Archive - January 18, 2012

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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Five
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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Four

Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Five

Geren’s diary ends with no happy ending. He finishes it on July 30, 1942 in Bamgarh, Bihar, writing: Our group moving over the mountains is a replica of the world community of sufferers. We were many races and nations: Chinese, Burmese, Indians, British, and Americans. We were hungry together on one meal a day. We were wet together, body, bedding and bread when the elements changed their policy from scorching us to soaking us. We jumped together for joy to see biscuit falling to us from the bomb rack of an airplane. We were banded together for whatever should come. Within a few months the tide of battle would turn to victory in every theater of the war-at Midway, Stalingrad, and El Alamein. Still Geren’s Diary ends with no guarantee of victory or a “happy ending” for in mid-1942 there was no assurance that the tide would turn, or that even . . .

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Was Paul Geren Our First Peace Corps Writer? Part Four

The retreat from Burma started at Shwebo on May 1, 1942. Geren would write in his Diary on May 6, 1942, from near Homalin. “The trudge has begun. The way stretches ahead of us 250 miles, first across the hot plains, then across jungle and mountains, 7,000 feet high, named in a moment of miscalculations or irony the Chin “‘Hills.’ Our small company of 104 Indians, Burmese, Chinese, British, and Americans, has become part of a great and tragic flight: the flight of Indians-perhaps a quarter million of them-from their promised land.” There party was headed by General Stilwell. For the first six days they drove trucks. They got as far as Mansa. Then they walked. They walked across the mountains and arrived at Imphal on May 20, 1942. There are many moving accounts noted by Geren and recorded in his Burma Diary. Here is just one, written by Geren . . .

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