In Australia and no doubt elsewhere in the world, this sequence is happening.
First we have terror.
Next we have anti-terror.
And new on the line is terror of anti-terror, or anti-anti-terror, such as a glut of journalistic articles telling us why the Australian Government’s new anti-terror laws are 1984 and the instigation of the thing we should really be terrified of. You can see an example here.
This is the spin we all create: the Nazis, Mark who quotes the Nazis, Ed and I guess, me, much as I’d like to think I’m if not above, then at least apart from, spin.
Mark the other day quoted a highranking Nazi talking about the effect of propaganda, in this case, the value of creating fear, the implication being that this is what is happening in Australia at the moment.
Göring: the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
He followed this up by linking to one of the many media articles talking about the Orwellian world into which Australia has now descended and which is the true enemy, the one of which we should be truly terrified.
As it happens, my reading at the moment has me firmly entrenched in the 1930s and WWII, a sickening period to be reliving, but also an educational one, especially in view of IS. Mark referred to IS in terms of fascism the other day, but as Klemperer would be quick to point out, there is a massive difference between fascism and Nazism. Clearly we would have to say, if we observe this difference, that IS is not fascist, but something far more horrific, and the comparison to Nazism seems more accurate to me.
Because of this reading, I happened to come across something said by a highranking Nazi too and it is this:
Himmler: The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect.
The fact is, propaganda is one thing. It can’t hurt, it might help, and no doubt the Nazis were masters of utilising it for their cause. But terror is like this. It is getting beaten to death in the street. It is being forced into slavery – and not just any old slavery, but slavery where you are starved to death and treated in unspeakable ways before being killed in equally unspeakable ways. It is not only about groups of Jews being forced naked into rooms where they are gassed to death, but about the people who watched this happen and enjoyed it. Ordinary people who got their jollies like this. It is about being a French person in occupied France in the resistance and what that entailed. If one German was killed by you, then ten French prisoners were killed. When that didn’t help it became more and more French for one German. It is about being in so-called Free France but being forced into slavery for the Germans. If you were not Jewish, that is. If you were Jewish, some other appalling fate. Terror in the IS area and in other parts of the world where fundamentalist Islam invades is like this. It is fucking terrifying. That is what Australia is fighting against at the moment.
I don’t have the skills, nor the presumption to present a true picture of the sheer terror that was life in Europe in this period if you weren’t willing to be one of the terrorisers and maybe even if you were. But surely it can’t be too hard to put yourself in this world and get an idea of it.
This is not a world I want to be part of. Probably most Germans would have thought they didn’t want to be part of it either, given the choice, and even after some of them, to their surprise perhaps, discovered that it was fun watching groups of naked human beings being gassed to death. It happened, and it happened because people let it happen. At which point do we step in? Having seen when and how this process took place in WWII, I find it hard to believe it isn’t right to step in earlier rather than later.
The bottom line is, however, the terror is real. It isn’t something the PM of Australia has created because you don’t like what he’s done to the Barrier Reef or women’s shelters. And if he – and others – have attempted to deal with this through anti-terror, ie creating fear of terror, one can hardly blame him. It is hard to believe that it is necessary even. Fear of terror? Count me in. Fighting against terror? Count me in. Hoping that this doesn’t turn into something Orwellian. Count me in. Do I put this last? Yep. It’s a no-brainer.
In the 1930s everybody outside Germany let what was happening continue. They watched Hitler happen. They watched ordinary Germans become Nazis. They watched Germans kill Jews – ‘hey, as long as it’s just Jews and homosexuals and people like that, let’s not worry about it.’ They let Germany start brutally taking over other countries. ‘Hey, it’s not our country, let’s hope for the best.’ Nobody ever wanted to do anything much about it until they perceived their own country to be under threat. World War Two was not the only horrifying consequence of this willingness to hope for the best.
Oh, it’s only Kurds. It’s only women. It’s only homosexuals. And you know. These guys aren’t so awful really, they are maybe a bit crazy. Hey, let’s send in some therapists. Yeah. Let’s see if that works. And yeah, maybe if we leave them alone, you know. They’ll leave us alone. Well, hell’s bells, they said they would leave other countries alone. Okay, we’ll give them half of Czechoslovakia. God damn. They’ve taken the other half too.
My nightmares are half IS and half Nazi. They are both real.