- Australia: Religious Discrimination Bill 2nd draft (Conservative Coalition)
- UK: Conservative (Tory) win election + public protests ensue, threats to minorities
- India: Citizenship Amendment Bill (on the basis of religion passed by right-wing religious party) + public protests ensue
- USA: Don’t get me started.
There’s a lot of overlap here. And not forgetting the ongoing protests and struggles in South America, Hong Kong, the Middle East …..
And massive ecological damage …
The timing of these bills and protests stuck out as sore, concordant thumbs.
This is xenophobia and bigotry mandated by the state. And you can kiss any illusions that they will stop here goodbye.
People get dicey whenever anyone mentions the Holocaust. But here’s why it’s important as a warning.
This is not to say that Jewish lives are more important than anyone else’s…. In fact : Whilst 6 million Jews were killed, 11 million of other ethnicities (Roma, Soviet citizens, Poles, homosexuals, people with disabilities) were also killed.
Please remember that before you jump the gun. In fact, the figures may be even higher.
The reason why the Holocaust is so terrifying is that it was legal, in terms of the machinery of the state – right in the heart of Europe.
This was the continent that brought us modern political philosophies of liberty, liberalism and the humanist tradition.
Whilst there are older traditions and far more ancient kingdoms, the framework for the nation-state and it’s idea of sovereignty arises from the 1648 treaty of Westphalia.
In short, Europe was the birthplace of contemporary political institutions, their scope, language and agency. The same institutions and structures of power that continue to shape the world today.
And it was right there … in the heart of it all … that the Holocaust was allowed to occur.
It is a warning as to what happens when we hand power over to tyrants. And that it can happen anywhere.
We remember it now as a horrifying legacy of history too staggering to fully compute, a monstrosity.
It didn’t start out that way though.
The hate and bigotry was incrementally introduced. Step by step, the stripping away of citizenship, basic human rights, dignities. Each day normalizing the loss of freedoms a little more than the last.
It didn’t happen overnight.
When I think about the migrant children held in camps at the US border, the parallels are too horrible to miss.
In Germany, not every citizen was a Nazi, some stood by and let it happen. There was of course resistance, but also passive allowance.
Their leader was initially seen with admiration for his charisma and ability to quickly rebuild a nation. These were not the ‘villains of Europe’ from the get go.
Hitler won 36% of the vote (2nd highest) in the 1932 German presidential election. He was nominated as Chancellor in a legal way the very next year.
This was not a military coup or random event … This was a very legal transfer of power literally called the Enabling Act of 1933.
Which is why it pays to pay attention to what is happening in the legislature. Politics, whether we like it or not, affects us all.
It’s going to take watchful eyes and engaged action. We must look out for our fellow humans, irrespective of their race or creed.
We must be aware. We must remember that democratic institutions and elections do not always lead to life-affirming political arrangements for all.
That’s one of the biggest myths of democracy. A myth that I feel holds people back from realizing the full horror of what is incrementally getting normalized across the planet.
Despite all this … Despair and disconnection is not the solution.
We must remember that government derives its power from a shared belief in legitimacy amongst the people. And ultimately it is the people who have the power to empower or dissolve an existing political structure.
Part of why things seem so scary and hard to change is because we’ve been conditioned into thinking otherwise.
Speak up. Speak out. Don’t enable these acts of hate with your apathy, silence or passivity.
Take your stand. Make it count. This is the time.
Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD
The Sky Priestess
© Bairavee Balasubramaniam, 2019. All rights reserved.
Image: Pixabay, Solidarity-Help Statue.