Tuesday, March 20, 2012

BRAZILIAN butterfly wings flutter : Tornado of Death in TEXAS --- "Who remembers the POLES nowadays?"

In MOdernity Man's disconnected world, the Earth is a passive bare backdrop where the human actors live apart from one another until they chose to directly engage each other.

"Why should I care ?", they aggressively ask.

 "The fluttering of some obscure butterfly's wings in the jungles of Brazil can't possibly effect whether me and my home in Texas survive the next tornado."

But in the world of the COmmensality, the surface of the world is an active actor, along with all the life forms upon it - all Life lives within a complex web of interconnections where what ever happens to one will ultimately affect all others.

Today, we of the Commensality have no trouble accepting that Edward Lorenz's butterfly fluttering in Brazil can affect the force and direction of a Texas Twister.

Similarly we understand now that what happened to those far off Poles in 1939 did ended up affecting all of us.

By 1942, boys from Texas born of those parents who couldn't give a damn about the fate of the 1939 Polish butterflies broken upon the wheel, were dying all over the world in a Texas-sized Tornado of Death.

On August 22nd 1939, Hitler gave a very famous speech to his assembled military elite about the upcoming war against Poland.

The last sentence of one paragraph is particularly famous despite the fact that it might be fabricated.

(I do not think it was.)

Earlier in the paragraph Hitler had reminded his listeners that Genghis Khan sent millions of women and children to their deaths but today is remembered only as the founder of a great state.

Now in the last sentence, he reminds them that the mass killing of the Armenians only 20 years earlier hadn't caused much of an outcry at the time or in the years since.

(At the time this was very true.)

After the Holocaust this sentence came to be seized upon as the forerunner to the Jewish Holocaust - which it was - but very very indirectly.

Because the meat  of the paragraph - and I mean red meat,blood, violence,horror, death  - is in the middle sentences.

No vagueness here - Hitler says he has given orders to his death squads to relentlessly kill Polish women and children without mercy.

Polish women and children relentlessly and without mercy - not yet a decision to relentlessly kill Jewish women and children without mercy - that came 2 years later.

 (True, many of these early Polish victims were Jewish and or socialist-communist but the focus was above all on Polish nationalistic intellectuals - the natural leadership of the Polish people --- Hitler wanted to destroy the Poles as a nation, without wishing to kill every last one of them - just most of them.)

The veracity of this  sentence has never been questioned - only worse - it has been totally forgotten !

Within days of the outbreak of the war, the entire world press had many verified accounts of savage brutality imposed by German troops and police upon Poles - soldiers and civilians.

This reporting continued for more than nine months - from September 1939 to May 1940, that crucial period wherein an united Europe, let alone an united free world, could have ganged together collectively to overpower Hitler and ended WWII in its tracks.

(After the May - June 1940 Fall of France et al, the few remaining neutrals of Europe were too weak to take him on, with Britain's weak help, without suffering a brutal defeat upon themselves.)

I fully accept that.

But before that - before, before, before - what was their excuse beyond MOdernity's cold indifference?

For nine long months - long enough to bear a child - the world watched while Hitler broke Poland like a butterfly upon a wheel - watched and did nothing.

France and Britain (and their empires and commonwealths) did almost nothing.

Nothing that is in terms of an effective offensive attack on Hitler's Western Front while all of what little military hardware he did have (and it was not much) and the bulk of his troops were deep into Poland in the East.

But at least, to their eternal credit, they did declare war on Hitler as they promised they would if he attacked Poland.

That promise was made in March 1939 and it was not until March 1945, six  long, long, long  years later, that British troops finally moved onto German soil to engage Hitler.

A chivalrous gesture but chivalry of the most muted sort.

Most of the world can claim no moral credits at all for their behavior during those nine fatal months : better that Hannah Arendt had focused on this time period and to have spoken of the "THE BANALITY OF (SEEING NO) EVIL" .

What Hitler did during the Fall of 1939 in Poland was as evil as anything else he ever did - in other years he merely did different but equal forms of evil , and almost always the worst of these in Poland.

And it was known ,widely known at the time, to the whole of the newspaper-reading world.

But MOdernity Man said, "Who gives a tinker's damn about some Polacks ?" and turned to the sports page.

The Age of global Commensality will only truly arrive when we read about millions dying in some far off unknown province of the Congo and we do give a tinker's damn and a whole lot more.

The web of interconnectedness is as much moral as it is environmental - the two can not be separated.....

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