Here’s a broad hint:
Yup, it’s cult indoctrination. And it starts at a young age.
In Germany, it started with the Hitlerjugend, that “youth club” that you had to join, or else. My late dad went with “or else”, because what were they going to do, jail a kid of 10 who didn’t belong to any of the groups marked as Hitler’s undesirables? And of course, they didn’t, and he got away with it. He was 12 years old, and still playing hooky from the HJ, when the war ended…and with it, supposedly, the very existence of a Nazi party and all its organs. At least in Germany.
But as anyone who’s taken a proper look at history could tell you, the Nazi party didn’t really die, either in Germany or anywhere else it had roots. It simply went underground. Now it’s back above ground again, wearing new faces and new uniforms but still just as fascistic as ever, and not just in Germany. Here’s what it looks like in Ukraine:
Most are in their teens, but some are as young as 8 years old. They are at a summer camp created by one of Ukraine’s radical nationalist groups, hidden in a forest in the west of the country, that was visited by The Associated Press. The camp has two purposes: to train children to defend their country from Russians and their sympathizers – and to spread nationalist ideology.
“We never aim guns at people,” instructor Yuri “Chornota” Cherkashin tells them. “But we don’t count separatists, little green men, occupiers from Moscow, as people. So we can and should aim at them.”
Cherkashin is a veteran of the fight against pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine; he was wounded in combat and later came to lead Sokil, or Falcon, the youth wing of the Svoboda party. It is important, he says, to inculcate the nation’s youth with nationalist thought, so they can battle Vladimir Putin’s Russia as well as “challenges that could completely destroy” European civilization.
Among those challenges: LGBT rights, which lecturers denounce as a sign of Western decadence.
“You need to be aware of all that,” said instructor Ruslan Andreiko. “All those gender things, all those perversions of modern Bolsheviks who have come to power in Europe and now try to make all those LGBT things like gay pride parades part of the education system.”
During a break in training, a teenager played a nationalist march on his guitar. It was decorated with a sticker showing white bombs hitting a mosque, under the motto, “White Europe is Our Goal.”
So there you have it, kiddies: To be a Nazi in Ukraine, you have to think of all sorts of people as un-people. Russians, LGBT+ people, nonwhite people. You know, PEOPLE. You have to think of PEOPLE…as not-people. For the sake of such idiotic abstractions as “nation” and “white Europe”. Never mind that those are actually non-things; you have to think of them as actual things, and things worth killing and dying for. Even though they are not things, and certainly NOT worth killing and dying for. You have to subscribe to the Newspeak notion of blackwhite — the act of believing that the truth is an untruth, and vice versa, for partisan purposes. And you have to start doing so as young as 8 years old, much the same as in Nazi Germany.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, we have THIS:
This was in Wisconsin. Apparently, the boys of the Baraboo high school class of 2019 had no problem doing this on the urging of a parent taking group photos. And the photographer who egged them on is backpedalling now that an unpleasant spotlight is on him:
The photo was first posted in an online album of BHS prom photos at wheelmemories.com, the website of local motorcycle photographer Peter Gust. It was posted to Twitter last night by the account @GoBaraboo, which calls itself a “parody account.” It was posted with the caption, “We even got the black kid to throw it up #BarabooProud.”
In a phone message left for Madison365, Gust said the photo was “taken out of context” and “as innocent as the boys and girls going to the prom.” He said he simply told the boys to “wave goodbye, heading off to prom.”
“No he didn’t,” said Jordan Blue, a BHS student who can be seen in the photo not participating in the salute, in a Facebook message to Madison365. Blue said Gust told the group to raise one hand for a photo.
“Which doesn’t give a bunch of teenagers a lot of guidance on how to raise their hands,” Blue said. “I felt upset, unsafe, disappointed and scared. I felt unsafe because I go to school with them, I don’t believe in what they represented and the symbol they shared … they knew it was wrong, but they still did it.”
If you’ll look closely at the second row from the bottom, far right end, you’ll see “the black kid”, whose name I don’t know. Contrary to what the @GoBaraboo Twitter account claims, he isn’t throwing up the Heil Hitler hand. And neither is another young guy, at the far right end of the very top row:
That’s Jordan Blue. And, if his face is anything to go by, he may be feeling pretty lonely in that pic, as one of the few who haven’t decided to play along with the steady creep of fascism. But he has some good company on the flip side of history. My late dad who refused to join the HJ, for one. And also, this guy:
That’s August Landmesser, the lone German who folded his arms and refused to Heil Hitler at the christening of a sailing ship, the Horst Wessel. He had a good reason for doing so: He loved a Jewish woman, whom he was not allowed to marry because of Germany’s race laws. Like so many other Germans, he joined the Nazi party less out of a sincere belief in its ideals than in hopes of landing better jobs and getting ahead. He soon had cause to regret that. He paid a hefty price for his (repeated) defiance of Nazi laws and customs. And his story ends very sadly, as many war stories do: He was killed in action.
But back to Baraboo: It would appear that the photographer who took that shot is lying when he claims it was innocent. Here’s a portion of a message that Jules Suzdaltsev posted on his Twitter thread about the story:
Nope, not just a harmless “wave goodbye” gesture, as the photographer claims it was. In fact, that claim wouldn’t even make sense on the surface of it, because this was the junior prom photo. Meaning, THAT class won’t be actually “waving goodbye” until NEXT year, at their senior prom.
As for the “it was a joke” claim, let’s look at the larger context of this shot, shall we?
A few years ago, a student at that same high school was killed in a crash. He wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. And how did his classmates choose to honor his memory? By driving around in trucks sporting Confederage flags.
And why was that an issue? Well, Wisconsin was NOT in the Confederacy. It was on the Union side. And very fervently so. But the fact that Wisconsin was on the side that won the Civil War, the anti-slavery one, the one that fought against racism, seems to have been slow to reach a lot of people there. Two racist vandals from Baraboo defiled the nearby Circus World Museum ten years ago with graffiti and arson, and “nationalist” fliers have appeared in the mail around Sauk County recently. The place is riddled with ill-concealed racism and even fascism, and it’s been going on under the noses of the “unsuspecting” locals for far too long already.
So it would appear that there is fertile soil for the dormant seeds of fascism to take root in rural Wisconsin, just as there is in Ukraine. The question which we all must ask now is:
Who will uproot and destroy these weeds for good, before they can go to seed again?