Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?! (Part 3)

Here is the last third part of the story about surprises in life. It shows clearly where robbers were at that time.
Today they are in many countries. They can be in your country too.

PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

My wife and children were waiting for me.

They looked at the parcel in my hands and instruments and it was clear that they wanted to open parcels immediately and to find out what was in it.

However, I suggested that we needed to warm ourselves first. So we had a morning run and a good workout, then we ate hot breakfast. After it we were ready.

It took considerable efforts to open six parcels. Then we saw that there was a mixture of brown and white in all of them.

My wife cautiously took several white crystals and licked them. She said: “It’s sugar”. Next she took out several brown kernels and said: “Buckwheat!” Then she took out many pieces of brown paper and started to cry.

Children and I looked at her with alarm. What was going on? Why was she crying?

A couple of minutes passed. Then my…

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America and capitalism (facts and thoughts)

On 1/3/2015 I published “HOW BAD ARE AMERICA AND CAPITALISM?

The post received many comments. Surprisingly, nobody told that capitalism is bad or that America is a bad country.

However, many comments are heartfelt and very interesting.

Today I want to respond to Carl D’ Agostino (you can find full text of his comments in the post “HOW BAD ARE AMERICA AND CAPITALISM?”). I will respond only to his most important thoughts.

He wrote: “Most of the condos you speak of are investment property from rich South Americans or French Canadians. There is great wealth here but over 50% south Florida residents at minimum wage and poverty level. This place will implode: not enough water, electricity, more people getting welfare help than paying into system to support it”.

In my post  I wrote about Hollywood in Florida. We rented apartments here in winter only from working Americans for the last 13 yearsAll of them have houses or apartments in other places. During last 10 years many our friends retired and bought apartments here. Today we know more than 500 people in the area who worked hard and now enjoy life here. I mentioned in my earlier post occupations of some of them. Today I want to add: construction workers, mechanics, office managers, nutritionists, artists.

I agree that many Florida residents are at poverty level and getting welfare. However, during 40 years of life in America I observed that people on welfare live better than we lived in the Soviet Union.

We have many people on welfare in our area in Queens. They have free apartments, free medical help, food stamps. Many of them have home attendants who cook for them, clean apartments, do laundries, go with them to stores or for walks.

These people in our area are very happy.

I have only to add three important points here:

1. None of them use drugs.

2. None of them worked in the USA (they came in the country at old age). I don’t believe that it is fair to give them benefits that Americans who worked here all their lives don’t have.

3. The system that allows more people to be on welfare than to work is not capitalism.

Carl also wrote: “The right to vote here is an illusion of democracy. The capitalist megacorps and megabanks run everything and are creating subsistence living here. Your country’s slogan “all power to the workers” sounds good to me. Of course no communist country has initiated that part of change and power switch.”

I was extremely surprised that Carl said: “Your country’s slogan “all power to the workers” sounds good to me” (Carl knows that I was born and lived in the USSR).

How long can people deny facts? Does not everyone know that promise is not a reality? Don’t you remember: “Read my lips” or “You can keep your plan”?

There was never “all power to the workers” in the Soviet Union. It would be very bad if it was because when the USSR was born majority of population were peasants.

A very small group of people seized power and for many years terrorized population of the country. Millions of innocent people were executed and died in Stalags. You can read about it HERE.

I am sure that you also know about repressions in China and Cuba.

Now about “megacorps and megabanks run everything and are creating subsistence living here.”

Are not large and small corporations creating millions of jobs? Are not many people on welfare live on money these corporations pay in taxes? Are not millions of people who invested their money in Microsoft, IBM, Google, Facebook and many other corporations became rich?

I don’t believe that capitalism is a perfect system but I don’t know a better system. I don’t believe that we have a capitalistic system in America today. I think that we have a terrible hybrid of capitalism and socialism and this system leads the country in the wrong direction.

I don’t believe that America is a perfect country. It has racists of all colors, some corrupt and incompetent leaders, gangs, drug addicts, haters of police and the country, many people who want to have everything without working hard to get it.

However, I am sure that every system can be improved and that people of each country can have better lives if they choose and support good leaders and make sure that all elected officials do what is good for the country.

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Life is full of surprises or robbers, where are you?! (Part 3)

My wife and children were waiting for me.

They looked at the parcel in my hands and instruments and it was clear that they wanted to open parcels immediately and to find out what was in it.

However, I suggested that we needed to warm ourselves first. So we had a morning run and a good workout, then we ate hot breakfast. After it we were ready.

It took considerable efforts to open six parcels. Then we saw that there was a mixture of brown and white in all of them.

My wife cautiously took several white crystals and licked them. She said: “It’s sugar”. Next she took out several brown kernels and said: “Buckwheat!” Then she took out many pieces of brown paper and started to cry.

Children and I looked at her with alarm. What was going on? Why was she crying?

A couple of minutes passed. Then my wife stopped crying and explained: “In last letter I wrote that I could not find buckwheat here. Apparently, mothers decided that we had nothing to eat. They bought buckwheat and sugar and put paper packs with them in parcels. People in the USSR pierced each pack many times. Now we’ll have to find a way to separate sugar and buckwheat.”

We stayed in Lido di Ostia two more months. Each day we spent some time separating sugar and buckwheat.

I remembered at that time that my wife did not know her father. He was arrested and shot without trial when she was three months old. 30 years later her mother received a letter from a government that he was innocent.

I remembered that my grandfather was arrested, tortured and then released because he did not do anything wrong. However, he died in three months after his release.

I remembered that after we applied for a permission to leave the USSR we were treated as enemies of the state. We were lucky to get the permission but authorities forced us to pay substantial sum for every member of the family and then allowed to take with us only $400. We left behind our savings for many years of hard work.

I thought how lucky we were to escape from the Soviet Union whose government managed to murder 30 millions of its own people.

We were lucky to leave robbers of dignity, freedom and happiness behind.

I never expected that we would find people in America who would think that socialism could be good.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery..”
Winston S. Churchill

Several Winston Churchill’s quotes.

Below are some famous Winston Churchill’s quotes.

I think that all people must remember these quotes.

1.  We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

2.  There is no such thing as a good tax.

3.  The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

4.  An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.

5.  A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

6.  A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

“Oh, those Americans!” (part 2).

Click below to read the first part of this story.

“Oh, those Americans!” (part 1)

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We were very upset. Nobody of us wanted our teachers punished due to actions of any boy from our school. We loved and respected Boris and Nasir. Every day showed all of us that they cared and did everything possible to help us.

Nikolai, who was on the Uzbekistan’s boxing team, expressed common opinion. He said: “There will be no more cheating!”

Several days passed. On the ninth day three boys picked more than 40 kg and proudly shared their prizes with their classes. We found that butter was not edible and pita was too small to satisfy 20 or more hungry guys. Still we hoped that more boys will pick 40 kg next day.

However, night brought bad surprise. Temperature dropped substantially and it became very cold in our large room. We slept on the thin mattresses on the floor and had only thin blankets to defend us from cold. It became windy outside and there were many holes in the floor and walls of the building.

So during the night we suffered from cold. It was even worse on our way to fields. We did not have warm clothing and the closest field with unpicked cotton was already about two miles away. Many guys took their blankets with them and it helped a bit on the way to the field but nobody could keep blankets on when picking cotton. So we suffered from cold until sun was high above our heads and then we continued to suffer from reflections of sun rays from cotton bushes.

However, we worked and did not complain. Our teachers worked and suffered even more than we as they slept very little caring for sick boys at nights. We knew that there were only several days left before coming home and this knowledge lifted our spirits.

Two more days passed. Then several boys complained that they had severe abdominal pain. Greg was one of them. He told us that it was very painful for him even to touch his abdomen. He and some other boys also had fever and they vomited. Two boys said to teachers that they had frequent and painful urination.

Many of us caught cold and started to cough. The only medicine from all problems was hot tea but everyone suspected that together with bad food it could be also a reason of stomach problems.

Nasir asked the local healer to check boys with severe abdominal pain and the old man said that it was possible that Greg had appendicitis and needed an operation as soon as possible.

In the morning of the last day Greg and six other sick guys stayed in the room helping each other. All others went to work in high spirit. We were proud that we were able to overcome all difficulties and picked a lot of cotton. We also thought what a pleasure it would be tomorrow to meet our families, to take shower, to eat decent food and to relax a couple of days before going to school.

At about 3.00 pm we heard a very strange noise. All of us stopped working and turned to see what it was. A dark dot appeared in the sky. Then it grew and it became clear that it was a plane. Soon it was near and then it landed on the road close to us. A pilot climbed down from the plane and started walking towards us.

Boris and Nasir told us to continue working and went to meet the pilot. They spoke with him several minutes and then they came back. We could see that they were very upset.

Nasir told us to stop work and to come closer as they had important news for us. Then Boris told us that government of Uzbekistan decided that all boys and girls from Tashkent must continue to pick cotton two more weeks. The pilot also said that our parents bought for us food and sent it and our warm clothing with him.

Teachers also told us that they convinced the pilot to take with him to the city three very sick boys (he could not take more). They told us to walk back to our building and then they flew with the pilot.

On the way back from the field some guys were very angry. One said: “We volunteered to go to pick cotton for only two weeks. What right did government have to force us to stay here two more weeks?”. Another guy wondered why we did not get good food from the beginning and why the government did not provide food this time. He added: “We are not getting money for our work. Why should our parents pay for our food?”

Yuri said to me: “I hope Greg will get necessary treatment today and will be in good shape when we return to the city.”

When we reached our building the plane was gone and Greg and two other boys were gone too. There were food and clothing in the room.

We continued to work. Temperature continued to drop and we suffered from cold very much. Some guys and our teacher Boris had bad dry cough, more guys had stomach problems. We counted days and worked. Finally, thirteen days passed. We were very tired but satisfied with results of our work.

Before going to work on the last day teachers told us to prepare our things for departure. They asked sick boys to clean the room and to gather all mattresses in the corner of the room.

We worked this day with great enthusiasm. However, at about 3.00 pm we heard that a plane was coming again. It landed, the pilot climbed out and stayed near plane. Boris and Nasir went to him. All of us stopped working. We felt that something was very bad.

Teachers talked with the pilot and then called us to join them. They told us that Greg was dead. They also told us that Stalin ordered all boys and girls from Tashkent’s schools to pick cotton two more weeks.

Yuri and I could not believe these news. Greg, our closest friend for six years, was dead. He was dead only because our leaders did not care about us. We were only fourteen years old but we understood the simple truth: Stalin was our leader but he was not our friend.

In two weeks boys and girls from Tashkent’s schools returned from the Hungry Steppes. However, four girls and one boy died very soon. Nothing was in newspapers or on the radio about it but people knew everything. When we heard this terrible news Yuri told me: “You know our teachers. They love us and they teach us to love others. If Stalin is a teacher he is a teacher of death”.

We did not believe propaganda from that time. We did not believe that Americans wanted to conquer the world. We also found out that in 1947 International Harvester produced a mechanical cotton picker. We did not want to compete with Americans, to compete with machines.

However, three more years we picked cotton until middle of October. Nobody asked us to volunteer. Our government decided everything for us.

Oh, those Americans!