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.