Two articles have moved me today. In totally different ways and feelings. One was a story of a German fighter pilot who had refuelled his ME109E in the hectic and furious defense of his homeland in 1944 when all hell was let loose by the Allies from the air by bombers and lightening individual strikes by fast fighter-bombers. This particular German pilot took off, and was after just one more kill to receive an award for the number he had shot down - an Iron Cross - the highest honour given to German pilots. He was excited and raring to get back up there, as we can imagine. One lone Fortress had been badly shot-up, the tail gunner was dead, the mid-section turret shot to pieces. The nose had been blown off and so a two hundred mile- an- hour gale was filling the plane with freezing air. All members of the crew were hurt and scared. The pilot, Charlie Broiwn, in an effort to elude fighters and receive the coup d' etat, had cleverly rolled his craft and fell towards Earth to fool the fighters. He pulled up close to the ground and rose slightly to head for home. The B17 was badly damaged, certain hydraulic lines had gone and body parts shot away but he was coaxing it back filled with a desperate hope. Along came our German pilot who had spotted him pulling up. He approached the bomber, eager to start firing and get his medal in the bag, when he became aware that his target was badly beaten-up, an obvious corpse in the rear turret, the centre turret shattered, the pilot had blood on his face and was trying to cope alone. This German was, above all a man, a real man, not a sadist or ruthlessly selfish - he felt compassion for the men inside that limping plane - and so he escorted it towards the coast and then let it go. It made it back to England.
The other story was one from the Middle East, Yemen. Parties of Yemenis were trying to reach Saudi Arabia across the desert in search of work - anything - and raise families. Just like most if us do. They were intercepted near the Saudi border and arrested. Yemeni troops came and marched them to a 'terror camp' within Yemeni territory. Once there they were beaten, kicked senseless, burned with cigarettes and tortured. The females were raped, men were blinded and many were crippled permanently. Thuis was not one isolated case, this has been an ongoing proceedure for some time now.It is a crude and vicious scene which is too ugly to excuse.And so I had these two conflicting emotions flood my psyche - A total respect and almost a love for that noble pilot, and a sick hatred for those scumbags of the Yemen, assisted by the Saudi soldiers and customs men.
What a crazy world we live in. What a wild and uncontrollable differential in human values which can never be put right. Maybe one day genetic engineering will be forced opon the human race in order to improve the quality and reliability of people. Root out the garbage and cultivate the better traits. This extreme 'Big Brother technique will have to be introduced one day if this human world will survive, because we are heading for the daddy of doomsdays if things don't change.