Posts Tagged ‘repression’

How Easy It Is

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

“A large swath of humanity just seems highly suggestible and follows the lead of people they’ve come to admire. That sometimes turns out fine, and sometimes not.” From yesterday’s Letters from the Berkshires.

Recovering from CoVid 19 is difficult in more ways than one.

Although I’m pretty sure this is true for all religions, my Roman Catholic education and upbringing  instilled in me and my peers a desperate need to be constantly productive and to feel bad if we weren’t, because that would be the very definition of LAZY. We were all indoctrinated, brainwashed really, and it has stuck all the way into an eighth decade. Now, sickness has thrown a spanner into the personal productivity assembly line.

I was reminded of that today, as I was fighting the virus and found myself somewhere between productive and lazy, leaning toward lazy, when I picked up a story from the Associated Press (AP) (no byline given) describing the harshly repressive actions taken by Vladimir Putin’s Security Police against even the slightest hint of criticism for his growing-more-barbaric-by-the-day immoral destruction of Ukraine.

It seems now, and the AP story documents this, that most Russians (although we may never know for sure) have swallowed Putin’s Kool Aid to the point where the Russian sociological landscape is beginning to look like that of East Germany’s before the fall of the wall. Neighbor is turning in neighbor for the slightest whiff of disagreement, or even enquiry. This happened fast.

Much of humanity continues to demonstrate how susceptible it is to believing something absent any evidence, any factual confirmation, as long as leaders tell it to them repeatedly. Over and over again we see this everywhere. Look no further than the Big Lie here in the USA. But at least falling for the Big Lie is yet to get people killed (as long as you don’t count the January 6th Insurrection).

Until 23 February, Ukraine and Russia were neighbors with often overlapping histories* covering several centuries. Despite the fighting raging in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, most of the country thrived.  Ukrainians had friends and relatives in Russia and Russians had friends and relatives in Ukraine. They spoke to each other – usually in Russian. But then overnight, Ukrainians became “bestial” Nazis, and now the mission of the Russian state seems to be to exterminate the population, the very definition of genocide. And sadly, most Russians appear to be buying the lie.

I will leave you with this little morsel to digest;

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war, neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a Communist dictatorship. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

That was Reichsmarschall Herman Göring, second most powerful man in Nazy Germany, a man who knew a thing or two about committing Genocide, answering a question from  Gustave M. Gilbert a psychologist who had access to the prisoners during the Nuremberg trials in 1946. The quote is taken from “Witness To Nuremberg,” (Arcade Publishing, 2002, page 30) by Richard W. Sonnenfeldt, Chief Interpreter for the American prosecution, who was present as interpreter and translated and recorded Göring’s response to Gilbert.

*One part of those overlapping histories, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor, happened when the Georgian Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, exterminated millions of Ukrainians by intentional, genocidal starvation in 1932 and 1933. Mr. Putin doesn’t talk about that.