Holocaust started in living rooms and beer halls and was enabled by those staying silent and making excuses
By Gaurav Sabnis
I’m mildly surprised that the Muslim world and especially Muslim social media worldwide is mostly ignoring the daily assaults on Muslims in India by the state on a daily basis.
You don’t have to have a doctorate in history to see the direct parallels. Nazis used a pincer movement strategy not just on the battlefield but also against their hated minorities. From one side, vigilante mobs butchering people. The other, legislation & economic attacks.
I'm mildly surprised that the Muslim world and especially Muslim social media worldwide is mostly ignoring the daily assaults on Muslims in India by the state on a daily basis.
— Gaurav Sabnis 🇮🇳🇺🇸 (@gauravsabnis) November 17, 2021
In 1930s Germany, they created legislative hurdles against marrying Jews. And roving mobs of Brownshirts would punish defiant lovers and even random couples. Ranging from public shaming to murder. That is playing out with love jihad and Romeo squad.
In 1930s Germany, they first whipped up sentiment with a lot of economic boycotts of Jewish businesses and widespread vandalism and consequence-free mob violence against Jewish stores. Then they moved on to “legally” hit their livelihoods too. What’s happening in Gujarat.
BTW all this was years before concentration camps. All this was happening in full public view, loudly broadcast to the world, before and during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Concentration camps didn’t spring out of nowhere. There was a steady and public buildup to it.
You don’t have to be a Muslim or even a “liberal” to see the parallels and be alarmed and speak up. Anyone who is not an actual fascist should be alarmed by the daily news of what seems like a coordinated anti-Muslim campaign, in a pincer movement. From mobs and the state!
Anti-Muslim violence and state actions are not new to India. But what is happening currently is at a whole other level. As close to 1930s Germany as you have seen anywhere since. The systematic dismantling of a diverse republic by fascists targeting minorities.
When all this was happening in Germany, the creators of Hindutva like Savarkar, Golwalkar were total fanboys and wrote glowingly about this cool new ideology that they thought would be perfect for us most awesome purest brahmins too! They even reached out to become pals.
But Hitler wasn’t really into Indians, not even us most awesome bommins. He even writes disparagingly about Indians as a race in Mein Kampf, a book still widely sold in India. Because it’s the grandkids of those fanboys now getting their turn in India.
Remember that Germany was a pretty well-educated and generally socially progressive country in the 1930s with a thriving media culture. Writings from then show that an overwhelming number of Germans didn’t consider themselves anti-Semitic. But that wasn’t enough.
Even if they didn’t consider themselves full-fledged anti-semitic, a large number of apolitical moderates did carry biases and resentments about Jews. What they considered “legitimate disgruntlements”. Which were regularly and frequently milked by the Nazis.
There was a lot of “I’m not one of these anti-semitic Nazis and I have many Jewish friends and I think Dr. Einstein is a national treasure, but you have to admit on this <XYZ> issue, it’s about governance and law and order.” in 1930s Germany.
And then it was like the amoral ideological version of a compulsive gambler who goes in deeper and deeper, not because heb actually thinks he’ll win in the end, but because he’s gone in so far, what’s another round? Anti-semitism ramped up dramatically as Nazis upped paranoia.
“Germany desh mein rehna hoga, Heil Hitler kehna hoga.” A big chore for the US embassy staff in Berlin those days was rescuing some unsuspecting American tourist who was either beaten up by Brownshirts or randomly arrested for not responding to a Hitler Salute.
Just a reminder that Germany even then was one of the most progressive, well-educated countries in the world. Most Nazi leaders had formal education, many had advanced degrees. Stop thinking that education is a cure for fascism.
“Heinrich Himmler!” I’m sure you think of this name and imagine a rabid lifelong bigot. Nah, this Munich middle class kid of a school teacher was living a pretty nice life compared to 99% of his fellow earthlings. Look up his origin story. See the parallels! Wake up!
I guess what I’m saying is that if you’re still an RSS/BJP supporter who thinks they don’t actually hate Muslims or Christians or Farmers or Dalits but “least worst option” & “some good initiatives” and “what is the alternative”, you’re like most “Aryan” Germans in 1930s.
Most Nazis didn’t think of themselves as Nazis. Most Sanghis don’t think of themselves as Sanghis.
Just imagine that this dude Himmler was so upset that his parents couldn’t pay for his doctoral studies and he had to get an office job to make a living that he went on to exterminate millions. What education could have changed him? What “poverty” led him to mass murder?
That’s kind of the point I keep trying to make in this thread. That the main fuel of fascism isn’t the screaming stormtrooper who looks like Arnab but rather the genial moderate enabler like Shekhar Gupta, or 90% of your WhatsApp group that stays silent when Sanghis post filth.
Hollywood with its endless movies on the subject, hunting for easy narratives, has created this impression that WW2 was like Lord of the Rings. Very clear bad guy. Very clear good guys. It was not! Read the actual history. Read stuff from those days. Reality was like today.
Almost 90 years later, we think of Nazis as these hulking menacing specimens rolling everyone over with overwhelming force. And there was a phase when that happened. But it started in living rooms and beer halls. And was enabled by those staying silent and making excuses.
When you read the real history of the rise of Nazism, once you’re done fetishisizing all those WW2 battles like the media-military complex has you do in your younger days, you start realizing that Hitler wasn’t some Thanos type guy. He was more like a Thane type guy.
1930s Germany was a very fun, chill, rocking, hopping place for those not in direct crosshairs of the Nazis. American & British travelers arrived in droves, throughout all this news of open anti-semitism. Thinking “it’s their internal matter. I’m just a traveler here.”
Spoiler alert: It stopped being an internal matter of the Germans very fast.
This is one thing I keep obsessing over. Germany, with 1% of the world’s popn, and no real colonies to speak of, embarked on an ideology of violent nationalism based on punishing minorities. It caused the greatest war in human history.
India is like 18% of humanity.
Let me put this in another context. Syria is 0.2% of the world’s population. When it faced a humanitarian crisis, the world struggled to accommodate its refugees. India is about 18% of the world population. Indian Muslims are about 3% of the world’s population. Get it?
I feel like five years later, I’ll either be looking at these tweets and laughing about how paranoid I was. Or I’ll be in hiding.
[From Gaurav Sabnis’s Twitter thread]