“The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.” — Wilfred Owen drawing upon Horace’s Odes
Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills, Forster’s Passage to India, Orwell’s Burmese Days and Paul Scott’s Jewel in the Crown are read in academic circles and viewed by wider audiences courtesy of various media. And other dramatic fare focused on similar unfair settings has come down the pike. But — in the U.S. — the snob-ridden, racist enclaves spotlighted are not dwelt on. The British-inflicted horrors of Imperialism across the board, certainly, are not driven home. Not the depths of what was done in creating the Third World.
If it were otherwise, then the British-induced famines which swept India causing at least a million deaths in the 1860s, at least three and a half million deaths in the 1870s, and a minimum of ten million deaths in the 1890s would be better known. Known to the degree that European-caused killings in the Nazi Holocaust are part of our ongoing public consciousness.
The British death count in India, of course, is only part of the story. Just as that’s the case regarding those well-known German crimes. There was other suffering that went on. Immeasurable. Irreparable. The thing is, there was a change for one and all in Germany post-WWII. That was not the case in India. India’s current “prosperity” for limited demographics today notwithstanding, the nineteenth century suffering on the subcontinent never subsided. It got worse.
That last point — in some quarters — might be controversial, but not where I live. Not in my realm. The Big Picture of India has gotten infinitely worse on many scores for the vast majority, to say the least. And I’ll be happy to document what I’m talking about, upon request.
But to return to my main focus in this article, I ask the reader to question why the U.S. and other countries produce so much cinematic footage focused on Hitler’s horrors, and virtually nothing highlighting the present day atrocities attributable to Modi. Why in pre-Modi times, there has been so much coverage, talk and documentation respecting Nazi atrocities, and only marginalized treatment of British (and U.S.) holocausts. For the sins of cinematic omission have clearly created a world ignorant about World History. That dynamic continuing, of course.
The incessant focus on Nazi sins, on the other hand, has created — obviously — a grand distraction for the vast majority of world citizens. Establishing old Germany as a villainous entity which no other can match in Evil. It’s true that Stalin’s name and Mao’s name will be invoked from time to time, but… well, I can only cite Sinead O’Connor’s huge old hit.
Seriously, nothing compares to Hitler’s horrors, yes?
As long as we’re focused on love songs, self-satisfaction and personal angst the non-Nazi holocausts will not get their due. Those of the Monarchy. Those of Modi. Those of Museveni.
But the bigger lesson to learn is what’s going on at this very moment. I’m talking about the momentum directed against Trump, as if he’s some kind of singular liability for the country that must be dealt with; like Hitler should have been dealt with prior to the Munich Pact.
Trump is no more to be likened to Hitler than the Nazis are to be put into a category that would preclude present-day British and Americans being lumped together with them. He’s no exception to any rule. Governments all around the world have been engaged in lying to their people, and conducting economic and military wars which are not in anyone’s interests except that tiny demographic that always profits from dividing and conquering and conducting unconscionable abominations for profit.
There are just causes, of course. But there are no just wars.
If you disagree, see if you don’t come around to a different point of view once you’ve spent 57:15 with Howard Zinn. I submit that all educators — regardless of what discipline is their specialty — have an obligation to communicate that so-called subjective point of view at this juncture. In and outside of the classroom.
If the parents who still give their offspring over to governments were not educated properly, that’s no reason why ignorance has to keep compounding ignorance in academic circles. Or anywhere.
Hope lies with each individual parent and each individual teacher. Rests with their willingness to personally risk what will ensue from their simply telling the truth about Moloch-minded governments.
No one dies for their country. Misled citizens die for their governments.
Valleria Ruselli can be reached at email@example.com