“Life Becomes Merrier”

Among the heavenly trouble-makers vying for the chance to make the Long Count End of the World a reality is the asteroid Toutatis.  Toutatis is not your typical asteroid with a predictable orbit and rotation.  Tout is just sort of tumbling around out there.  NASA says that while it’s potentially hazardous, there’s no direct danger to Earth.  First of all, the Earth’s and the Sun’s gravity are keeping it somewhat in check.  Secondly, the Moon is between the Earth and Tout; if Tout did something unpredictable, it’s the Moon that would take the hit, not our planet.

What’s interesting about Tout is that it was first observed by astronomers on Feb. 10, 1934.  Three notable events were recorded for that day:

    • “Byrd souvenir sheet issued, NYC; first unperforated, ungummed U.S. stamp”
    • “Stalin ends the 17th CPSU-Congress session, saying, ‘Life becomes merrier’”
    • “The first Jewish immigrant ship breaks the English blockade in Palestine”

The significance of the Byrd souvenir sheet, unperforated and ungummed, was that the stamps could be saved and collected undamaged.  They were not meant to be used except by collectors.  With the advent of e-mail, all stamps could eventually become “collector’s items.”

Stalin’s Santa Claus-like proclamation, “Life becomes merrier” came about because this particular Congress was nicknamed “The Congress of the Victors” due to the economic successes of the First Five-Year Plant.  It was also the last clandestine revolt against Stalin from within party ranks.  The main concerns of the First Five-Year Plan focused on making the nation militarily, industrially, and financially self-sufficient. Launched by the Soviet government in 1928 and administered by the Gosplan (State Planning Committee), the First Five-Year Plan employed tactics such as keeping detailed records on every item manufactured in the nation and shipping it to where it needed to go at the right time as well as other procedures of efficiency.

A likely motivator to the inception of the First Five-Year Plan lies in Stalin’s basis of stabilizing the Soviet Union domestically through military and infrastructure in order to be prepared to fight (ideologically or physically) capitalism rather than directly finance and support an international socialist revolution (as advocated by Stalin’s predecessor, Vladmir Lenin). The Soviet Union’s support of an international socialist revolution could have further crippled the still weak Soviet economy and/or stretched resources so thin that capitalists, or other “undesirable” counter-revolutionaries, could have overthrown the Soviet Union from within.

Then there was the first Jewish immigrant ship to break the English blockade in Palestine.  Who knew?  Now it’s Israel creating the blockades.  However, on Tout’s first sighting:

Aliyah Bet (the letter B, or “Bet” in Hebrew) was the code name given to illegal immigration by Jews to the British Mandate for Palestine in violation of the British White Paper of 1939 restrictions, in the years 1934-1948. In modern day Israel it has also been called by the Hebrew term Ha’apala; ascension). The Aliyah Bet is distinguished from the Aliyah Aleph (“Aliyah ‘A’,” being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet): the limited Jewish immigration permitted by British authorities in the same period.

During Ha’apala, several Jewish organizations worked together to facilitate immigration beyond the established quotas.  As persecution of Jews intensified in Europe during the Nazi era, the urgency driving the immigration also became more acute. Those who participated in the immigration efforts consistently refused to term it “illegal,” instead calling it “clandestine.”

Ha’apala occurred in two phases. First, from 1934 to 1942, it was an effort to enable European Jews to escape Nazi persecution and murder. From 1945 to 1948, in a stage known as Bricha, it was an effort to find homes for Jewish survivors of the Nazi crimes, who were among the millions of displaced persons (“DPs”) languishing in refugee camps in occupied Germany. During the first phase, several organizations (including Revisionists) led the effort; after World War II, the Mossad LeAliyah Bet (“The Institute for Aliyah B”), an arm of the Haganah took charge.

Over 100,000 people attempted to illegally (or clandestinely) enter Palestine. There were 142 voyages by 120 ships. Over half were stopped by the British patrols. The Royal Navy had eight ships on station in Palestine, and additional ships were tasked with tracking suspicious vessels heading for Palestine. Most of the intercepted immigrants were sent to internment camps in Cyprus: (Karaolos near Famagusta, Nicosia, Dhekelia, and Xylotumbou). Some were sent to the Atlit detention camp in Palestine, and some to Mauritius. The British held as many as 50,000 people in these camps). Over 1,600 drowned at sea. Only a few thousand actually entered Palestine.

The pivotal event in the Ha’apala program was the incident of the SS Exodus in 1947. The Exodus was intercepted, attacked, and boarded by the British patrol. Despite significant resistance from its passengers, Exodus was forcibly returned to Europe. Its passengers were eventually sent back to Germany. This was publicized, to the great embarrassment of the British government.

At this juncture in time, for Tout to be making a return visit (and some say Tout is cracking up) is very interesting given the situation in the Middle East, the unfortunate economic state of the U.S. Postal Service, and the re-election of Barackaclaus.  Life was not so merry for the millions who opposed Stalin’s totalitarianism.  If life was merry (for him), it was because he’d gotten them out of the way.  Germany’s economy improved under Hitler, too; but at a dreadful cost.

Tout is back and history appears to be repeating itself and life, we’re told will become merrier.

 

 

 

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Published in: on December 13, 2012 at 11:52 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

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