Atanu Dey On India's Development

Now for something entirely different

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Oh, alright. I was getting tired of posting only development related stuff. So I thought that I would intersperse stuff that I write with stuff that I like written by others. Here is a perspective piece written by a Canadian and published by a Canadian newspaper. (I hope that I am not stepping on too many copyright toes.)

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Source: ‘The Province’ (Tuesday, May 1, 1990)

ADOLF HITLER IN GOOD COMPANY

by Crawford Kilian

My Lawyer friend Nick Mephisto took me out for a celebration lunch yesterday, which worried me. He is a Devil’s advocate, the infernal version of a Queen’s Counsel. What he likes to celebrate usually appalls any normal person.

‘It’s the 45th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s death,’ Nick explained. ‘My client has been hosting him-and roasting him-since April 30, 1945.’

‘I suppose your Client is very proud to have such a monster,’ I said.

‘Oh, Hitler was no monster.’

‘What! The cause of World War II, the author of holocaust, not a monster?’

‘Don’t forget my client has known them all. Hitler was just a garden variety politician.’

‘Absurd! He was inhuman.’

‘Well, what was his big offence? He believed in racial and cultural superiority. And he thought superior races and cultures were entitled to invade other people’s countries, enslave them, and even exterminate them.’

‘I said he was a monster.’

‘But isn’t that exactly what other Europeans have been doing since Columbus? In the 80 years after the Spanish conquered Mexico and South America, the native population fell by 90%. That was about 40 or 50 million people. Hitler was faster, but he wasn’t responsible for any more deaths than Spaniards were.’

‘Aw, come on Nick-’

‘The French conquered parts of Africa and South East Asia, not to mention Quebec. The English thought they deserved to rule what Kipling called ‘the lesser breeds,’ all over the world. The Belgians ran the Congo like a big concentration camp. The Dutch and the Portugese-’

‘Sure, the old colonial empires were bad, but they weren’t as bad as the Nazis.’

Nick Mephisto shrugged. ‘The Europeans believed that their supposed superiority justified slavery, massacres, deportations and suffocating of other people’s cultures. And Europe has flourished on that basis for centuries. In my client’s opinion, Hitler made just one mistake.’

‘Which was?’

‘He picked on Europeans.’

‘True enough, but-’

‘If he’s massacred native Indians, African blacks, or Asians, his neighbors wouldn’t have minded much. After all, they’d all done the same thing. But treating his fellow-Europeans that way was simply unforgivable.’

‘That’s enough! If Hitler had won, we’d have centuries of horror.’

‘Just as native Indians have had since 1492, and the Africans for almost as long. Oh, my Client gives full marks for effort, but he saves his real respect for the successful conquerors, the ones who commit genocide and become national heroes.’

‘So you are saying that we’re as bad as the Nazis?’

‘Tut-tut, we’re much more genteel. My Client does point out, though, that Canadian defence policy is based on inflicting nuclear genocide on any nation that threatens to keep us from shopping in the mall of our choice. And the vast majority of Canadians frimly support that policy, no matter how many peace marchers turn out in Vancouver every year.’

Something began to dawn on me. ‘Does this mean Hitler has a lot of company?’

The Devil’s advocate grinned. ‘Plenty, and more coming all the time. You wouldn’t believe the housing crisis created by dead racists. It’s absolute hell.’

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Update (Jan 25th, 2006): See this article by George Monbiot “How Britain Denies its Holocausts

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    I have one gripe with the article, though. He refers to ‘native Indians’ when it should be ‘native Americans.’

  • Pingback: Atanu Dey on India’s Development » Different Standards for Different Folks

  • http://www.suhitanantula.com Suhit Anantula

    very interesting view point…and one which is right too…

    I liked the bit ” ‘Which was?’

    ‘He picked on Europeans.’ ”

    That is the most imp…one

    Suhit

  • http://phoenixin.blogspot.com pH

    makes plenty of sense.
    the hype on Hitler is similar to the jihadis’ hype on atrocities in Palestine. muslims themselves have perpetrated worse genocides on their own brethren elsewhere, Sudan, Nigeria, Iran…

  • http://ashish.typepad.com/ashishs_niti Ashish Hanwadikar

    Intersting! Because you are comparing one person’s (Hitler’s) action against the whole European continent’s action over a century and more! And why did we left Stalin, Mao, Lenin, Mugabe and Eid Amin and others. That would be a more fair comparison.

  • Moushumi

    Hi, the article makes super sense. But don’t you think Hitler make another mistake? He was quick! Mass extermination and/conversion of any kind of people if spread out over the centuries is called “Imperialism.” Had he regulated the time span of his reign, then maybe he might have had some supporters amongst the Europeans themselves!
    -Moushumi