Why neutral doesn’t work.

Posted Friday, May 3rd, 2013. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

My boyfriend and I just came back from Lisbon,Portugal where we spent a week. I loved it – the history, the sites, the culture, the people, the food and the shopping. I guess you can tell I really enjoyed myself. I love travelling and embracing a city for all it has to offer. I also look at life this way.

We were actually there as part of a conference. We arrived a few days earlier to do our own touring and get acclimated to the time and culture. Our first day we had a tour guide take us to various sites in the city. He was very knowledgeable and shared so much history with us. I know that is his job but he really knew his history. Europe is centuries old with so much history not just for Portugal but intertwining with Spain, Germany, Egypt, Brazil, UK, and more.

While sharing Portugal’s history he said that Portugal remained neutral during the second world war. And then went on to say that Hitler and the dictator of Portugal, Antonia Salazar, made an agreement that Portugal would house part of Germany’s gold until it was needed, it housed heads of states from other parts of Europe that came to Lisbon and settled there to escape the war, and housed many spies both from both sides: the Allies and Axis. Hitler died and the gold remained in Portugal. Salazar was an “Oliarchiest”, dedicated to the protection and the best interest’s of the Countries & Empire’s Elite. He took the gold and built the famous 25th of April bridge, schools,and hospitals. I commend him for this as he did give it to the people and whether there was underlying motive or not the people did benefit.

So here is my question, if you house gold that was essentially stolen from those victimized by the war – for instance those who lost their families, livelihood and and possessions in the Holocaust – and you do not return to the rightful people after the war does that make you neutral? What if some of the gold was actually provided to Germany during the war or used as bribes, even though you are removed from the killings during the war – does that allow you to say you are neutral? Are you guilty by association – the fact that Hitler and Salazar had an agreement? Switzerland is another country that claims to be neutral during the war. I saw a great documentary that talked about how Switzerland allowed a substantial amount of gold to be shipped via Switzerland to needed German locations. The fact that the Swiss did not officially join sides or pick up guns yet aided and abeded the Germans by “fuelling” the war with gold that allowed the war to continue longer than could have – is there not responsibility?

If the gold was seized and not shipped to Germans then there would be no monetary way to pay for the war. War is expensive. If a country agrees to NOT house the gold or ship the gold then yes I believe they are neutral.

There are some that will argue that Portugal and Switzerland remained neutral. I am not here to argue. It really comes down to perception and how you view it. The Portuguese to this day believe and are taught that Portugal remained neutral during the war.

As I said it comes down to perception and this is true for all things in your life. As I told my son, there are times when neutral doesn’t work. You have to take a side or completely remove yourself. If he is standing in a group of boys and a few of the members are picking on or bullying another boy to me he is just as guilty as the boy doing the actual bullying. He is not stepping in to stop it, he is not getting help – he’s just letting it happen.

As our world is understanding more and more the importance of coming together,connecting and collaborating as one, we realize that to do so we must also recognize our differences. It may mean compromise, it may mean consensus or majority. It can never be one person or country’s way. I don’t think in this day and age neutral works.

Can we sit by and see women being raped and brutalized in other countries? Can we sit by and see children and families starving to death? Can we sit by and watch our environment be destroyed by countries who refuse to significantly reduce their carbon count?

Do we just stay neutral?

We must act to bring change through compromise and collaboration. What if Portugal and Switzerland took a different stand during WWII perhaps the war that killed so many people, wiping out families – for both sides – would have ended much sooner.

This is just some food for thought.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. And any time you think you are being “neutral” ask yourself, is this true?

All my love,

Sandra

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