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).

#MGGA #adolfhitler

In spite of the terrible U.S. news, bringing tidings of the erection of walls, today, 9 November 2016 also marks the 27th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin wall (1961–1989), cutting West Berlin off from the surrounding East Germany.

Ved Berlinmuren, 1. desember 1989. Fotograf: Lee Corkran/Wikimedia Commons
Crowds gathering along the Berlin Wall on 1 December 1989. Photographer: Lee Corkran/Wikimedia Commons

Top illustration: Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor, blogger’s own drawing.

P.S. I thought, since it’s completely unrelated to the happy 1989 events, that perhaps I shouldn’t even mention the 1938 Kristallnacht, although it indeed occured on the very same date. Seeing as I soon came to regret that decision, I thought it best to add this post scriptum, fully aware that I may unwittingly happen to ignore other crucial occasions, however unintentional. Therefore, and not intended as a belittlement, compared to 9 November 1989, as I’m convinced each and every incident is of no small consequense for those it may concern or afflict:

  • 694 – At the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, Egica, a king of the Visigoths of Hispania, accuses Jews of aiding Muslims, sentencing all Jews to slavery.
  • 1313 – Louis the Bavarian defeats his cousin Frederick I of Austria at the Battle of Gammelsdorf.
  • 1330 – At the Battle of Posada, Basarab I of Wallachia defeats the Hungarian army of Charles I Robert.
  • 1456 – Ulrich II, Count of Celje , last ruler of the County of Cilli, is assassinated in Belgrade.
  • 1520 – More than 50 people are sentenced and executed in the Stockholm Bloodbath
  • 1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • 1688 – Glorious Revolution: William of Orange captures Exeter.
  • 1697 – Pope Innocent XII founds the city of Cervia.
  • 1720 – The synagogue of Judah HeHasid is burned down by Arab creditors, leading to the expulsion of the Ashkenazim from Jerusalem.
  • 1729 – Spain, France and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Seville.
  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: In the Battle of Fishdam Ford a force of British and Loyalist troops fail in a surprise attack against the South Carolina Patriot militia under Brigadier General Thomas Sumter.
  • 1791 – Foundation of the Dublin Society of United Irishmen.
  • 1799 – Napoleon Bonaparte leads the Coup of 18 Brumaire ending the Directory government, and becoming one of its three Consuls (Consulate Government).
  • 1851 – Kentucky marshals abduct abolitionist minister Calvin Fairbank from Jeffersonville, Indiana, and take him to Kentucky to stand trial for helping a slave escape.
  • 1857 – The Atlantic is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1861 – The first documented football match in Canada is played at University College, Toronto.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Union General Ambrose Burnside assumes command of the Army of the Potomac, after George B. McClellan is removed.
  • 1867 – Tokugawa shogunate hands power back to the Emperor of Japan, starting the Meiji Restoration.
  • 1872 – The Great Boston Fire of 1872.
  • 1883 – The Royal Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Armed Forces (known then as the “90th Winnipeg Battalion of Rifles”) is founded.
  • 1887 – The United States receives rights to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.
  • 1907 – The Cullinan Diamond is presented to King Edward VII on his birthday.
  • 1913 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, destroys 19 ships and kills more than 250 people.
  • 1914 – SMS Emden is sunk by HMAS Sydney in the Battle of Cocos.
  • 1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates after the German Revolution, and Germany is proclaimed a Republic.
  • 1921 – The Italian National Fascist Party comes into existence.
  • 1923 – In Munich, Germany, police and government troops crush the Beer Hall Putsch in Bavaria. The failed coup is the work of the Nazis.
  • 1935 – The Congress of Industrial Organizations is founded in Atlantic City, New Jersey, by eight trade unions belonging to the American Federation of Labor.
  • 1937 – The Chinese Army withdraws from the Battle of Shanghai.
  • 1938 – The Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath dies from gunshot wounds by Herschel Grynszpan, an act which the Nazis used as an excuse to instigate the 1938 national pogrom, also known as Kristallnacht.
  • 1940 – Warsaw is awarded the Virtuti Militari.
  • 1953 – Cambodia gains independence from France.
  • 1960 – Robert McNamara is named president of Ford Motor Company, the first non-Ford to serve in that post. A month later, he resigned to join the administration of newly elected John F. Kennedy.
  • 1963 – At Miike coal mine, Miike, Japan, an explosion kills 458, and hospitalises 839 with carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • 1965 – Several U.S. states and parts of Canada are hit by a series of blackouts lasting up to 13 hours in the Northeast blackout of 1965.
  • 1965 – A Catholic Worker Movement member, Roger Allen LaPorte, protesting against the Vietnam War, sets himself on fire in front of the United Nations building.
  • 1967 – Apollo program: NASA launches the unmanned Apollo 4 test spacecraft atop the first Saturn V rocket from Cape Kennedy, Florida.
  • 1967 – The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine is published.
  • 1970 – Vietnam War: The Supreme Court of the United States votes 6–3 against hearing a case to allow Massachusetts to enforce its law granting residents the right to refuse military service in an undeclared war.
  • 1979 – Nuclear false alarm: The NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland detected purported massive Soviet nuclear strike. After reviewing the raw data from satellites and checking the early-warning radars, the alert is cancelled.
  • 1985 – Garry Kasparov, 22, of the Soviet Union becomes the youngest World Chess Champion by beating fellow Soviet Anatoly Karpov.
  • 1989 – Fall of the Berlin Wall. East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel to West Berlin.
  • 1993 – Stari Most, the “old bridge” in the Bosnian city of Mostar, built in 1566, collapses after several days of bombing by Croat forces during the Croat–Bosniak War.
  • 1994 – The chemical element darmstadtium is discovered.
  • 1998 – A US federal judge, in the largest civil settlement in United States history, orders 37 US brokerage houses to pay 1.03 billion United States dollars to cheated NASDAQ investors to compensate for price fixing.
  • 1998 – Capital punishment in the United Kingdom, already abolished for murder, is completely abolished for all remaining capital offences.
  • 2005 – The Venus Express mission of the European Space Agency is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • 2005 – Suicide bombers attacked three hotels in Amman, Jordan, killing at least 60 people.
  • 2007 – The German Bundestag passes the controversial data retention bill mandating storage of citizens’ telecommunications traffic data for six months without probable cause.
  • 2012 – A train carrying liquid fuel crashes and bursts into flames in northern Myanmar, killing 27 people and injuring 80 others.
  • 2012 – At least 27 people are killed and dozens are wounded in conflicts between inmates and guards at Welikada prison in Colombo.

Source: Wikipedia

Berlin i gilde farger – for 116 år siden

Som liten pleide min datter å spørre om virkeligheten virkelig var svart-hvit i gamle dager. At kun gjengivelsen av dem var det, kunne hun simpelthen ikke forstå, sikker, som hun var, på at min oppvekst ble tilbrakt i gråtoner.

Vel var man kjent med fargefotoets eksistens, alt på 1800-tallet, og man har sett fargefilm fra London anno 1920 eller deromkring, men disse scenene, fra år 1900s Berlin, 14 år før alt skulle gå så galt for Tyskland (og verre skulle det, som bekjent, bli), er intet mindre enn trollbindende.

Afri-Cola (1968?)

“Super-sexy-mini-flower-pop-op-cola – alles ist in Afri-Cola”

Produsert av Charles Wilp.

Kose

Og riktig nok: Én liten time senere vanket både kos, klapp og klem i fleng. Helt sikkert vel fortjent.

Jernteppets fall og Versaillestraktaten – en komparativ betenkning

Ved slutten av første verdenskrig var partene samlet til en fredskonferanse i Paris, som endelig førte til traktatundertegnelsen i Versailles, og som ribbet Tyskland for all militær makt, og, ikke minst, for sin råderett over de store kullreservene. Erstatningskravene som ble ilagt Tyskland, var ikke til å bære, av et land som alt var grundig utarmet av fire års intens krigføring.

Det tyske keiserdømmet, som i løpet av 1920-årene skulle utvikle seg til den demokratiske, men akk så skrøpelige, Weimar-republikken, var ydmyket på alle tenkelige vis, på en måte som kulminerte i at landet ble langt hardere rammet av depresjonen, enn noe land på den vestlige halvkulen – om noe land overhodet.

At ydmykelsen bidro til krav om gjenreisning av den nasjonale stolthet, og Hitlers uvegerlige suksess, fins det i dag ingen som ville finne på å bestride.

Svømmende PutinÅ ydmyke det som var igjen av Sovjetunionen, i det minste å levne russerne ribbet for nasjonal stolthet, var det likevel få som hadde betenkeligheter ved, etter Berlinmurens fall, 9. november 1989. I de snart 25 årene som siden har passert, har etablering av en vestlig økonomi og et vestlig levesett i det fallerte Sovjetunionen, stått høyt på Vestens dagsorden. Våre forsøk på å endre hele den russiske mentalitet, gjennom desimering av alt de anser seg selv og sin stolthet, kan til forveksling sammenlignes med seierherrenes adferd, i kjølvannet av Versailles-traktaten – skjønt uten de barbariske maktdemonstrasjonene spesielt Frankrike gjorde seg skyldig i, den gang dazumal.

I lys av disse mer enn slående parallellene, må det være lov å spørre om noe annet enn gjenreisning av et totalitært og antivestlig Russland, virkelig var å vente.

Selv er jeg en enkel gutt på landet, men tenderer nok mot å svare nei, i håp om at parallellene stopper der, skjønt i en dyp erkjennelse av at det slett ikke virker slik. En sterk mann har de allerede, og han forsvinner ikke, slik han så småningom ville, om landet var et demokrati.

Now you do the remaining math.

Når verden toer sine hender

I forkant av vinterlekene i Sotsji 2014, ble det ymtet forsiktig om boikott både her og både der, men uten at det materialiserte seg i reelle boikotter.

Likedan var det i bunn og grunn da Nazi-Tyskland arrangerte sine sommerleker i Berlin i 1936:

I mange land ble det snakket om boikott av lekene på grunn av nazistenes rasepolitikk. Men det ble det ingenting av trusslene den gang heller.

«Arbeiderlekene» eller «The International Labour Sport Organization» forsøkte å organisere et alternativt «People’s Olympics» i Barcenlona. Men disse ble kansellert, da den spanske borgerkrigen brøt ut dagen før konkurransen skulle begynne.

For første gang ble olympiske ild brakt med fakkelstafett fra Olympia i Hellas til arrangørbyen. 3000 løpere fraktet OL-ilden gjennom 10 land. Senere er stafetten blitt fast innslag ved arrangementene. Den første fakkelstafetten for vinterlekene gikk fra Morgedal til Oslo i 1952.

— Fra denne artikkelen hos maihaugen.no

Den olympiske ild er altså en Nazi-initiert tradisjon?

Etter at Holocaust ble kjent, var nok verden fylt av skam over den ryggesløse berlindeltagelsen, slik den forhåpentligvis vil skjemmes, når flere av Vladimir Putins avskyelige forbrytelser kommer for en dag. Som om ikke de vi alt kjenner var nok.

Les for øvrig hva Jonas Gardell skriver i Expressen i dag – skjønt Putins forbrytelser rammer så uendelig mange flere enn de homofile alene. At overtrampene mot homofile har fått slik oppmerksomhet, er naturligvis den internasjonale homsebevegelsens fortjeneste. Jeg skulle ønske søkelyset også ble rettet mot de utallige menneskerettighetsbruddene Kreml-regimet gjør seg skyldig i.

Jeg er nok ikke så rakrygget i det daglige, men i denne saken akter jeg å komme ut av to “olympiske” uker, med hodet hevet. Siden det bare lar seg gjøre uten å følge OL-hysteriet, unngår jeg det altså helt.

Du kan alltids prøve, du også. Det er ikke så verst! Mer om det som snarest.

Whoopseedaisy

Men en kan jo ikke annet enn føle medynk.