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Sunday, August 10, 2014

GAZA and being GERMAN .....

GAZA and being German …

The press barons in Germany have decreed that - after WWII - Germans cannot criticise the Israeli government lest they are anti-Semite, which is a capital crime, and rightly so, especially when not forgetting that both Israelis and Palestinians are Semitic peoples (henced Palistineans cannot be anti-Semite by definition). However, since nowadays even Palestinians with German passports get killed in Gaza, one has to allow German Palestinians in Germany some leeway to protest. If they are joined by German-German citizens then this is of course intolerable. There is a chain of contradictions that is hard to break: before the holocaust many Jews were ordinary German citizens; many German Jews migrated and fled  to the USA to become American Jews. Second, third generation American Jews with German surnames abound. Some of them are atheist, anti-Zionists like Michael Albert of Z-Communications (where another anti-Zionist, Noam Chomsky features large). Some of them still wonder about the German Germans, as Albert does in his recent piece on Gaza:

When I was in High School I used to stay up nights, sometimes, trying to understand how someone could become a good German. How could people go about daily life while their country engaged in hellish infernal injustice – in that case, the ovens. But I understood in time. The pressure of wanting to get by, of wanting to fit and of not thinking there was any alternative, and, for even more people, the bliss of ignorance (well guarded by asking few if any questions), and, for even more people, literally ignorant fear and intentionaly stirred up desire for revenge, did the trick. And I saw it all in the U.S., during the Indochina campaigns, and regarding the history of racism, and now too, as we destroy the environment. So I get that.

But then there are the storm troopers. The Brownshirts. This is harder to explain. I used to think maybe it was something about the German language – I knew they didn’t have different DNA but they did, after all, talk different. And then I learned that the training that produces soldiers, and to only a slightly lesser extent the education that produces adults, is precisely about obliterating human judgment and sentiment. And that many succumb. And so now we have Israelis. And the capacity for self delusion and ugly denial and even aggressive and fascistic purpose, in the broad population – even if they didn’t constantly claim to have deep and special understanding of the ills of racism – is truly remarkable. Truly sad. Truly enraging.

Even as I cry for Palestine’s pain and hope they prevail, part of me also wonders, when the dust clears, what the hell are the Israelis who are urging incinerating Palestine and Palestinians going to tell themselves so they can live with themselves? The corpses that look so human were really snakes? Or that I was, at least for a time, a monster? And what will they tell their kids? In order to live with their kids. And for their kids not to become monsters – one hopes.

And arguably even more so, what are the Americans with a disgusting past of supporting this horror going to tell themselves? And to tell their kids? And I fear the answer may be nothing at all. Because the ash can of history – which is CNN and the New York Times – may lug away culpability and truth by way of the sewage that is their reporting.

So who and what are the Germans today? Are they just like the bad Americans alluded to by Albert in the last paragraph above? Or are they worse? What of some moronic Arabs who still applaud Hitler for killing the Jews, knowing full well they would have been next? What of some moronic Germans who still applaud the Israeli army for killing the Palestinians? Is it really, as Albert says, to do with ‘training’ and ‘education’ that produces the obliteration of ‘human judgement and sentiment’? What makes people so appallingly bad? For an education in these matters I recommend the German anti-fascist Wilhelm Reich (and of course of Jewish extraction, like many a European intellectual – and being punished in the USA for it) and his book on Mass Psychology of Fascism (remarkably published in 1933) for an explanation of sorts (see extract in German below). Sure, everything in life is about ‘training’ and ‘education’.  Even if human nature were to dictate (via Albert’s DNA) that we are aggressive animals (as the German zoologist Lorenz claimed) hell-bent on killing and eating each other, there would still be the human capacity of benign ‘nurture’ (training and education, as Chomsky for example defines it) to mitigate ‘nature’.  If of course we combine lethal nature with lethal training (as we do with the universal soldier) and lethal  education (as we do with the intellectual commissars as Chomsky calls them) then we end up with Gaza, Nazi-Germany, Vietnam, Syria and all the wars and atrocities ever committed and yet to be committed. Just imagine both our human nature and nurture were of a benign character, designed to bring peace and social justice to all and sundry – then we could all sing the song IMAGINE and never having to put a single word into action! As it stands, the obstacles are just too great. Consider the UK’s top general (one SIR Peter Wall) who is reported to have said that

Afghanistan has left Britain with a 'warrior generation' of soldiers … British troops might have to return to Afghanistan if terrorists return there.

What hope is there when such ‘training’ bears such great fruit? What hope is there when Germans have to battle for ever with having put into action the totally insane idea of exterminating a whole race – the Jews -  by organised slaughter? Not that  others have tried it by other means, i.e. nearly exterminating native peoples like the Aborigines in Australia, the Maori in New Zealand, the Indians in the USA and the rest of the Americas – all done by covert neglect rather than by overt murder. It is often claimed that the victims of abuse will perpetrate the same abuse on others if they can. Will the Jewish state try to exterminate the Palestinians?  Albert quotes an Israeli MP who sounds pretty much like it:

“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
Ayelet Shaked, Member of Israeli Parliament

German fascism is a great role model for many such a nutcase, be they Norwegian, Israeli, Arab, American, Russian and what have you. The Germans let out the genie and nobody will ever get it back into the bottle. To commit genocide is a reality that is being tested again and again. The Hollywood movie idea that the good guys (the Americans and their allies) triumphed over the bad guys (the Germans and the Japanese) is being extended ad absurdum, i.e. the Israelis (Ukrainians, dissident Syrians, Chinese, etc.) being the good guys and the Palestinians (Russians, supporters of the Syrian, Chinese governments, etc.)  the bad guys, and the good guys will prevail over the bad guys because this is the way of the world. In Hollywood terms, why can’t bad Americans like Albert and Chomsky simply be good guys and get on with it? Why criticize the good guys like Obama, Bush, Rumsfeld, Clinton, Reagan (and did you know, on another planet, Arundathy Roy is even criticising Ghandi)? And as you know if you are a good guy in a bad country you will pay a heavy price. In the land of the free – the USA – you can be bad and criticize the good government and get away with it – or do you? No wonder good guys like Albert get totally confused about how to explain the bad guys amongst their midst. At least with Germans you know it is the language. It is a cruel language when spoken by fascists. English on the contrary is always  true to the word, so full of common sense, so full of common wealth. Thank god the Germans are learning English in large numbers. Maybe that’s the problem with the Palestinians? The Israelis all speak good American English, just listen to nice guy Mr. Netanyahu.

When history repeats as a farce it is easy to forget that real lives are expended by the thousands (at last count) and that life becomes so cheap as to be so meaningless as to be tossed away on the rubbish heap of history. The Israeli soldiers die for their country, the Palestinians die for nothing, following the German military practice that for every soldier shot by a partisan, a hundred civilians must die. An eye for an eye would be too cheap because the fight is not between humans, it is between humans and ‘snakes’ as Albert infers from the quoted Israeli MP. Why the reference to the Biblical (Freudian) ‘snake’ one may ask?  Wilhelm Reich (1933) explains this as part of uncovering racism which defines German fascism:

Die Geschlechtlichkeit verzerrt sich nun- mehr im Sinne des Teuflichen, Dämonischen,das zu bändigen ist. Im Lichte der patriarchalischen Forderungen erscheint die keusche Sinnlichkeit des Matriarchats als wollüstige Entfesselung finsterer Mächte, das Dionysische wird zum sündigen Begehren, das die patriarchalische Kultur nicht anders als chaotisch und schmutzig denken kann. Mit dem Eindruck der verzerrten, lüstern gewordenen menschlichen Sexualstrukturen in sich und vor sich, wird der patriarcha-
lische Mensch zum ersten Male in die Fesseln einer Ideologie gelegt, für die sexuell und unrein, sexuell und niedrig oder dämonisch untrennbare Vorstellungen werden.

To overcome such elementary and deep-seated psychological problems, a major revolution is required which few people are willing to consider. Reich is simply unpalatable when it comes to such matters of individual and societal survival: CREATION and PROCREATION. We are willing to consider political and economic revolutions – which never succeed -  but are we ready to consider a pathological ‘sexuality’ as the cause of fascism, as does Reich? If one really analyses statements as those by Shaked above, it is hard to escape the underlying sexual pathology, i.e. Palestinian ‘terrorists’ are the sons of bitches who should be exterminated just the same. Hitler’s racism theorist, Alfred Rosenberg, said as much, playing on the deep fear of the fathers who would rather kill their daughters  than see them seduced by ‘snakes’ in the apple tree. Given such primeval symbolism there is little wonder that the emotional responses engender a fascist ideology as described by Reich above. 

I would add that religious bigotry on all sides also has a root cause in such a pathology. After all the Israelis and Palestinians have few or no racial differences and instead project all their hatreds onto each other via religious differences: Judaism against Islam, and what with the Christians being  ambivalent  but in the end  favouring the Zionists simply to atone for what the German Christians did to the Jews (not to forget that the German racism was underpinned by the Christian religious fanaticism that has always declared the Jews as killers of Jesus). Marx was wrong to say that religion is the opium (a sedative) for the people: religion is the methamphetamine (speed) of the people that drives people to commit unspeakable atrocities.  Germany by the weight of its terrible history must support the state of Israel, come what may. The terrible ironies and attendant contradictions have no end. Albert will have to stay up many more sleepless nights pondering the impossible question on how to ‘become a good German’. Maybe Albert should consider the real possibility that German-speaking Jews like Reich and Marx (driven into exile to speak and write in English) are the only really ‘good Germans’ we know of.