medical aid;
You wouldn't even give them food
To help save them from the grave

And then: after eight weeks spent in your filthy soul,
Which seemed to me like years,
The Luftwaffe came, took us away,
I felt like shedding tears

And so to all you Konzentrators,

A toast I offer thee:

Here's wishing you a happy life,
And to Hell with KLB

I have no picture of me delivering the speech, which is fine - it's about them.

Political Sales is Still Sales

Your donation can make the difference and you could be the lucky donor to get a call from Justin. Please click the link below and give $3.

Let's do this for Justin -- and for Canada.

On a flight home recently, I watched 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street back-to-back.  It was an interesting experience.  You could look at them as different ends of the same spectrum, really; one one end, a dehumanized man nearly looses himself as he becomes a pawn in a money game by messed-up wealthy folk; in the other, a wealthy man becomes enslaved by drugs and money, losing himself at the same time as he dehumanizes the others he manipulates.

Sales is about profit - getting more money.  You can save the spotted owl if you have enough money.  

Politics is about power - getting more influence.  You can save the spotted owl if you have enough political power - but to get that takes money.

Sales is catalyzing behaviour - convincing people to give you something - their money, their vote - with some kind of exchange being implied.  But it's the convincing part that matters most.  That's why both sales and politics attracts such aggressive, combative personalities.  They don't care what they're selling so much as that they are winning.

To make a sale you need to catalyze a choice.  You want your mark to strip away everything else that's in their thought frame and feel a sense of comfort with you and urgency not to lose the opportunity before them.  In politics, added this mix is a great deal of negative influencers like "if you don't donate/vote, the bad guys will make rainbows and sunshine illegal."

It's a lot easier to sell a person - a brand - than it is to sell an idea.  It's far harder to try and build a relationship.

Whatever Party you're getting an email from, expand beyond the message you're meant to focus on and think about the context and intent being conveyed.

In this case - your donation will change the world and by donating, you'll get to talk with the one person who will make that happen.  Canada gets mentioned after.

It's good sales - create demand, imply competition and the potential for exclusivity.  What it isn't, though, is good community-building.

Leaders don't dictate from the top - they lead from the front.  

By the same token, communities must be build collaboratively, beginning neither at the top nor at the bottom, but from the centre, from common ground.

To many "leaders" are missing this right now.

69th anniversary of the liberation

Verbal contributions of the events on 11 and 13 April 2014 in the Buchenwald Memorial

Friday, April 11 , 15.15 clock

Tour of the commemoration of historical places in the former prison camp, beginning on the former appeal court

Address: Katrin Göring-Eckardt
Group Chairman of Alliance 90/The Greens in the German Bundestag
Address: Éva Pusztai
Jewish survivors of the concentration camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald

Sunday, April 13, 13.30 clock

Central commemoration of the International Committee of Buchenwald-Dora and commands (IKBD) on the former appeal court

Welcome: Bertrand Herz
President of the International Committee of Buchenwald-Dora and commands
Address: Floreal Barrier
Chairman of the Advisory Board survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp at Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora
Ed Carter-Edwards
as a member of the Canadian Air Force prisoner in Buchenwald concentration camp
Elling Kvamme
former Norwegian inmate of the Buchenwald concentration camp

More Pics from Buchenwald

Comfort: Bertrand Herz, President of the International Committee of Buchenwald-Dora and Sub-Camps, left, with Nazi concentration camp survivor Ed Carter-Edwards, who travelled to the service from Canada. Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and the homeless were sent to the camps, among many others
Comfort: Bertrand Herz, President of the International Committee of Buchenwald-Dora and Sub-Camps, left, with Nazi concentration camp survivor Ed Carter-Edwards, who travelled to the service from Canada. Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals and the homeless were sent to the camps, among many others 

Emotion: The prisoners at Mittelbau-Dora and its parent camp, Buchenwald, were forced to make German munitions for the war in terrible conditions
Emotion: The prisoners at Mittelbau-Dora and its parent camp, Buchenwald, were forced to make German munitions for the war in terrible conditions

Former Nazi concentration camp survivor Boleslaw Pieniazkiewicz of Poland mourns behind the memorial

Horror: Nazi concentration camp survivor Chasten Bowen and his wife Jeanie Bowen travelled from California. Here they examine the ovens where bodies were burned

Horror: Nazi concentration camp survivor Chasten Bowen and his wife Jeanie Bowen travelled from California. Here they examine the ovens where bodies were burned - 

See more at:

The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald: We'll Meet Again

Grandpa Ed singing We'll Meet Again as we closed the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 169 Allied Airmen that endured Buchenwald.

Here are the four surviving Airmen that made it to the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald:

Left to right:

Chasten "Chat" Bowen, Anaheim, CA, B-17 aircrew
Richard "Dick" Bedford, P-47 Thunderbolt pilot
Donald Shearer, B-26 crew
Ed Carter-Edwards, Halifax WAG (427)

Hope we all meet again next year, gents.  Honoured to have spent the weekend with you - you truly are inspiring.

Pushing Daisies in Partisan Politics: WWJD?

Chasten Bowen of Anaheim, a former U.S. flier who was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp after his bomber was shot down over France during World War II, would be eligible for reparations in a deal being negotiated by France's national railroad and the U.S. State Department, but says he does not need them.

Over the past week I was in Germany, commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp with survivors, their family and various state officials.  Among the group was Chat Bowen, a former World War II pilot in the US Airforce who is one of The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald.

Chat tells a great tale of this one time when he was separated from his fellows in Buchenwald by the SS and placed before a firing squad.  The SS figured the 168 Allied Airmen they'd thrown into the Camp against the conditions of the Geneva Convention would have valuable insight to help them turn around a war that increasingly wasn't going in their favour.

You have to have met Chat to really understand what comes next but let me assure you, I believe the story exactly as Chat relays it.

According to Chat, his first comment was "what, it takes 20 of you for just little old me?"

The SS shouted at him stamped their feet and shouted their questions, threatening to shoot him at any second.  The more they aggressively pushed him, the more he found himself laughing.

"I found this complete calm come over me," Chat said in conversation over the weekend. "I flat-lined, I figured I was already dead.  So I said to them 'Go ahead - I know where I'm going and I know where you're going, and you've got a long road ahead of ya.'"

Chat is a practicing Christian who believes the Bible as literal truth.  I disagree with him on that, but you simply cannot argue with the philosophy he has developed concerning life.

So long as he's on the right side of the green grass, he says, there's not much that can upset him.  Cribbing the Dalai Lama he likes to say "if you've got a problem, solve it, and if you can't solve it then how's it a problem?"

Chat defeated the SS who lined him up for execution that day.  They smacked him and sent him back to the others, but he survived.  Even if they had killed him, the seed he planted that day would have come back to haunt them.  

He has continued in the same vane since that day, sharing his story and the lessons it tells, encouraging others to laugh, remember what truly matters and enjoy every minute that you're "vertical and on the green side of the grass."  He has a great deal to say against hate, too.  Hate, he says, is such a waste of energy.  It makes you sick.  He cannot do that to himself, much less to others.  He laughs instead.

None of what we see in modern politics is anywhere near as bad as what the Nazis did - but it's getting worse.  We've always used attacks, but they're becoming more deeply personal.  Hate, political advisers will tell us, is a purifying force.

Partisans are increasingly carving the population into ethnic blocks and targeting them for specific purposes.  All Parties are focusing on propaganda under the term of "attack ads."  

They're all portraying their leaders as the only one who can save everyone else from, well, each other.  Divide and conquer, etc.

It's almost like they don't know how to do anything else.  So engrossed in the game they have become that they are blind to any other alternative.

More than a few partisans on either side of the divide are practicing Christians yet, when it comes to politics, seem more willing to act like Caiaphas.  Instead of seeking to heal troubles within our faltering, power-centric political system, they would fight against anyone who seeks to break the silos that have fed them well for so long.

Why?  What's their end goal?  Is it absolute power?  To what end?

Stephen Harper and many of his Cabinet wolves are practicing Christians that supposedly believe the tenets of their faith - one that, notably, has this fella called Christ at its centre.

Would Jesus Christ have supported the Fair Elections Act?  Would he be as focused on throwing disenfranchised Canadians into the deep end and see how they swim on their own?  Would he have been proactively seeking ways to belittle his opponents so as to force them to cooperate with him world view?  Would he have been pushing the masses to put coin into his PR machine to fight back with more ads?

Where would Jesus have placed himself if he'd been in Buchenwald with Chat - with the SS, or in the line of fire?

Too many of our Political People have lost their faith and don't even realize it.  The cognitive dissonance must be terrible, given the amount of self-serving confabulation they put out.

Spin it as they may, though, the truth would be thus - if Jesus were around today, it would be them he'd be standing against.

It's time these political people stop asking whose on their side now and spend some time thinking about whose side they'll be on when they're horizontal on the brown side of the grass.

Monday 14 April 2014

This Isn't Leadership


Toronto's had enough politics of division of late. 

I would hope someone who aspires to lead a City can do better than mount a petty attack.  I seriously hope we don't see more of this kind of thing in the future; I know she has some better angels at her shoulder.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Commemorating the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald

This afternoon at 1:30 German time, we will be commemorating the liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.  Present will be politicians of various levels, a ton of international media, tourists, guests and of course, survivors. 

There are fewer and fewer of them every year.  The eldest is a gregarious gentleman from Norway, 95 years young. 

Among the group are three of the 168 Allied Airmen who were shot down over France, connected with the French resistance, were betrayed to the Gestapo by a collaborator and sent to Buchenwald.

These three gentlemen will be unveiling a plaque commemorating the experience of these 168 Allied Airmen.  While the main ceremony will see representation from the EU and local representatives of the various nations whose nationals were held in Buchenwald, I don't imagine we'll see anyone from the Canadian, American, British, Australian or New Zealand embassies.  Which is sad.

Here, though, you can read at least my grandfather's remarks.  I will try to post more content and photos when I can.


KLB/Allied Airmen Plaque

13 April 2014 (Buchenwald)

Today, April 13th of 2014 (lucky 13) we are witnessing the second miracle that the Allied Airmen who were incarcerated in Buchenwald have experienced.

The first miracle was our timely removal from Buchenwald by the German Airforce. 168 of us had been shot down over France and betrayed to the Gestapo by a Belgian collaborator in the French Resistance. Stripped of our dog tags and labelled as spies and saboteurs, we were first sent to Fresnes prison and eventually, Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
As horrific an experience as this was, we knew we were The Lucky Ones - many of our friends spent years in this awful camp. Everyone who endured and survived Buchenwald carries deep scars from the experience.

We Lost Airmen of Buchenwald were forced to endure a second wave of torture.
For 70 long years we tried to tell our stories and share our experiences with our militaries and governments, but no one would listen.

Friends and strangers alike doubted our experiences. Our politicians weren't interested and historians felt they already knew the whole story of Buchenwald - and we weren't in it.

Fortunately we Airmen have friends who know that the story of the Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, as non-Europeans who faced the same horrors as they did, matters.

This brings us to our second miracle.

After 70 years fighting for recognition, we finally have our chapter of the Buchenwald Story recorded officially with this commemorative plaque.

The Buchenwald song says: "how can I forget you, when you shall be my fate" - this plaque now permanently etches our story into the history of this place, tying our fates together.

This plaque would not have been possible without the commitment, passion and compassion of our friend and documentary film-maker Mike Dorsey.

I first met Mike at the Elephant Hotel in 2010, he was making a film about us, The Lost Airmen of Buchenwald. He and I got to talking.

When Mike heard about the personal devestation we felt from being told to repress our experiences by our own government, he said "that´s not right."

He felt, as we do, that our experiences matter, that they hold lessons for future generations.

Mike Dorsey spearheaded a campaign to raise funds and support for this plaque, and worked closely with the Memorial to make today's unveiling happen.

While this plaque is the realization of our second miracle, there is still work to be done.

We have made our governments hear our story and have partnered with friends with the Memorial and the IKBD to preserve that story, but there is a third miracle still to be achieved.

By each of us survivors telling and sharing our stories at these commemorations, at school visits and with plaques and interviews, we are ensuring the horrors and lessons of Buchenwald are passed on to the next generation.

Hopefully, today's youth will take these lessons to heart so that our past doesn't become their future.

That would be our third miracle - a future where there are no Concentration Camps, no genocides and no war except in stories like ours.

Looking at the world today, it's clear we have a long way to go.

We should not and cannot lose hope - if today teaches us anything, let it be that miracles are possible.

Thank you.