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Voices

Keeping up with the Joneses, not the Himmlers

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HOWARD FELDMAN
I knew when the Hermes belt was about to make it big and when elbow patches were to make a resurgence. And of course I knew about colour blocking, well before it became popular.

But I missed the whole Hitler thing. Completely. Didn’t see it coming. One day he was a tyrant, a mass murderer and a name mentioned in whispers. And the next day he is back. And he is everywhere. 

At first I was shocked. Appalled. Winded. Deeply offended. And then there he was again and I was angry, really angry, and then I saw him again and again and again. And now I am battling to maintain my outrage.

I know that it is despicable and that it mocks the memory of our great grandparents, grandparents and parents and it mocks us and our children, but I am finding it so hard to feel it.

When one of our boys is killed in Israel, when we are attacked and then blamed and vilified, I feel it to the point that I can weep. When we are accused of war crimes when nothing could be further from reality, I want to scream at the lies, the deception and the hypocrisy.

When our shuls are attacked in France and when Belgian stores refuse to sell to Jews, I burn with frustration and with impotence.

I feel ashamed and astounded that fellow South Africans can tweet “Keep Calm and Kill a Jew” when they understand what racism is, better than most. But yet another image of Hitler? It’s actually just stupid and it’s pretty boring.

The publishing of these images is clearly a brazen attempt to hurt and to provoke. Does this follow that responding to it, like we would to the class bully, would in fact give them the power over us? And that being the case, would no reaction be the best reaction of all?

Or by not reacting, have they achieved an objective of being able to say the most heinous hate speech things without consequenc?. Have they simply desensitised us and the rest of the world to speech in its most racist and bigoted form?

All I know, is that I would so prefer to be spotting the latest trend in footwear and making sure that I keep up with the Joneses and not the Himmlers. Can’t we go back to that?

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joan Struck

    Jul 30, 2014 at 5:54 am

    ‘I still burn with anger when I read all the in your face anti semitism. The atmosphere in France! Germany! England against the Jews , is more than discussing and scary, but at least some of their government members have spoken out against such vile actions. In South Africa, the whole of the ruling party stand behind all the hate speech made by one of their members, minor members and main parliamentary representatives . How revolting and scary is that!’

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