Yesterday, the 20th of December, marked the anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s release from prison after a failed attempt to seize power.
While he was behind bars, he wrote his manifesto.
After he was released, Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1925. In the same year, the RSS — a fascist paramilitary — was founded in India with the goal of establishing a theocratic Hindu state.
As the RSS grew, it developed with direct inspiration from the Nazis. Its leaders praised Nazi racial policies like the Nuremberg Laws. Its ideologues compared Indian Muslims to German Jews.
The Nazis lost. They faded away. But the RSS took root and flourished.
Today, the RSS rules India.
Today, the RSS is ramming through its own saffronized version of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws.
The Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens, combined, set the stage for the Aryanization of India.
That’s why millions of Indians are on the streets right now protesting — putting their lives on the line — to reject the CAA and the NRC.
Ask me what democracy looks like, and I will point to the brave-hearts protesting on the streets of India.
But like any bonafide totalitarian, Modi has banned protests. He has shut down the internet. He has sent in the stormtroopers to bust heads. He is jailing anyone who dissents. He is killing anyone who protests.
His regime even ordered Indian TV channels to stop broadcasting footage of the protests.
So what are we here in America, on the other side of the world, going to do about it?
As they say, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.
In the 1930s, while the Nazis were staging pogroms against the Jews, some Americans were hosting rallies in support of the Nazis.
In 1939, for instance, 20,000 people attended a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
75 years later, that rally was replicated when 20,000 people attended a Madison Square Garden reception organized for Modi by the Nazi-inspired RSS.
And just three months ago, in Houston, Texas, the RSS once again organized a propaganda bonanza to whitewash the blood-drenched Modi.
For a time, we saw America going down in history as an ally of Nazism. Then consciences were pricked. Principle prevailed.
Unlike Indians, we don’t face an onslaught of oppression — what we face is as a crisis of conscience.
Will we, as Americans, once again give space for fascism to take root in our free soil?
Or will we stand up? Speak out. Pledge our loyalty to those brave-hearts protesting in India — and unite around the common cause of opposing fascism everywhere it is found in the world today.
Will you raise your voice with me today in support of liberty?
Pieter Friedrich is a social activist