On Feb 26, 2:31 am, kelpzoidzl <***@gmail.com> wrote:
Post by kelpzoidzl
There is plenty of reason why the Red Scares occurred,
It's called paranoia, fascist paranoia, a sickness with which you are
Post by kelpzoidzl
Anarchists in the 1936 Spanish Civil War
Ah, so now you're also a supporter of Franco's fascist Spain.
Is there any fucking murderous fascist whom you don't support?
Pinochet? Suharto? Pol Pot?
Kelps is the butt end of the collective insanity that seized the US
over the past 8 years of the neo-con Bush Administration.
The Oscar for Denial
And the winner is – The American People
By James McEnteer
February 24, 2009 "Commondreams" -- - Kate Winslet's Academy Award for
Best Actress in The Reader surely disappointed and outraged Ron
Rosenbaum. Amid the torrent of nonsense glutting U.S. media since the
movie award nominations were announced, Rosenbaum's objections to The
Reader were far more substantive and accusatory.
In his Slate column, Rosenbaum attacked the "essential metaphorical
thrust" of the film, which he said aimed "to exculpate Nazi-era
Germans from knowing complicity in the Final Solution." Rosenbaum
decried the notion of honoring "a film that asks us to empathize with
an unrepentant mass murderer and intimates that ‘ordinary Germans'
were ignorant of the extermination until after the war..."
Rosenbaum indicted "the Kate Winslet character's ‘illiteracy': She's a
stand-in for the German people and their supposed inability to ‘read'
the signs that mass murder was being done in their name, by their
fellow citizens. To which one can only say: What a crock!"
In fact it is a crock, a willful misreading of The Reader to lump it
in with a genre of films which exploit the Holocaust (e.g., Life is
Beautiful, winner of several Academy Awards). Bernard Schlink, author
of the novel on which the film of The Reader is based, told an
interviewer in December: "It's definitely not a movie about the
Holocaust. It's about a generation trying to come to terms with what
they had to learn about their parents' generation."
But Rosenbaum's Shoah sensitivities are Manichean. He concedes
nothing to the moral and emotional complexities within or between the
characters, especially in the film's central relationship between
Michael and Hanna.
Michael's passionate affair with the much-older Hanna at first uplifts
his adolescence. But when, as a law student, he witnesses her murder
trial, along with other former Nazi concentration camp guards, he is
devastated. Michael believes that Hanna has admitted to writing a
report about the death of 300 Jewish prisoners, trapped in a burning
church, in order to avoid revealing her illiteracy.
Michael tells his law professor (Bruno Ganz) that he has knowledge
relevant to the trial, perhaps in the defendant's favor. The older
professor urges Michael to speak up: You don't want to be like us and
do nothing do you? Here Ganz is referring to his own silent wartime
generation. But Michael cannot bring himself to visit Hanna during
her trial, even though he knows her illiteracy has probably condemned
her to a far greater penalty than her equally - or perhaps
surpassingly - guilty comrades.
The other guards have no moral sense. But they are rewarded for their
lies and stonewalling, receiving much lighter sentences than Hanna,
who simply blurts out the truth, takes the rap and ends up sentenced
to life in prison. She admits to having no moral sense, and therefore
must be the more strongly condemned. Does this really create undue
sympathy for Hanna, as Rosenbaum suggests? At the end of the film,
an escaped victim (Lena Olin) explicitly asks the adult Michael (Ralph
Fiennes) if he thinks Hanna's illiteracy mitigates her guilt. And he
As one of the law students in the film declares, the question is not
who knew about the extermination of the Jews. There were hundreds of
camps all over Europe. Everybody knew. "My parents, my teachers,
everyone." The question is, what did they do about it? The answer
is: Nothing. As the student says to the bemused Ganz: "The only
question is why you didn't all just kill yourselves?"
Rosenbaum incorrectly accuses The Reader of claiming that most Germans
were ignorant of the The Holocaust. The film's underlying assumption
is far more damning: everybody knew, but nobody acted on that
knowledge. Of course, as Samantha Power recounts in her Pulitzer-
Prize winning study of genocide, A Problem From Hell, the United
States was also well aware of Hitler's extermination of European Jewry
before and during World War Two and also chose to do nothing.
Power's book is a shocking indictment of American neutrality in the
face of evil, during the Holocaust and other systematic programs of
genocide all around the world - in Turkey, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda,
Iraq and elsewhere - over the past hundred years. "The key question"
writes Power, after presenting hundreds of pages of documented
evidence, "... is: Why does the United States stand so idly by? The
most common response is, ‘We didn't know.' This is not true."
"Because the savagery of genocide so defies our everyday experience,
many of us failed to wrap our minds around it," Power's says.
"Bystanders were thus able to retreat to the ‘twilight between knowing
and not knowing.'" It was easier not to probe for certainty because
uncertainty did not demand action. Power concludes that America
failed to act against genocide not because the country lacked
knowledge or influence but because it did not have the will to act.
U.S. officials "were not prepared to invest the military, financial,
diplomatic, or domestic political capital needed to stop it."
Now the United States faces a new moral crisis, the subversion of our
own legal and moral values by high officials of our own government.
We are, in this moment. as awash in complicity and willful denial as
the principled middle-class denizens of the Third Reich. We are the
Good Germans of the new millennium in Bush America because we knew
about the illegal kidnappings and tortures, the self-serving legalisms
that subverted the Geneva accords and papered over Constitutional
lapses, the lies that led us into conquest and occupation. Starting
well before the invasion of Iraq - which millions around the globe
protested in unprecedented numbers before it occurred - we knew the
"weapons of mass destruction" and Saddam's connections to al-Qaeda
were bullshit excuses. But many millions of us tried to pretend that
we really weren't sure.
In his Sunday column entitled: "What We Don't Know Will Hurt Us,"
Frank Rich remarked upon this "American reluctance to absorb, let
alone prepare for, bad news. We are plugged into more information
sources than anyone could have imagined even 15 years ago... Yet we
are constantly shocked, shocked by the foreseeable." Or as Bob Dylan
put it, in the context of race relations a generation ago, "How many
times must a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?"
We know, deep inside us we know, as the Germans who kept their heads
down and tried to lead ‘normal' lives as genocide exploded all around
them, in their name, by their own government, knew, that our
government has committed terrible atrocities at home and abroad. If
we do nothing to bring these crimes to light and their perpetrators to
justice, then we are as guilty and worthy of moral condemnation as the
war generation of silent Germans whom Ron Rosenbaum rightly abhors.
For Bernard Schlink, this knowledge, that his parents' generation
denied, "makes me aware how thin the ice is on which we live."
Schlink believed that German culture and institutions like courts,
universities, churches, unions and political parties "all seemed so
solid." And yet it all broke down, "relatively easily." In America
too. Somehow we allowed our government to invade a country that had
committed no aggression toward the United States. We allowed our
government to declare an emergency in order to violate human rights of
many thousands of individuals, to commit torture, to incarcerate
people for years without trial or hearings of any kind. And today we
continue the violence in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan. We
continue to jail and abuse individuals without charges. And we all
know it's wrong. And it's time to deal with it before our "land of
the free" is irreparably compromised.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has laid out The Case for a Truth
Commission (Time, Feb 20). As Leahy says: "For much of this decade,
we have read about and witnessed such abuses as the scandal at Abu
Ghraib, the disclosure of torture memos and the revelations about the
warrantless surveillance of Americans. We need to get to the bottom
of what happened--and why--to make sure it never happens again... to
find the truth....
"But to repair the damage of the past eight years and restore
America's reputation and standing in the world, we should not simply
turn the page without being able first to read it.... We need to get
to the bottom of what went wrong after a dangerous and disastrous
diversion from American law and values. The American people have a
right to know what their government has done in their names."
It's not just our right. It's a fundamental need. German society is
still - and may always be - in recovery, not just from the atrocities
committed in its name, by its leaders, but from the silent
acquiescence of the millions who lacked the will to speak up against
what they knew was wrong. To sweep the crimes and excesses of the
Bush-Cheney years under the rug would destroy the American soul. The
world needs the American sense of justice now more than ever. But we
forfeit our moral authority if we do not take responsibility for the
crimes of the Bush-Cheney years. Karl Rove continues to flaunt
congressional subpoenas to testify. He figures he can stonewall
indefinitely, that there will be no day of reckoning for lawless U.S.
officials. We must do everything in our power to prove him wrong.
James McEnteer is the author of Shooting the Truth: the Rise of
American Political Documentaries (Praeger 2006).