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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 01:25 PM
Original message
On history and the sacred and the misuse of the sacred
Well, after some thinking about this... NAZI thing I have come to realize something that is worrisome in the extreme., The Nazis, in a sick way, have entered the realm of the sacred. When we talk about them and the horrors of the regime, it is like entering a special place, a unique place. We are told, they are the extreme and never happened before or after. Any historian with ANY knowledge of the history of genocides... can quickly tell you that it is NOT that unique. Hell, even that wonderful book (the other sacred) that our Christian Right loves to quote, has a pretty detailed history of A GENOCIDE in the story of the taking of the promised land by the people of Israel, No, Joshua did not tell the people at Jericho to please vacate the city... what his troops did was kill every man, woman, child and animal.

Of course there is the story of Carthage... the Romans went so far as to salt the land.

In modern times we had the other great Genocide of the 20th century... the Armenian Genocide, which in methodology predated the Nazis in some respects.

But we are told... no, this is unique. No it is not. But as long as we are told that we need to be quiet like church mice... and believe that this was so exceptional, we will NOT be able to learn the lessons. One of the lessons is the consolidation of the media...

But there is another lesson... one that many of you will NOT like. I guarantee it.

We are already engaging in the very early DEATH PANELS that the Nazis did with the T-4 program. So what if we are not having a doctor INJECT poison. History never, ever repeats itself fully... but what is going on in AZ has eerie echoes. They ARE death panels, not unlike those established by the state in the 1930s... of course WE in the good ol' US of A were also using Eugenics during that time... and today we are using the same eliminationist language.

So yes, I will say several things that will look crazee to the church mice.

1.- The holocaust had 15 million victims... not just six million Jews. Proportionally the Jews were the largest group of victims, but they were not alone. I say this as a Jewish child of a holocaust survivor with a history degree.

2.- It wasn't that fucking unique. Stop treating it as a sacred (in a sick way) space.

3.- You want to learn lessons... well fucking learn them...

4.- Never again right at the moment is quite empty, why? We refuse to learn them lessons, because we treat it the way we do.

I know this will fall on a few deaf ears... but Congressman Cohen was RIGHT ON FUCKING POINT, and the firing of Keith last night was ANOTHER marker towards that dark night.

Oh and it goes without saying... good night and good luck will now take on a whole new meaning,
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. as someone famous once said -- or maybe it was just my Friend holly --
Edited on Sat Jan-22-11 01:49 PM by xchrom
'there are no sacred cows'.
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handmade34 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. sacred.... ?
"...the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a "vast genocide . . . , the most sustained on record." By the end of the 19th century, writes David E. Stannard, a historian at the University of Hawaii, native Americans had undergone the "worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed, roaring across two continents non-stop for four centuries and consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people." In the judgment of Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr., "there can be no more monumental example of sustained genocidecertainly none involving a 'race' of people as broad and complex as thisanywhere in the annals of human history..."

http://hnn.us/articles/7302.html
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. exactly...
why it is not that fucking unique.

The reservation system had many elements later used by the Nazis for the ... ghettoes. (with some european flavor to boot)
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handmade34 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. you are a wise voice
time to start teaching 'history' again
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. And it still goes on via drugs and poverty. Our law enforcement people
once told me that they try to keep the natives in the confines of the reservation where they at least do no harm to the white community. That is paraphrased but it is the gist of the idea. Today on this res. it now involves only those deemed "trouble makers" but it is still the method.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. I know... the other big ignored secret
for the record, while the US is the worst offender in this... our neighbors to the North and South are not free of crimes either,.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. native groups are indangered wherever they are found mostly
because they have natural resources that have yet to be taped and they prefer to live simply.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. Eugenics and the holocaust were closely related. My family has
a lot of mental illness. In fact when we are talking just among ourselves we will admit that most of us show some signs of the severe problem that some of us have. My hobby is genealogy and I can trace it back 5 generations.

During the eugenics movement here in the USA two of my great aunts and an aunt were institutionalized because they were mentally ill even though the family was taking perfectly good care of them at home. In many parts of the country it was not just the actual patients but whole families who faced sterilization because they were unfit. So I am very fortunate that I am even here.

The problem with the idea that Hitler's Germany was somehow unique is that all we teach in high school is the basics and we often leave out any undesirable truth. And high school history is for most people the only history they will ever learn. Colleges specialize today so history is a lost education.

I have said before that it pains me to learn about the history of the Hitler movement because if fit his sixteen quarters rule and am afraid to face what I might have done if I had been born there. But the more I learn the more I see that we have to face that mankind is not beyond repeating these atrocities time and again. We must continue to guard against them and to do that we must talk about them.

Once again thank you Nadin.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. Free lesson: salt-sowing never happened at Carthage.
Another free one--people's view of what is "sacred" depends not at all on logic. Nazi comparisons are freely available for historical insight, but remain ineffective as public rhetoric so long as nothing Nazi can be publicly considered in a context outside of genocide. They are still available for use as public rhetoric, they simply aren't effective, and therefore are a poor choice, even in combating something Nazi-like, outside of exceptional circumstances.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. exactly- and that is the point I've reiterated over the past few days.
It's rhetoric that obscures the issue and ends up with the focus on the person making the comparison, ergo it's counter-productive.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Yeah I guess them Roman Historians, like Cicero, got it wrong
and no, we are not allowed to even use the word NAZI when the shoe fits in academia. this is not new... either.

We have tried and succeeded in making it something very unique... to the point that we need to talk around it.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 02:57 AM
Response to Reply #15
20. you're simply making shit up. not allowed to even use the word Nazi in academia?
Patently, laughably false.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 03:05 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. Evidently, the poster you're responding to is quite correct
Cicero never mentioned it, nor did any other Roman historian. It's a nineteenth century myth.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
8. let's start with a definition of the word sacred
Edited on Sat Jan-22-11 02:56 PM by cali
sacred - WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

sacred
adj 1: concerned with religion or religious purposes; "sacred
texts"; "sacred rites"; "sacred music" secular]
2: worthy of respect or dedication; "saw motherhood as woman's
sacred calling"
3: made or declared or believed to be holy; devoted to a deity
or some religious ceremony or use; "a consecrated church";
"the sacred mosque"; "sacred elephants"; "sacred bread and
wine"; "sanctified wine" sanctified]
4: worthy of religious veneration; "the sacred name of Jesus";
"Jerusalem's hallowed soil"
5: (often followed by `to') devoted exclusively to a single use
or purpose or person; "a fund sacred to charity"; "a morning
hour sacred to study"; "a private office sacred to the
President"

But put the definition aside. Let's talk about the straw men you construct. You state that:

"The Nazis, in a sick way, have entered the realm of the sacred. When we talk about them and the horrors of the regime, it is like entering a special place, a unique place. We are told, they are the extreme and never happened before or after."

Well, no. that's not the argument that's been made here.

You also claim that no historian worth his salt claims that the Nazi Holocaust was unique. Actually, quite a few eminent historians have noted the unique aspects of the Holocaust- it's methodology and mechanization of genocide was indeed unique.

The claim that there are death panels akin to the Nazis is utter dog shit from you, just as it's dog shit when the right makes the same stupid, hysterical claim that the new health care bill contains provisions for death panels. Isn't what is happening with the corporate control of health care bad enough?

Your constant twisting of history, revisionism and lack of any knowledge of historiography, is distressing- even more distressing is that people fall for it.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. +1...
Well said.

Sid
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #8
23. Fantastic post.
It's pathetic that the one person given to more pontificating on this board than any other lacks any foundation to actually do so.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. thanks. facts matter to me. so does history.
btw, if you're interested, this is an excellent read- written ironically enough, while the author, an eminent medievalist, was in the French Underground. He was eventually captured and murdered by the Gestapo.

http://www.amazon.com/Historians-Craft-Marc-Bloch/dp/0394705122
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felix_numinous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
11. I hear you.
The rewriting of history involves gaping omissions as well as reframing and renaming events. What better way to deny the possibility that genocide could be happening now than to deny it ever happened before? Is it sheer negligence or intentional that human rights have plummeted in this country? Who can't imagine that by denying millions of people jobs and benefits that the morbidity rate will go up? We do not dare ask this question. Millions are being tortured and incarcerated. But they work very hard to keep this invisible, certainly preventing discussion is the first step.

It is interesting that us on the 'left' (or is it us who are left?) who for the most part are peaceful, law abiding people, are playing by the rules with those on the RW who do not play by the rules. We on the left peacefully demonstrate, we petition, we support honest newscasters, we vote for candidates with honest credentials, endlessly compromise and expect the system to turn around. Not that these aren't great ideas, but it does not seem to be enough.

I believe that in order to deal with sociopaths in power, we cannot keep playing our hand as if they are honest. Someone has the answers to this. But we cannot afford to go on believing their lies, or the big lie, that they AREN'T capable of great crimes. And like Hitler who was LOVED by the German people, very charismatic people are capable of horrific abuses of power. This is a very hard mirror to gaze in, but gaze we must.

It seems it is time for 'tough love' --how do we enforce the laws of the land when the powerful elite are the ones breaking them?

This is not about President Obama, this is about the abuse of power that stands in the way of every good representative we have.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. really? you think that genocide is being practiced today, in this country?
Aren't things bad enough without the misuse of that term?
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felix_numinous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. deleted
Edited on Sat Jan-22-11 03:45 PM by felix_numinous
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. well the first step is to stop getting cowed
when we use the correct analogies
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. What is the point of "Never forget"?
Edited on Sat Jan-22-11 09:48 PM by Kurovski
Never forget, so that you recognize when it is happening again. What's the point otherwise, outside of mourning?

9/11 remembrances use "never forget", but it is the message of what happened throughout modern day europe that is devastatingly remarkable. for how so many came to be accepting of lies and manipulation, and scapegoating, and irrational, destructive emotion. Of violent talk and action. open threats and loss of liberty and the trashing of the democratic process.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-22-11 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. I grew up within the real inner sanctum of this sacred space
Shoa was not just a theory... but family history, and annual acts of contrition and remembrance. It was a day to sing the songs of the resistance... and to celebrate the heroes... it was a day to vow that NEVER AGAIN we would permit this.

If you stay within the temple it is easy to believe it. My first shattering came interviewing refugees from one of the small genocides of last century... when the Guatemalan government decided to cleanse the country from the Maya. Hearing the same stories that I heard during Shoa day now from a fifteen year old who lost her family is kind of unnerving and a heck of a wake up call.

So if the never again means we will not permit this to happen again, but at the same time we will ignore the obvious lessons...

It becomes quite hollow...

If we are to truly learn the lessons and make never again a reality, then we need to accept that each generation is capable of incredible evil, and that yes even the good ol' US of A is capable of it, because it has... (See Indian Wars)... but to do that... we need to be willing to NO LONGER be quiet as church mice, and understand that yes...we need to no longer shy away from any comparison, even if they sound crazy. Each needs to be examined carefully and assessed to see if we can use it to stop the madness BEFORE it gets crazy. As is, I fear it is too late. And soon we will all have to make a decision, bear witness for the next group to say never again... or fight and most likely die trying to stop it.

Alas Santayana had it right... but we keep repeating the same mistakes, since perhaps, as a species we are incapable of learning.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #18
22. I woke up this morning and realised I had misqouted.
It is "never again". and there is no real nuance in that. And that is as it should be.

Thanks.
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Atticus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
19. Damn, gal! You done good! nt
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
24. So this historian isn't "worth his salt", and you are more of an authority than he is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eberhard_J%C3%A4ckel

He's written quite a bit on the unique aspects of the Nazi genocide. There are dozens of historians who agree with him. And anyone who's ever really studied Nazi Germany and the Holocaust would know this fact.
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