The reason that I care about this food issue, although I personally can eat beef any day of the week that I may please since I live in the USA, is really simple. It ultimately goes back to the underlying theme of this poem:
“First they came …” is a poem written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). It is about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis‘ rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.
The best-known versions of the speech are the poems that began circulating by the 1950s. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many poetic versions of the speech:
|First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemöller created multiple versions of the text during his career. Though the most ubiquitous version is one that has been proliferated in the USA which omitted Communists (in a time of political sensitivity due to the Cold War). Niemöller’s earliest speeches, written in 1946, list the Communists, incurable patients, Jews or Jehovah’s Witnesses, and civilians in countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In all versions, the impact is carefully built up, by going from the “smallest, most distant” group to the largest, Jewish, group, …. and then finally to himself as a by then outspoken critic of Nazism. Niemöller made the cardinal “who cares about them” clear in his speech for the Confessing Church in Frankfurt on 6 January 1946, of which this is a partial translation:
|When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers.
Next are the madmen going for the beef eaters in some land far away from mine? Who’s to stop them if, as not shown in the above poem, we don’t stand up and stick up for each other?
The fact is that we are all in the same global mess together whether involving their fascism or other deep problems. For example, does anyone really think that climate change respects national boundaries? How about water deficits and poverty in some countries and regions that force people to flee to other ones? If a country increasingly faces creeping fascism, will it leave neighboring countries alone? Anyone can look at WWI or II for answers to the last question.
So are the beef eaters, the beef farmers and others in the beef industry going to be a new target for the fascists … well, at least in India? Are the rest of us just to turn a blind eye when one group after another is taken down as the above poem described can happen if we don’t rise up to care for each other?
Creeping Fascism: It Can’t Happen Here, Can It? | Alternet Trump’s storm troopers and the possibility of American fascism. This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.
Creeping Fascism — Alternative Radio Noam Chomsky. Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history …
Signs of fascism (and not all have to be present, nor at once, to constitute creeping fascism):
Political scientist Lawrence Britt wrote an article about fascism (“Fascism Anyone?,” Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine’s policy.
The 14 characteristics are:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections
Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
This article was based upon the article “The Hallmarks of Fascist Regime” by Skip Stone, at www.hippy.com/php/article-226.html.
Creeping fascism is a real occurrence that many countries are facing and we have to not be like the indifferent voice in the above poem, but stand together across national boundaries and in a sense of universal humanity with support to try to thwart it. Our massive union, unbreakable in strength through numbers, is the only way to possibly be successful.
So let’s not be sheeple. Martin Niemöller surely shows about where that sheepy dysfunctional callous path leads:
Although the version of gradual fascist control is different in India, it is every bit as dangerous as ours in the USA or present in other countries in yet other continulously new developing forms.
… and I’ll be darned if anyone is going to force me to pray on my knees five times a day, force me to wear oppressive garb just because of my gender, force me to never drive a car because of my gender, beat on me because of my sexual views that include support of the LBGT community, force me to conform to their sexual proclivities, nor force me not to eat certain kinds of foods like beef because it insults THEIR religion. I don’t even care if their underlying reasoning includes a sense of misogyny or for any other reason wherein my will and freedom are oppressed by their misguided, tyrannical, sick notions. No matter, I will stand and if standing alone against such unacceptable ugliness is the result, so be it.
No, I will not become a meek obedient shadow hiding in the curtailment or loss of my identity while covered in clothing that to me signify defeat and diminution of self. No, I will not stop eating beef if my government says that I must do so or, if caught, be jailed. … Ha-ha, I’ve had lots of friends jailed for civil disobedience and I’m not afraid of it. However, you will not put me in this plight, nor any other that ultimately manipulates and harms people:
Nope, this is not who I will ever become. Same for my friends, some of whom I met as a child. Here are two of many, who suffered for their views:
How far are you willing to go to stand up for your deepest beliefs? For Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner of Colrain, Massachusetts, their life-long commitment to …
Randy Kehler is an American pacifist activist and advocate for social justice. Kehler objected to America’s involvement in the Vietnam war and refused to …
Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943 – June 21, 1964) was one of three American activists of the Civil Rights Movement and also a Social Worker, murdered …
Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner embodied the coalitions of black and white, Jew and Christian, young and older Americans working together to form a more perfect union for all. Now a historic figure and role model to many, Andrew Goodman was first a beloved son, brother, friend, theater student and passionate advocate for fairness and equality. – From Andy’s Story – Andrew Goodman Foundation
Meanwhile, Sheshu Babu is right when he writes: The government of India is deliberately taking retrograde and regressive steps. A dangerous design of promoting brahminism is in full swing. Since most of the north hindi belt is occupied by the tight wing party, it is feeling absolutely powerful. ‘ Power corrupts power and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ …and this is what is happening to bjp and its hindutva forces. While the country is reeling under poverty and malnutrition, the food containing proteins and rich in minerals is being banned. People depending on animal husbandry are forced into poverty. Nationwide protests should start immediately[.]
So let’s, yes, resist together. Rise together and be an incredibly strong force across the world and in our various individual countries connected by the internet and other means.
Likewise, know that you have support and encouragement from around the planet from your brothers and sisters, who share your views that no cultural, religious, ethnic, nor other group has a right to oppress and control another one! Such ugliness and hubris!
It will not stand when they try to do it on a national or even smaller level, such as when it leads to murder in Mississippi of a childhood friend of mine working to support universal human rights. No, it will not stand!
Andy Goodman’s death in Mississippi didn’t scare me, although it grieved me to no end. Instead, it empowered me to be even stronger to follow in his path – an unintended consequence from his murderers as, rather than creating fear, they made even more people go with ever greater full force against them.
We, generation after generation of us, will always step forward to thwart unacceptable brutish dictates and patterns of behavior forced upon us! These maladjustments in societies must always be hindered and, then, stopped in entirety with the full force of our beings since the alternative is unacceptable!
The bottom line is this: We’re in this together since we face the same underlying troubles despite that, on the surface, yours involves beef and mine – other variables. So what that I’m half of a world away from India?
Now imagine if across all countries, we all rose up to support and assist each other? Picture it and, then, join forces, direct and indirect forces across the world, to peacefully strike a new path forward. Martin Niemöller shows the stark results if we do not combine together for the common good.
Sally Dugman is a writer in MA, USA.