I have actually hung back a bit about writing this. But it is happening too much now and I've had it. It started with being in Westmount Mall and walking through their little travelling 'antique and collectible' show...you know, vendors come in and set up a table with over-priced antiques and then watch the people go by. One of the vendors had a nice big display of replicas featuring Nazi symbolism. Twyla and I were both shocked and disgusted and said so loud enough for him and his erstwhile customer to hear. If he'd had a Nazi dagger to shoot out of his eyes we wouldn't have left alive.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the son of a person who was once a very close friend requested "friending" on Facebook which I complied to. I'm not sure why...I barely know him and he is 15 or so, but I thought what the hell. A short time after that the kid posted a meme glorifying Hitler's massacre of 6 million jews as being funny and comparable to a video game. The initial shock at opening my Facebook page and seeing the Fuhrer with some supposedly funny (really only sick) line was compounded with the shock of how many people were 'liking' it. I thought about giving the kid a lecture but then thought that, since he really seemed to be getting into drugs and the whole slacker mentality I thought what's the point. I just got rid of him.
It culminated yesterday...Valentine's Day, with another friend whom I had thought better of posting a cute little Hitler Valentine. I was so shocked and disgusted and horrified. I literally felt nauseous and posted in the comment area..."WTF".
It was about all I could think of. Then a friend of his commented how hilarious he thought it was. I commented further that there was nothing cute or funny about Hitler and said how disappointed I was.
His little friend then informed me that I should "lighten up, chick". I think my mouth dropped to the floor at that.
(That comment disgusted me almost as much as the post itself, I have to say).
I thought, you know what. I don't need this shite and just got rid of the whole lot including my 'friend'. I also stated on my FB page that anyone else who thought Hitler was a hoot would be treated the same.
Went out, did the usual Thursday thing and got home a little before midnight last night. And what did I find?
Well, let me just tell you. It was a little lecture from my "friend" telling me
"befriending (sic) someone over something so superficial as a taste in comedy is a pretty drastic measure. I kind of thought you would be more of an understanding. You may not find something humorous, but demanding censorship of something that is offensive to you personally without even approaching the person directly is equally as offensive...Sure shows a lot more of your personality than I would have originally gauged."
Let me just share a little something. Finding Adolf Hitler to be a cute and funny meme is not a taste in humour. It is not dark humour. It is, simply put, disrespectful, ignorant and cruel.
This is my reply, in full, with the exception of names:
"I'm afraid you are right. I am not open minded in the least about Hitler. This is a regime that murdered my people (the Roma) wholesale in ways neither of us can imagine. Murdered gays, performed the most vile experiments on them. I have family members whom I love who are homosexual. He tried to obliterate an entire race of people...all of the "racially undesirable elements " whom I would have been included as. Some of those people are still alive who lived through that.My family is still alive and remembers it. So please. Don't you dare lecture me about how you've learned what kind of person I am. On the contrary. This "chick" has learned what you and your friends find to be funny and I am not even remotely interested in hearing about why I should lighten up about it. I invite you to go and spend some time at Auschwitz or Buchenwald and talk to some of the survivors and explain to them exactly why we should just lighten up about Hitler. Then you can explain to me exactly what is humorous about posting that bastard's face as something cute that we can all have a little giggle about. The Nazi regime is not gone. It is still very much alive and growing and they want to see the same thing happen again to people like me and my family and all of the other innocents whose blood will soak the soil of Europe forever."
I admit to a tired fury last night. It kept me up much of the night. The thought that we are so far removed from something that happened not that long ago...in fact there are still people alive who remember their families being butchered before their eyes...that we can find the master mind of this butchery cute and funny strikes me with an unprecedented horror.
Vivisection, gas chambers, roads made from the ashes of the slaughtered, human experimentation, torture to rival the Inquisition...maybe even put them to shame...lampshades and accessories made from human skin, concentration camps...babies torn from the arms of their screaming mamas and dashed over rocks...what is funny about that?
As I said to my friend...What The Fuck?...is wrong with you?
How did we come to such a place where the blood of innocents is spat on, their memories trodden on for a cheap laugh? How have children been raised less than a hundred years after these atrocities who think that this monster whose legion of followers is growing is fair game for a cute Valentine?
My mother and I don't get along for many reasons. But I appreciate one thing she did for me and that is making me face the Holocaust head on. And maybe this is what is wrong here. My family is Roma (Gypsy). Some of them don't even know it or maybe they just don't care. But my mother and my grandfather made sure I did and I have made sure my siblings know it. Grandpa once told me to smarten up, shut up and basically suck it up when I was moaning over some trivial foolishness when I was nine or ten. I am Roma and I don't need to bawl. I need to be proud. That was it. I didn't know what it meant then. Had no idea. I do now. My mother didn't talk about it much but she did make me sit with her and watch a movie called "The Holocaust" when I was about the same age. I was utterly horrified. She spared me nothing. She did not cover my eyes or soften the blows. Those images haunt my dreams and waking nightmares to this day. And you know what? Good. They should haunt all of our nightmares. They should be etched into our species memory forever.
I know this. If a child of mine, however old they were, EVER posted a cute little picture of Hitler with a funny little saying and then laughed...laughed about it I would beg borrow and steal the money to be sitting on the soonest flight to Europe with them. We would make our way to Auschwitz and there we would stay and look at every picture on the wall and every film available and talk to every survivor willing to drag that black nightmare of horror out of their poor memories and every gas chamber, torture chamber, vivisection and dental chamber would be visited and when that child cried out for me to stop, that they understood, I would say that is what the Jews and the Gypsies said and they were shown no mercy. I would ask them if they still thought Hitler is a joke.
I have been brutal in my education of Twyla where the truth is concerned. She will be the same. As long as we live it will never be forgotten. The people slaughtered by a psychopathic monster with the blackest of souls will not be a joke. And if you think that he is a joke you are no friend of mine. I stand on the side of those butchered by that god damned lunatic and his followers. There is no grey area here. There is no place for humour here. There is no "lighten up chick." There is black and there is white. Choose. Your. Side.