Never Forget?

I try to make the case that war and conflict are less natural and inevitable than they appear, and I’ll try again here, but this one seems like one I’m likely to lose.

The idea of never forgetting what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, it sounds like a no brainer, but has it backfired, turned into sales for Hitler’s book instead of Frankl’s? Memory is one of those things, it’s not safe from our utilitarian and wishful editing, but more to today’s point, it’s very dependent on initial conditions.

I recently noticed that when my TV wants to talk to me about Hitler, that it shows me Hitler’s own films of his popularity, his lies, his propaganda. That’s the film we have, but so don’t show it then! Is that what we’re not supposed to forget? Because if that’s what you show, that’s what there is to remember and this is the memory we are having to live with today. But this too is not today’s point.

The point today is that our own requirements, our own warrior society logos works against teaching it right and so remembering it right. I grew up in front of a television in the 1960s and I grew up understanding that a Nazi was a German soldier, or more generally anyone with a German accent – my culture’s recent enemy, the salient thing on TV was which country was the enemy, honestly, we knew about the holocaust, but we didn’t seem to talk about their whole ideology. Germans bad, was the point, and none of the conversations really went after their hate, because I see now, the point was stoking my hate, it wasn’t anti-hate, my TV, just anti-German.

I bet half of today’s American Nazis are the grandchildren of men whose hate had been focussed on the Germans, and hate is hate, it’s transferable.

I say we try forgetting next time, if we get a next time.

Jeff

Sept. 24th., 2020

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