Monday 17 February 2003

One Man Against the World

by Uri Avnery

- A great, civilized nation democratically elected a fanatic demagogue, who preached war. Actually, he did not really receive the majority of votes, but, somehow, his ascent to power was arranged nevertheless.

- Soon after assuming power, he manipulated a dramatic incident in order to tighten his grip upon the country and prepare for attack on smaller nations. An immense propaganda machine turned “enemies” into devils, the incarnation of evil.

- The call for war enabled him to unite the whole people behind him, to silence all opposition, gradually abridge human rights, overcome the economic crisis and embark upon a voyage towards world dominion.

- He loved being photographed in uniform, walking along lines of soldiers, pretending to be a great military leader ---

I mean, of course, Adolf Hitler.

The German people, which gave him power and followed him with closed eyes even when he committed heinous crimes, paid a heavy price. It has learned the lesson. Now it abhors war, any war, from the depth of its soul. Hundreds of thousands – young people, children, grandchildren and grand-grandchildren of that generation – march these days through the streets of Germany to protest against Bush’s war. Their leader, Schroeder, was reelected solely because he expressed this deep longing for peace. The most warlike people has turned into the most anti-warlike.

That’s great, isn’t it? Not at all! American and British leaders condemn Germany for its refusal to go to war. The Israeli government heap scorn on its head. Wet rugs, these Germans! Damn pacifists! Cowards! Pitiful people who refuse to fight!

All this less than 60 years since Hitler’s suicide. Who would have believed.

And this is not the only miracle that is happening these days. Not by any means.

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