Tuesday, February 2, 2016

They Really Did That?????

Sea, Beach, Water, Budva, Montenegro  In a small country right by Kosovo, the government of Montenegro did something that created an uproar and talk of it spread across the internet.  This small country created a furor growing due to a decision they made.

It is not just any furor, it is one that pits history against the economy. 

In World War II, while under the control of the Italians, a concentration camp was built on the small 200 square meter uninhabited island of Mamula located in the Adriatic sea.

The camp housed 2,300 prisoners of whom 130 were killed or starved to death.  It served the same purpose as many other concentration camps of the time.  Once the war was over, concentration camps disappeared from the minds of people but over time they were protected to remind people of what humanity is capable of doing while demanding we not let it happen again.

The country of Montenegro had two choices.  The first was leave it alone and let it fall into ruin or lease it out to someone so it could be repaired and be used productively.  The government chose to grant a 49 year lease to a developer who is going to renovate it as a luxury resort with swimming pool, spa, shops, dance floor, restaurant, VIP rooms, etc.

It was the idea of using a building where the blood of those who were forceably imprisoned is hard for some people to accept.  The opposition contends this move shows a lack of respect for history and the concentration camp should be renovated and left as a museum.   What is interesting to me is that the World War II veterans groups backed the project.  The government contents it will have a museum to honor those imprisoned and killed there and it will bring money to the economy.

If the country needs the money, this is a way to bring it in but I can also see the point of view of those whose fathers, brothers, and uncles resided or perished in that place.  Was the country right to chose this path?  I don't know.  I do know that most of those who survived World War II are now dead or quite old.  Soon the stories of these people will be lost in the annals of time and few will remember what happened there.  Is that good?  Who knows.  It's a fact of time.

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