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Thursday, March 3, 2022

mistaken identity - bombing of the Bezuidenhout

How good were the British – certainly far away from being merciful and kind. .. . and will  there not  be a reparation for a gross mistake causing killing of innocents !  why did not the World call them killers but instead, swept a gross injustice under the carpet – that gruesome incident -  this day 77 years ago !!- Bezuidenhout ("South of the Wood") is the neighborhood southeast of  The Hague in the Netherlands.   

1)   The movie begins with the secne of  Solaimalai’s eldest baby daughter getting kidnapped. The baby eventually is saved by passerby and raised as his own daughter  .. ..  movie starring MGR and Jayalalithaa -  Thedi Vandha Mappillai, produced by BR Panthulu, co-starring Ashokan, Major Sundararajan, Cho, released in 1970 – it was remake of Panthulu's own 1967 Kannada film Beedi Basavanna.


2)   Christopher Emanuel "Manny" Balestrero (Henry Fonda), a down-on-his-luck musician at New York City's Stork Club, needs $300 for dental work for his wife Rose (Vera Miles). When he visits the office of a life insurance company to borrow money against Rose's policy, he is mistaken by the staff there for a man who had twice held them up.

Mistaken identity is a defense in criminal law which claims the actual innocence of the criminal defendant, and attempts to undermine evidence of guilt by asserting that any eyewitness to the crime incorrectly thought that they saw the defendant, when in fact the person seen by the witness was someone else. The defendant may question both the memory of the witness (suggesting, for example, that the identification is the result of a false memory), and the perception of the witness (suggesting, for example, that the witness had poor eyesight, or that the crime occurred in a poorly lit place).

World War II  lasted from 1939 to 1945, and involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers.  Underline : India was not involved nor directly impacted in both the World wars.  In a total war directly involving more than 100 million personnel from more than 30 countries, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role in the conflict, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the only two uses of nuclear weapons in war. World War II was by far the deadliest conflict in human history; it resulted in 70 to 85 million fatalities, a majority being civilians. 

The bombing of the Bezuidenhout took place on 3 March 1945, when the Royal Air Force mistakenly bombed the Bezuidenhout neighbourhood in the Dutch city of The Hague. At the time, the neighbourhood was more densely populated than usual with evacuees from The Hague and Wassenaar; tens of thousands were left homeless and had to be quartered in the Eastern and Central Netherlands.

The British bomber crews had intended to bomb the Haagse Bos ("Forest of the Hague") district where the Germans had installed V-2 launching facilities that had been used to attack English cities. However the pilots were issued with the wrong coordinates so the navigational instruments of the bombers had been set incorrectly, and combined with fog and clouds which obscured their vision, the bombs were instead dropped on the Bezuidenhout residential neighbourhood ! – abject failure of systems and warfare one must call that blunder.


On the morning of that fateful day -  medium and light bombers of the North American B-25 Mitchell and Douglas Boston types from No. 137 and No. 139 wings of the Second Tactical Air Force took off from Melsbroek near Brussels and Vitry in Northern France. Between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning the bombers dropped 67 tonnes of high explosive bombs on the Bezuidenhout,[9] wreaking widespread destruction. Due to insufficient fire engines and firemen (as many of them had been either called up for forced labour in German industry or had gone into hiding to prevent being signed up) the resulting fire was largely unchecked, killing 511 people, including eight firemen.  i.e., British killed more than 500 people with no rhyme or reason – coldblooded killing

As soon as the British realized the extent of the damage, they dropped fliers over the neighbourhood apologizing for the error.  Trouw, the Dutch resistance newspaper, reported !!    The bombing is commemorated every year on the first Sunday after 3 March. In 2011 Mayor Jozias van Aartsen  of The Hague as well as the Mayors of Wassenaar and Leidschendam-Voorburg (residents of both towns helped with firefighting and caring for the survivors) were present at the remembrance ceremony.  

How gruesome, what a blunder – yet the kind British just retorted with dropping of fliers ! .. .. History still has a great place for the United Kingdom !

1)    Thedi Vandha Mappillai is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man, like the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest.  North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organization trying to prevent him from blocking their plan to smuggle microfilm out of the country, which contains government secrets.  

2)   That you read at the start is storyline of ‘The Wrong Man’ another Alfred Hitchcock film released in 1956  -   starring Henry Fonda and Vera Miles. The film was drawn from the true story of an innocent man charged with a crime, as described in the book The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero by Maxwell Anderson and in the magazine article "A Case of Identity", which was published in Life magazine in June 1953.     

Gruesome killing by UK that deserves strong condemnation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Mar 2022. 

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