Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany

From the Library of Congress:

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the photograph taken in 1933 of a brown-skinned boy wearing a swastika in a schoolyard in Hamburg, Germany, does not begin to tell the story of the remarkable life of Hans J. Massaquoi. Mr. Massaquoi, former managing editor of Ebony magazine, has now told the story himself in his new book, Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany.

As he grew to adulthood, Mr. Massaquoi was barred from joining the German military, pursuing an education or a preparing for a professional career. Instead he became a machinist’s apprentice. After World War II, he immigrated to the United States on a student visa. Although not a citizen, he was ordered to report for military service because of a clerical error and served for two years as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborn Division during the Korean War. He subsequently took advantage of the GI bill and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, which paved the way for a nearly 40-year career at Ebony magazine.

Asked how he survived Hitler’s reign of terror, Mr. Massaquoi credits two factors. The fact that there were so few blacks in Germany at the time made them a low priority for mass extermination. Additionally, the rapid advance of the allied troops gave Hitler “more to worry about than Hans Massaquoi.”

Blasphemous Red Bull

An Italian priest, apparently jealous that Sudan has been hogging all of the blasphemy news, has taken on Red Bull (aka Satan’s Nectar) for their “blasphemous” advertisements:

ROME (Reuters) – An angry Italian priest has persuaded soft drinks company Red Bull to withdraw an advertisement setting its product in a nativity scene on the grounds it is disrespectful to Christianity.

Father Marco Damanti, from Sicily, wrote to the makers of the caffeinated energy drink denouncing their commercial as “a blasphemous act” and said on Monday he had received a prompt reply promising to remove it from Italian television.

The advert depicted four wise men, instead of three, visiting Mary and the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem. The fourth wise man bore a can of the soft drink.

“The image of the sacred family has been represented in a sacrilegious way,” Father Damanti told Corriere della Sera. “Whatever the ironic intentions of Red Bull, the advert pokes fun at the nativity, and at Christian sensitivity”.

The priest also objected to the company’s slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings”, said by angels in the animated advert.

(via Religious Freaks who has the video of the ‘evil i tells ya’ video.)

Necking: Plucked but unharmed

From Improbably Research:

The falcon is plucking its unfortunate prey – a common gull (Larus canus) – taking care of the neck first. Then a buzzard (Buteo buteo) shows up and chases-off the falcon, who leaves its prey behind. What follows is the remarkable revival of the gull. The brave bird gets up, stands fiercely on its feet and looks unharmed, … except for some missing feathers.

Banksy in Bethlehem

From the Times Online:

With Christmas around the corner and tourists staying away, Bethlehem has turned to an unlikely source to help to revive its suffering economy: graffiti.

The “guerrilla artist” Banksy has helped to transform the security barrier that surrounds the town with more than a dozen satirical images painted, plastered and sprayed on to the 8m-high (26ft) concrete. The work winds a trail to the heart of the city at Manger Square, where more than a dozen pieces are housed directly across from the Church of the Nativity.

Banksy’s work, in his trademark stencil style, takes ironic jabs at life in the West Bank. In one, a young girl in a pink dress searches a soldier for weapons. In another a dove carrying an olive branch is outfitted with a bullet-proof vest while a sniper aims at the bird’s chest.

The seasonal exhibition, entitled Santa’s Ghetto, began life six years ago as an “anarchic concept gallery” above an East End pub, and has become a London institution. By taking the idea to the West Bank, the artist hoped to shine a light on the plight of Bethlehem. Less than three weeks before Christmas, its shops remain boarded up. Since construction of the security barrier began in 2002 tourism has plummeted. Officials estimate that more than half of the city’s population does not have a job.

More pics here.