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18 January 2008 @ 08:34 pm
About the preceding post  
I was paging through the latest edition of "What Is Enlightenment" last night and came upon a short feature entitled "Reflections on the Banality of Evil."  The article features a snapshot taken of Nazi SS officers whooping it up sometime in June of 1944. (See below.) These folks were apparently military staff at the Auschwitz death camp, enjoying some R&R at a recreation lodge near the camp.  The picture was taken from a distance, so it's hard to look into the eyes of these people for any signs of dullness, anguish, or distress -- emotions one might assume only thinly masked by the weird veneer of gaity, but they seem pretty genuinely happy to me -- or maybe they're just drunk. Of course, who can ever really know what's going on in a person's mind/heart?

After my initial astonishment, I wondered: is there much difference, essentially, between these apparently deeply asleep Nazis and us, Americans everywhere these days, buying loads of stuff at shopping malls, going out to dinner, theaters, movies, making love, reading good books, taking vacations, drinking wine, watching TV, going to the gym, chatting on our cell phones, chillin' with our friends, and  so on and so forth, while all sorts of atrocities are being committed against others in our name (as a nation) using our tax dollars...? Shortly after seeing the picture in 'Enlightenment,' I received an email plea from a group against torture asking people to call their senators or, if they had more time, to write a letter to the editor. Normally, I would have read it and then deleted it, telling myself that I didn't have the time or energy, but the image of the SS party animals gave me pause. I have them to thank, really, for inspiring me to write the letter.

Current Location: where it's warm
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
paisleychick on January 20th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Taking responsibility for our government's actions is hard and disgusting. Changes can be made and I applaud your action and thought. The machine doesn't want to be changed at all, but with enough momentum from the citizens it can happen.