Tuesday, October 12, 2010

trivializing the symbols of hatred

In preparation for a class I wanted to find a photo of crowds cheering for Hitler. I teach Holocaust, and at the moment we learn about Hitler rise to power. I googled: "crowds welcoming Hitler". Every other photo was with President Obama. What the fuck, people?! This is offensive on so many levels... I am not even talking about the obvious ignorance of people posting it, but the lack of any understanding, any comprehension of what it actually means to compare anyone to Hitler... this is simply beyond me. It's not only offensive to Obama, as it would be to any normal person, but it is to the 11 mln victims of sick, perverted racist hatred spilled by Hitler all over Europe. It might be that I am extra sensitive, being Jewish and from Poland. There, Hitler is still subject of jokes (as himself), but is never used as a serious attack on anyone, I can't remember anyone ever being likened to him as a way to criticize or express one's dislike of opponent's policies.

The word "Nazi" is never used in a silly way, but the word is still heavy and smells of blood, even a few generations later. I cringe every time I see "grammar Nazi" and similar creations. Or see icon with Hitler and his troops for "admin/moderator". Most Nazis were walking, breathing killing machines, throwing infants out of windows, cutting women's bellies open, burning people alive or shooting dead innocent crowds humiliating and robbing them first. All of them preached extermination, death, supremacy of one kind of a human over another. These words should be remembered for what they stand for, with their real meaning.

The same goes for "Holocaust". This name is reserved for a particular even in History. There is no "animal holocaust" nor "zombie holocaust". There even is no "Armenian Holocaust", but Armenian Genocide. There are "massacres", "mass killings", "destruction", "annihilation" and other terms that could be used, depending on a context.

I have nothing against using Hitler in historical or political comparisons. Using facts, real numbers and events. Real words, speeches and policies. Studied them first in depth and not based on half-truths, stereotypes and myths. Hitler is not a symbol one can stretch to one hateful heart's desire. He was a real person, living in real historical context.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Food for atheist thought

I wish I had that strength and that much of confidence as he has. His words are powerful, his intelligence and thought really inspiring.
I do like my tradition, civilization, culture... but if I had to choose between a world which would be devoid of any religion, and so having no culture with religious origin and enjoying my heritage with complex and great traditions, I am choosing the first option any time. There are great benefits, especially in arts and elements of culture and philosophy... but the negative outcomes overweight the good things.

I've always been interested in the idea of religion, various ways of building up the belief system, rituals, philosophy, complicated esoteric systems. But it is absolutely disgusting what humans are ready to do in the name of it.

I have just read this post and because it does relate that what I mentioned here, although with a particular focus, I post the link to it.
I agree that Jews and Christians who don't take at least partial guilt for the horrible epidemic of gay suicides, live in denial. How dare their preach that gays are beast and sinners, and then go on and say they have nothing to do with it? Judeo-Christianity is the base of this society. And the extreme gay hating that's done by evangelicals and other fundamentalist, as well as many moderates, is the smoking gun.