When extremism changes our view of normalcy

Most people weren’t surprised by yesterday’s Alternative für Deutschland landslide election, perhaps because we long since allowed extreme views in our own governing bodies, to such an extent that their views increasingly become our own, seen as the standard to which we’re all held.

Seen in light of this, Americans supporting a proto-fascist’s U.S. presidency, or Norwegians, securing another four years of xenophobic rule, should of course not be surprised by a German 12.6 percent AfD support. We should, however, be surprised that extreme views no longer surprise us. Maybe because “they” are now “us”.

The German election received significant news coverage yesterday, as it should, regardless the outcome – granted with some attention to the extremist advance, although few bothered to raise an eyebrow (which is my real concern here).

The term “white shirts” is about to establish itself as descriptive of the white-shirt-clad neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, whose marching no longer affects or concerns us, lulled into the impression that it’s all as it should be, rendering even authorities on extremism fairly indifferent to their success.

Why?

Perhaps because said Nazis do not define themselves Nazi, and after all, we have to take their word for it, no?

No.

In any event yesterday’s extremism is seen as today’s state of normalcy, and it should scare the living daylight out of us. Unfortunately, brought to a state of indifference, it does not. Furthermore and off the top of my head, I can think of only two groups rejecting the Nazi term used on modern-day Nazis: The moderate voices advocating dialogue over condemnation – and the Nazis themselves.

As mentioned in this blog on many an occasion, we often ask ourselves how the interwar Germans could possibly allow Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

Really? I mean, really?

Photo: White shirts marching in Sweden (and increasingly, hardly noticeable, in our very own streets).

Same thing happens every time someone I know starts acting like a racist asshole in social media.

Unfriended on Facebook

I haven’t a clue what possessed me!

Terrorism is here to stay – as it always was

The so-called war on terror is, as we all know, aimed at the final eradication of terrorism altogether – at wiping global terrorists off the face of the earth.

Although I share the dream, it should be pointed out that it remains a dream, with no roots in reality whatsoever.

Granted there’s a lot to be done, in terms of reducing risk of terrorist attacks, but mind you, the terrorists will persist – in the shape of revolutionaries (RAF or the Brigate Rosse), separatist groups (ETA or the IRA), pseudo-religious groups (ISIL or the Ilaga) and white supremacists (KKK and lone wolves, such as Anders Behring Breivik).

Barnemorderen Anders Behring Breivik under rettsaken i Telemark fengsel, Skien, 15. mars 2016. Bloggers data-assisterte illustrasjon (Waterlogue).
Child killer/mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik during trial in the Telemark prison, Skien, 15 March 2016. Blogger’s Waterlogue-based watercolour.
Hell, even Israel’s former PM Menachem Begin used to be considered a terrorist by the British mandatory government in Palestine – and rightfully so.

Whereas today, terrorism appears synonymous to Islam, and the other way around. Well, as already pointed out, it isn’t. Furthermore, for as long as people find a cause worth fighting for, with their lives, if need be – there will be terrorism, rendering the so-called war on terror utterly futile, I’m sorry to say.

Let’s just do what we can in terms of damage control, and in order to minimise recruitment, agreed?

Top illustration: An ISIL terrorist in front of the Stade de France. Bloggers own drawing, dated last summer, superimposed on stolen photograph (the football is stolen, too, except for the burning fuse).

Dutch election: Far from convincing

As Europe draws a sigh of relief, there’s arguably little cause for rejoice, as Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom gains four new seats in the Dutch parliament, according to exit polls – not enough to take up government, but an advancement all the same.

Please forgive my inability to applaud the far-right’s progress, undoubtedly to be seen in elections to come, included Europe’s numerous elections this year. Glad the PVV isn’t taking over cabinet, sure, but:

Worried as hell.

I mean, WTF, Netherlanders, you secured the bastards 19 seats (up from 15)! If anything, an encouragement for far-right parties everywhere.

So I reiterate: WTF!?

Photo: Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.

How dare they?

I hear they call it the European spring – it being the rise of a European alt-right movement.

The audacity!

If anything, I’d say winter would be more appropriate, but if they have the Arabian spring in mind, let’s remind them how that went*, shall we?

*I posted something on that back when it all went down, in January 2011 (in Norwegian)

From what I understand the outcome of the Dutch election remains too close to call, so here’s hoping Geert Wilder’s won’t come out victorious.

A decade or two ago, however, for a far-right party to win even eight or ten percent of the votes would be outrageous. In today’s extreme society not so much.

Makes you sad, doesn’t it?

The comfortable indifference

Some 80 years ago the utter madness emanating from the Berlin Reichskanslerei had the world comfortably numb, due to its endless outpour and extremity – rendering the surrounding countries more or less insensitive, until the evil regime directed its anger, aggression and weapons toward us.

The constant madness currently pouring out of The White House seems to have much of the same effect. Certainly we’re outraged, but the scope of President Trump’s apparent craziness is challenging our ability to absorb it all, such as the VOICE (Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement office) initiative, introduced in the President’s address to the Congress last Tuesday, aimed at serving Americans falling victim to crimes committed by immigrants:

We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.
– President Trump

Covered by the media, sure, but didn’t really make its way to the public’s attention, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the endless stream of crazy moves. So the initiative passed more or less under the radar, drowning in a wave of political madness.

We’ve seen public indignation over families being split due to deportations (a measure held in high regard by some historic characters, too), leaving children orphaned on U.S. soil.

In Norway we pride ourselves with this passage from Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s poem Dare not to sleep, which is something of a favourite in Norwegian discourse:

You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget

Clearly convinced that recital equals endorsement, yet, unlike U.S. authorities, we don’t restrict ourselves to deporting carefully selected adults, but up to three generations of entire families, based on an untruth once told by one of the grandparents, decades ago – rendering Donald Trump quite the amateur, in terms of inhumane treatment of immigrants.

Innvandrings- og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp). Fotograf: Torbjørn Tandberg.
Norway’s Minister of migration and integration Sylvi Listhaug. Photographer: Torbjørn Tandberg.

Certainly it did stir a bit of commotion, for a day or two. Thing is, however, that injustice is carried out throughout an entire west scared shitless by the unfounded fear that Muslims – among others – harbour animosity against it.

We have, in short, developed into paranoid societies only too prepared to embrace any strongman willing to quench that fear by any means. Granted means we do not necessarily condone, but means just the same, leaving us insensitive to the scale of our own indecency (if not for that of our “enemies”).

So hey: Dare not to sleep!

Because, you know, we do. Americans and non-Americans alike.

Top photo: U.S. President Donald Trump. Official White house portrait.

Comme ça

Don’t even have to call your newspaper Völkischer Beobachter!

Please, France, no!

We’ve all felt a strong sense of solidarity with the French in the aftermath of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, Paris and Nice, coupled with a growing rage against the so-called Islamic state, ISIL.

The attacks on the birth place of liberty, equality and brotherhood, the model of modern Western civilisation, felt like an attack on us all, an attack, perhaps, on those very ideas, threatening to take it all away, rendering us anything but free, equal and fraternal.

Could they be about to succeed? Today’s news may serve as an indication:

Forcing us to wonder wherein the difference lies, between French police officers and Jew-harassing SA troops of the Third Reich. Granted the above depicted gendarmes simply carry out orders, as opposed to Hitler’s zealous stormtroopers. The outcome, however, remains the same: ethnic and religious harassment, for which the French, as much as the Germans (and the rest of us), should of course be ashamed.

SA-medlemmer
Nazi stormtroopers in front of a Jewish shop.

I have, up until recently, been ambivalent to the proposed burkini ban, but that was until today’s Niçoise news reached us all.

The very thought of scenes such as the one just seen in Nice had me convinced that the ban is everything but libre, égal or fraternel, but the complete opposite.

Thank you, France, but no thanks.

This blog post’s top illustration, originally used in the wake of the Bataclan massacre, takes on a whole new meaning.

Je suis désolé, albeit for an entirely different reason altogether.