Today marks the 17th Holocaust Memorial Commemoration Day. It reminds us of the date the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz was liberated by the soviet union in 1945. We also remember the victims of subsequent genocides; Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur. It comes as a timely reminder of just how close we are yet again to experiencing a similar fate, if certain forces are allowed to continue spreading hateful propaganda.
With so many genocides behind us, you’d think we’d know by now how to prevent one. It seems easy enough to me, failed states look for scapegoats; whether Jews, Muslims, trans, disabled or LGBT, already marginalised groups are easy targets, because they have no way of defending themselves against a system that begrudgingly allows them to exist.
It seems obvious to anyone who is willing to sign their name to the truth; neo Nazism has risen off the back of a white supremacist agenda, promulgated by people/organisations we thought we could trust (like the BBC). The instinct to protect humanity is chipped away at by the state and media, gradually, drip feeding the message that all of society’s ills can be attributed to this group, unlike us, that has failed to do x. In times of economic crisis, failed states and their leaders crank up the propaganda machine to distract us from their deficiency, so we are not baying for their blood and demanding our dues but killing each other, conveniently letting our toffee nosed overlords off the hook.
How can we in good conscience honour the victims of genocides past when we seem to be teetering on the brink of another, nefariously intimated by the same individuals espousing liberal platitudes such as ‘Never Again’?
‘Beware Hate Speech, says Auschwitz Holocaust survivor’ is a featured story on the BBC website. There are also segments on Newsround such as ‘Holocaust Memorial; what can we learn?’ Yet it wasn’t so long ago the internet was aghast at the BBC for their promotion of real live fascists like Farage who was given more airtime in the run up to the general election than all the other leaders combined. You might have caught the swastika tattooed Nazi on the news who went by unchallenged by BBC presenters when he suggested the swastika was not in fact racist. The BBC likes to claim its non partisan stance reflects its programming but in refusing to label Nazis they have failed in this respect. By downplaying the Nazi, they have chosen the Nazi.
The execrable minimisation of genocidal white supremacy by your faves has enabled a 21st century descent into fascism, yet still there are those who claim to uphold liberal values whilst ushering in this kinder, gentler attitude towards Nazis. Nazis just need to be shown some humanity, allegedly, to stop behaving like Nazis. You absolutely must not punch a nazi or you’re as bad as those who slaughtered 11 million people in the name of white pride. If you’re the sort of person who has even a shred of empathy/sympathy for Nazis, you might be a nazi too, or at the very least a white supremacist. When I think of Nazis, I don’t stop at a punch, Nazis are for the wall. Y’see I understand Nazis don’t even think of me as human, just medical waste. I knew as a child Nazis would have come for me, it made learning about the holocaust shockingly real and painful.
I guess this could go some way to explain the dissonance of those who mark memorial days yet platform Nazis in their newspapers and magazines. Fascism won’t ever directly impact on Nazi collaborators, they’re white by and large, middle class too if they’re journalists and academics. A bunch of these folks were fine othering Muslim people or trans people and denying it would lead to fascism but now that it is here, they’re down for punching Nazis. Dissonance or naivete, I can never tell but it might have helped stall things had they believed us.
If we read enough we know historically Nazis respond only to violence, rather it is the only thing that can stop them dead in their tracks. Nazis are cowards, they are opportunists, they thrive only because liberals legitimise their extremism, they claim to be moderates yet turn away refugees and make distinctions between good and bad immigrants, Europeans and non Europeans, Muslims and Jews. Nazis do love to divide rule and conquer so we must respond with solidarity, whether it personally impacts on us or not. When they other even one of us, we must fight back together as a whole. Othering is a white supremacist tool used to justify dehumanisation then genocide, it has no place in a civilised society. It is bullying to speak of other identities whilst excluding them from the discussion, protesting this fact does not make the protester a bully but a revolutionary.
The world is in need of a therapist, to show us all the incongruence of our words against our actions, and the good grace to admit our deepest faults, in the belief we can all be forgiven if we uphold the truth.
In our post truth, fake news world, I despair.