Monday, January 24, 2005

Nazis. I hate those guys.

It's the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and here in central Europe, feelings are running very high. There's a thoughtful commentary in the Times on the recent scandalous walk-out by Saxon members of the National Party of Germany (NPD) during a moment of silence for the victims of the Holocaust.

There's no denying that Dresden was a bloodbath and that many innocent people lost their lives. I can't do the whole moral equivalency thing where you equate the bombing of Dresden with the millions of lost lives in Europe, Jewish and otherwise. They're all lost lives, ruined by Nazism.

What sticks in my throat and infuriates me nearly beyond words is the blantant racism and sheer stupid insensivity of the NPD. I'm pretty sure no one stopping the NPD - or anyone else for that matter - from commemorating the bombing of Dresden. Hell, we all learned about Dresden in history class and I don't remember being taught that it was an event that glorified the allies and downplayed the loss of human lives. It was a firebombing. There was death and destruction everywhere. Yet the SPD can't acknowledge that Auschwitz, too, was a tragedy beyond description.

Neo-Nazism is on the rise in former Eastern Germany. In Saxony, the SPD got just over 9 percent of the vote. You could conclude that one in ten people you'd meet when walking the streets of modern Dresden supports the SPDs racist platform. This is terrifying. Combine this with the rhetoric coming out of Iran these days about the Zionist agenda (thank you Dick Cheney) and you end up with the world looking pretty scarey for this latke eating member of the tribe.


Drew said...

This dovetails nicely with the phenomenon Lillian noted...the tendency of people who are so clearly in the majority to pretend as if they are some sort of victimized minority for no reason other than the fact that a minority exists at all.

I can imagine that it would suck to be a German under 60 years old. To have people casually associate you with the nazis even though that happened well before you were born. And I'm with Pam...Dresden was no doubt a horror and by virtue of it being war then we can all assume that lots of innocents died as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I'd like to mention that I think of myself as a well informed U.S. citizen. And I didn't know that the NPD had staged a walkout during a moment of silence. That is some scary shit (the walkout, not my ignorance which we can leave to another day). What adolescent foolishness masquerading as Taking A Stand.

It seems like there are only two choices when hearing of a great tragedy from the past that was launched by one's ancestors

You can be appalled at the historical brutality and seek to make amends (i.e. I'm sickened by the way that the U.S. treated Native Americans, therefore I'm inclined to think that if Native Americans find some clever way to work the system-such as casino gambling-they are totally entitled.)

Or you can declare the past to be the past, the present to be the only important or valid time, and that anyone who wants to mention, oh say slavery or genocide or whatever is an insufficiently Darwinian FUCKING DOWNER LOSER.

I'd like to point out that we don't have much mental energy to focus on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz as it is already the 1st anniversary of Janet Jackson's superbowl nipple so we are understandably focused elsewhere.

Pam said...

Here's another story you're not seeing in the US press:

Russian nationalists urge Jewish groups ban