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And now what?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2016-01-31 10:51:22
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nazi02_400Two nights ago a group of nearly hundred Nazis, covered faces with ski masks and baklavas march in the centre of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in the most central and touristic area of the city and after giving around xenophobic and racist leaflets attacked young children and people with immigrant origins. Don’t worry they didn’t discriminate, they were after everybody that didn’t fulfil their stereotypes not asking IDs or passports. They actually beaten a police officer in civilian clothes because he looked like an …illegal immigrant.

Is this the new reality in Europe? And if this has happened in Sweden and caused a natural outcry from all sides of the social and political spectrum what’s really going on in Finland for example where the sons of Odin petrol the streets under the blind eye of a xenophobic to fascist government – thanks to Timo Soini and his cronies of the True/Pure Finns, what’s going on in Greece were the Golden Dawn is already in courts for murders and hate crimes what’s going on in Hungary where the prime minister, Viktor Orbán,  is a racist xenophobe.

In Denmark it was the international outcry that stopped the parliament from voting a law with roots in the Nazi regime and the consternation camps and there is no anti-democratic depth the Polish government hasn’t reached the last ten years. And there is no end in the list with what’s going on in Slovenia, in Estonia and Latvia or Germany, Belgium and Holland. Actually the whole of Europe (including the non-EU countries) is in front of the rise of the old foe. Fascism and Nazism are back and I’m afraid stronger as never before the last 60 years. 60 years ago fascism and Nazism was limited in the Nazi axis, nowadays we are talking about the whole west.

I have strongly argued that the financial crisis and the euro-crisis are not the problem and what made fascism rise. From the beginning I pointed – often against the majority – that the financial crisis was just the surface that helped the problem to unveil, the truth is that instead of doing something serious about the Nazis and the fascists in early 1990s when they started appearing in Europe, feeling probably guilty, we did absolutely nothing covering it under the carpet and using ironically and hypocritically democracy and freedom of speech as our excuse. Now, we just live with the consequences.

The best example that economy is just the surface of the problem and the easy excuse is USA. Doesn’t matter how the Americans like to call their GOP presidential candidates, the truth is that they are not much different than Timo Soini, Marine Le Pen and Nikos Michaloliakos put together. Racist, xenophobes, fanatics with Donald Trump on the top of them. Their absolute king. With 40% of the conservative America already blindly following him. And that in times that the American economy is in much better condition that has been the last fifteen years. With unemployment declining for the first time in those fifteen years and the bright new health care system that gives a life solution for millions. Still the American love a man with fake hair and arguments who preaches hate and violence.

nazi01_400The seed of fascism and Nazism never seized to exist. In the end of the WWII it was a case of national unity for a lot of European states, then they became part of the cold war against communist and in the end, sometime in the end of 1970s they became convenient. The boogieman, the scarecrow. A game for politicians. And this is what we pay this minute. The puppeteers proved too small to control the monster. And the monster has risen uncontrollably. And on their path they managed to attract the victims of the economic crisis.

During the beginnings of the refugee crisis this summer who have seen and heard the most inhuman hate speeches still the same time we have seen people in the limits of poverty themselves in the Greek island to do everything possible to help these refugees. We saw the same in Germany, in Croatia, in Austria, France, Italy, Spain even in Hungary, Poland and Finland. Aren’t they victims of the euro-crisis? Didn’t the economic insecurity the situation hit them? Are they mad or something?

The rise of the Nazism, fascism and racism in Europe and in general in the west, has its roots in the fact that we never really dealt with it. Executing the leadership of the Nazis after WWII we thought that it was enough and the same time using the ones left alive to build a new Europe, admiring their organizational skills – they actually kept lists with their victims in their concentration camps – and their anticommunism, we just kept them warm for the right time. And the right time is obviously now and we are called not to deal with them but to defeat them.

The appearance of the hundred masked men in the centre of Stockholm who beaten immigrant children to “show them” shouldn’t come as a surprise. We let them come into our lives and our streets with letting the seeds become Marine Le Pen, Nikos Michaloliakos and Donald Trump and further more EU letting people like Viktor Orbán and Timo Soini uncontrollably rule their countries. And still we are just watching. This is even worse!

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Gordana Mudri2016-01-31 12:34:31
It looks history repeats itself. Now what?? We learned almost nothing. It looks, as dark period is in front of us. Waiting for new heroes? Perhaps those from the southern islands or all those who give their hearts for others, regardless of his own poverty. Whoever survives - will tell...

Emanuel Paparella2016-01-31 14:31:21
Indeed Thanos. I wonder if what you report and analyze has an implied assumption, that multiculturalism and solidarity, as we know them, are dead in Europe, or perhaps that they were found too hard (Chesterton said the same for Christianity) and were never tried at all?

And so we are left with the semblance and the shell of democracy praised in theory but violated in practice. The return of fascism and Nazism is not only disturbing but ominous. They may well portent the loss of the democratic spirit and the return of one of the main causes of war and turmoil in Europe in the 20th century: rabid nationalism and xenophobia marching on as noble patriotism, which ultimately will mean the abandonment of democracy and solidarity and, most tragically, of those noble political experiments called the EU and the US to return to the well tried and well known totalitarian approach and the cult of political personalities and sheer power on both the right and the left of the political spectrum. I hope that you and I are wrong about this but the signs are surely not very encouraging. To lose hope would be tragic at this moment. The most discouraging sign, one that you hint at, is to see good men ignore the simple fact that for evil to triumph all that is needed is for good men to do nothing but watch and wait. Alas, that lesson does not seem to have been learned either, and perhaps has been all but forgotten. Those who forget or worse, revise their own history for ideological reasons, are bound to repeat it eventually.

Leah Sellers2016-01-31 19:11:45
And what's even more amazing about the Folks responding positively to all of this Negative and Bestial Energy, is that they think that Fascist, Dictatorial Chest Thumpers like this symbolize and epitomize Strength and Forward Movement.

Emanuel Paparella2016-02-01 12:22:55
If I may be allowed a post-script to my comment above: it may be worth to reflect on the fact that the Enlightenment of the age of Reason, while claiming a giant step forward in human development within the history of Western Civilization, contains nevertheless, a terrible flaw: it tended to look forward and ignore its historical origins which were rooted in ancient Greco-Roman culture and the Renaissance. As a result a near cult of “inevitable progress” was developed, still alive and well today. How fallacious this determinism of unstoppable progress was is more than proven by the fact that in the 20th century while technological progress did not abate, moral development not only made little progress, but it actually regressed to the level of the beastly and the monstrous, further back than even cave man, mired in a rationalism run amok violating human freedom and human choice and deluding itself that it could rationalize what cannot be rationalized; phenomena such as the Holocaust and totalitarian regimes on the right and on the left of the political spectrum. To be aware of such a flaw and enlighten itself, the Enlightenment would have needed to go back to its origins but, alas, it failed to do so and in the process it jettisoned one of its foremost original and fundamental elements: Christianity, which, as Chesterton put it, had been found too difficult and never tried at all thus becoming a convenient scapegoat for everything that was wrong with the Western vision of humanity; so fascism marching again and it considers itself inevitable and unstoppable.

If Emanuel Levinas has taught us nothing else it is precisely this flaw of the Enlightenment in denial of its origins, still ongoing unfortunately, which are to be found not in secular humanism issuing directly from era of the Enlightenment but in the original humanism of the 14th century springing from a synthesis of antiquity and Christianity.

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