Years ago, a professor told me of a situation at her university in which a colleague of hers broke down while describing the massacre at Nanking to her students. The professor remarked not about the break-down but about the complete lack of empathy her colleague’s students had shown to their teacher. Worse, still, many students laughed, poking fun at the professor’s colleague because of her “softness.”
A little after that, I read that Justin Bieber had gone to Anne Frank’s house and tweeted some inane and tone-deaf nonsense about whether the young diarist would have “been a Belieber.” No tweets about the sheer human tragedy of the Holocaust or even a personalized memorial to Frank herself.
Of late, we see the crude recrudescence of Nazi symbology and have “normalized” favorable insinuations about Hitler and National Socialism as a whole- in Europe, North America, and even in Asia. Swastikas seem even to adorn cupcakes and ice-skaters find it okay to dress up as marked jews under the Nazis.
What do we make of this? Is it simply lack of historical memory and context? Is it the blunting of human emotions inherent in consumer culture? Is it the erupting glorification of narrow ethno-nationalism in which empathy across cultures, races, and creeds no longer exists?
Let’s openly discuss this on Countercurrents. Let’s involve ourselves in asking the right questions, finding some answers, and fighting for a better world.
Daag Ujjala is a freelance writer