Monday, April 10, 2006

REPOST: ILYA EHRENBURG



I hate to risk boring whattheheh, but as I have at least three new readers who probably haven't seen this, here goes. With a war raging in Iraq that threatens to spread to Iran, the fascists in our goverment against the fascists in theirs, I though this informative rant might just be timely...


Now here’s a guy who could lay down some serious smack against the fascists. Some thought, too serious. He is a controversial figure for his propaganda writings from Moscow during WWII when he exhorted soldiers of the Red Army to kill Nazi invaders in the strongest terms possible. Perhaps he did go too far as the Red Army desecrated Hitler’s fatherland encouraging the raping of German women as well. But then, they were wearing clothing and jewelry sacked from his country. Whatever your feelings about that there is no doubt that no one of his generation countered Hitler’s propaganda more forcefully. He reported on the Spanish War for several Russian Newspapers, drinking with Papa Hemmingway in Barcelona. A few words from the master:

“Unappeasable dark spite ignites the heart of fascism. This is the spite of the Ruhr magnates who in the twenties of this century became frightened of the morning dawn, of the maturity of nations, and of the idea of justice. This is the spite of Krupp, of Voegler, of the owners of Fiat and of Schneider who have called in a band of adventurers and unscrupulous killers for assistance. This is the spite of the Prussian barons, of the Andalusian earls, the Rumanian boyars and the Hungarian counts, the untalented and feeble-minded epigones of a once splendid world who look upon countries as hunting grounds with hounds, and at the peasants who collect acorns on the lord’s land as game. This is the spite of the little, ignorant, petty bourgeois, who is revolted by the complexity of culture, by the boldness of thought, and by progress. This is the spite of failures, of provincial Caesars, backwoods Napoleons who are thirsting to enter history, even if by the back door. This is the spite of the renegades who strive to defile everything that they once loved. This is the spite of old age, soullessness, and death.The Italian fascists, coming out onto the stage, dressing themselves up in black shirts, have established the cult of the she wolf and have adopted from the wolf pack the “Alala”. The Spanish Falangists have introduced the ritual of “betrothal and death”, carrying their banners to cemeteries, holding processions with naked hunchbacks, God’s fools, and gravediggers – processions resembling the nightmarish visions of Goya. The French Cagoulards put on blind capes taken from the Middle Ages born out of plague epidemics. The German SS men wear skull and crossbones on their sleeves. Goering has revived the executioner in a frock coat with an axe. Himmler has transferred into his torture chambers the torture instruments kept in the Nuremberg Museum. Even the Fascist window-dressing bears witness to black, desperate spite.Fascism is a monumental attempt to halt the course of history. It has resurrected certain rituals and delusions of the Middle Ages, but the peoples of the Middle Ages did not live only by these rituals and delusions; within them there burned a genuine faith; they created wonderful cathedrals, remarkable epic poems; with their labor, their ecstacy, even with their ignorance they prepared for the age of the Renaissance. The Fascists must not be compared with the peoples of the Middle Ages. They live in a different epoch. They attempted to abandon the concept of time; this explains their sterility. Of course Italy’s grapes still continued to yield wine even under Mussolini; of course Germany’s factories continued to function even under Hitler. But the Fascists did not create anything. They only mobilized contemporary technology for the struggle against the spirit of the time. They turned all achievements of civilization towards destruction.Italy was justly considered the land of the arts. Fascism did not give birth to any artists; Fascism killed artists. Can the Italian people be proud of the conquest of Ethiopia, which was subsequently lost, proud of the use of mustard gas against unarmed herdsmen, proud of the destruction of Malaga, of the shootings in Greece and the gallows in the Ukraine? Did the spirit of Da Vinci, Dante, Petrarch, Leopardi, Garibaldi express itself in these crimes? When reading the illiterate and dull books of Rosenberg , the articles of Goebbles and Streicher, can we find therein a shadow of German genius, the lucidity of Goethe, the complexity of Hengel, the love of freedom of the romantics? The destruction of hundreds of cities, Europe turned into a desert – such is the creative activity of Fascism. Countries cleared of people and the human head cleared of thought – this is Hitler’s ideal.It is not surprising that Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity, people with a slovenly biography, sadists, mental freaks, traitors. The untalented painter Hitler, the untalented novelist Goebbles, the untalented dramatist Mussolini - is it not striking that at the head of Fascists States there are people who dreamed of artistic laurels and were denounced as mountebanks? Fascism attracts all renegades. Judas hanged himself out of sorrow. The Fascist Judases prefer to hang others. Mussolini appeased his spite by the killing of two former comrades – socialists. In France Hitler found two followers, two apostates - Laval and Doriot. Sexual perversion and, in the first place, sadism have become a stronghold of Fascism. The morphine addict Goering, the lecher Goebbles, the sadist Himmler,”Doctor” Ley, the specialist in seducing those underage, degenerates about whose whereabouts directors of prisons and hospitals should be arguing, found themselves in ministerial positions."

There is more, it was a long rant, but you get the idea…

9 Comments:

Blogger KidKawartha said...

durrati-
Just checking in here. E-mail was forwarded. Have to read this post again before I comment. It's a good one, again.

8:11 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

Gang,

Don't miss Marks-O-Lot's thoughtful analysis of the impending Iran mess on previous post. I have the best commentors in the blogsphere, thank you all :)

3:58 AM  
Anonymous jackie_o said...

durrati,
I have entrusted my limited typing time to a response to Kid and a forward of my email will be coming to you, with my addy forthwith.

I read Marks-a-lot commentary and a agree it is very well thought out, despite his own analysis, and agree it is a must read.
durrati, your site has been been quite freeing, and I speak from my own prespective, in not feeling intimidated by writing what I believe and think. I thank you for the opportunity, little as I am able to take advantage of it.
Although this may digress a bit, I have long thought George Bush and Czar Nicholas II share some similarities in their failed Imperial Courts. Both had mystics and religion guiding their poor desicion-making. Both were completely out of touch with the serfs and peasants and had no compassion for their suffering. Both were Hell bent on winning an unwinnable war (from Russia's POV) because of a poorly equipped army and refused to admit mistakes. Both were dim and incurious and were completely oblivious to the corruption within the "palace."
I could go on, but I think anyone aquainted with Russian history knows the short comings of Nicholas II and it all began with his ascension to the throne. His incompetency was clear even to him. That was the real tragedy of the last of the Romanov dynasty.
Russia didn't have a choice, and then when a combination of tyranical church ordained leadership clashed with war, poverty, and the masses hungry and angry, something worse replaced it.
I guess I'm asking myself the question the Brits asked in 2004. How could (however million people) be so stupid?

1:39 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

I had never thought of it but you are so right, Jackie, the similarities are striking, it is said after each lost battle in WW I he would say "God will provide". Does this mean Rich Gannon is Rasputin? And does revolution wait in the wings?

I am glad you find it comfortable here Jacq and hope to enjoy your comments for many more posts...

May reply again after reading my e-mail....

3:09 PM  
Blogger Joe Don Martin said...

Durrati,

Franklin, Son of Billy, Graham is the Rasputin of this administation. Guckert/Gannon is simply the guy who puts the saran wrap on Rove's face and gives him a "Hot Karl". It's sad, really, Billy Graham was a true christian, a good man, and Franklin is just another fundamentalist fuckknob. Oh, and Rich Gannon is or was an NFL quarterback- but every bit as qualified as Jeff Gannon to join the White House Media Pool.

Joe Dong

3:58 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

Joe,

My Freudian slip is showing, those Raider uniforms are Hot!!! And Jeter is a damned Liar!

4:33 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Bore me? Never. Tried to leave a comment before work this morning, but Blogger wasn't in a good mood. Ilya - quite a orator and so very eloquent.
Marks comments were very intense, and brings Dr Strangelove that much closer. Scares the heck out of me. Rattling sabres at this time, when Russia and China are working behind the scenes for Iran, and with China practically owning the U.S. Debt, seems rather foolish, but I'm an out of touch, senile upper middle age lady, so what do I know, other than I don't want another world war. Although I was born between WW2 and Korea, as you know from previous comments, both conflicts had a lasting, indelible affect on my life. Today, I've learned to live with that but with regret for all the lost people and opportunities. In addition, my son is seventeen and my daughter 19 and any world wide conflict would see them affected if conscription (in my country) or draft (in yours) were re-introduced, and I cannot see how Mr Bush could possibly address Iran without a draft.
I want a world where everyone's children can mature to be the best they can be, where they can pursue their artistic leanings without fear, where our friends, many of whom are homosexuals of both gender, can live without fear, where women have a voice, where young men and women aren't sent off to fight old men's meglomaniacal wars to further their place in history - I know, I'm frothing. When will this end, damn it. Whoops, forgive the vulgarity.
Jackie, very interesting comparison, and one I would not have considered. I was thinking more along the lines of BushCo versus the U.S. administration during WW11. In that scenario, there is no comparison. Not that FDR was a saint, but he was smart, recognized the danger, built strong international alliances in secret to ensure that the U.S. was protected, before Pearl Harbour. When Pearl Harbour happened, FDR was prepared. Not quite what is happening today. You have brought another layer into the discussion, and I agree with Durrati. When you look closely, that comparison is quite astonishing. That creeps me out even more, but do not stop putting your thoughts and ideas forward. That is what makes it so interesting, this small community of ours.
How is your son doing?
Joe Don, I didn't watch Billy Graham - as an atheist at heart, I was never interested - but my mother and aunt were very religious. They watched all his crusades (what a foul word) and contributed monetarily to his cause regularly. I have no idea what was in the man's heart or mind - no idea whether he was a true christian and don't much care (a true follower of Christ's teachings, or a humanist has more meaning in my world). When, in a visit with my aunt, I had to watch one of his televised extravaganzas, I was impressed, sorta. He seemed to be saying all the right things, however I did some research afterwards. He was a very rich man and although he did some very estimable things with his money, he did not really influence all his very rich and powerful friends to focus on eliminating poverty or institutionalize equality - two steps forward, three back. He accepted their reassurances and continued preaching, but did not denounce the lack of progress. He was a figurehead, that provided his powerful friends with the cloak of religious respectability - regardless of party affiliation. He paved the way into televangelism for montebanks such as Swaggart, Hinn, Bakker, Moon - all of whom have been found guilty of various criminal activities and yet are still preaching and making even more money. To my mind, Billy enabled the neo-con movement by providing them with the way and means to further their agenda. I don't like Covey for the same reasons. Prey on people's insecurities, gain recognition then power and make money for you and your friends seems to be the mantra of these people.

5:09 PM  
Blogger durrati said...

whattheheh,

It never ceases to amaze me, I post my little pieces and receive the most amazing and lucid responses. It is distressing that so many in the world do not share your humble what should be universal concerns - the well being of their friends, family and community. Where indeed will the madness end. In Iran a small and unpopular cabal holds sway over a incredulous electorate, stating the presumed will of their God and advocating the destruction of millions of Israelis. In America a small and unpopular cabal holding sway over an incredulous electorate, stating the presumed will of THEIR God in opposition. All the while even Dr. Graham admits that belief in "God" requires an act of "faith". Where is the faith in what is real and tangible around us? The simple faith that JFK spoke of when he said that we and the Russians shared a common desire for a peaceful future for our children? Marks-O hit the nail on the head, we indeed live in "interesting times". Oh, for the dull and boring certainty of a tomorrow untroubled by meglomaniacs striving for power and vainglory...

6:14 PM  
Anonymous WhattheH said...

Durrati, unfortunaley, peace will not happen in our lifetime. I had hoped, in the seventies, that women would actually step forward, and for short period that seemed to be happening.
Sorry, but I had little hope that men would make a difference, not because they were incapable of change, but because they lived in a world of their own, and didn't want to relinquish their place of supremacy. Unfortunately, my doubts, my worst visions are coming true. The only good thing about it is that there are a lot more men who are actually getting involved, not because of the division of the sexes, but because they are finally recognizing that the whole human race is significant and what affects one sex affects the other regardless of sexual orientation. We are all human, and if we do not band together to take care of each other and preserve the planet, what will be left for our progeny?
Power is an interesting concept. You can only gain it and wield it, as long as there are others who allow you to do so.

8:59 PM  

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