Friday, 11 December 2015
Learning the lessons from history
I have come under a certain amount of criticism on Facebook for being offensive and/or disrespectful to the victims of the Holocaust with my latest meme (above). I can see why some people may take that stance but I see the meme as not even being about the Holocaust at all. What the meme does is bring a comparison between mentality of the regime that created Auschwitz and the mentality of the current administration of the UK by using a topical image of Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the scene of such human carnage.
I certainly have no wish to offend people with my meme but I believe that it is necessary for the human race to learn the lessons given to us by history. The Nazis had a very negative view of the disabled as well as the Jews and anyone who did not fit into the society they were trying to create. Disabled people were killed in concentration camps and were experimented on in the most horrific ways and, whilst the Conservative administration in the UK has not resorted to such overt methods, they have a very negative view of the disabled as being a drain on the State and have caused the deaths of many poor and disabled people with their welfare ‘reforms’.
The Conservatives seem set upon a regime of social cleansing that will reduce the numbers of poor and disabled people that uses eerily familiar language to that used by the Nazis. Iain Duncan Smith used similar words to those found above the gates of Auschwitz – “Arbeit Macht Frei” (literally “work makes [you] free”) – when selling his welfare ‘reforms’ to the Great British public. This, together with the deaths due to the welfare ‘reforms’, cannot be ignored as having unnerving parallels with what happened in Germany under Hitler’s rule so I believe that, as a political commentator, it is my duty to highlight these similarities so that the UK does not allow what happened in 1930s/1940s Germany to happen here.
Being a depressive, I prefer to use humour to capture people’s attention as people tend to respond to humour and satire rather than long drawn-out debates which is why I have been creating memes to draw attention to how ultra-Right-wing the current administration has become.
The Auschwitz visit meme is drawing attention to the similarity in the language used then in Germany and here in the UK right now. It also draws attention to the deaths caused by the welfare ‘reforms’ with the mention of “population reduction” and to how far to the political Right the ‘Government’ has become with the mention of invasion plans (which also refers to Cameron’s willingness to bomb Syria as well).
The meme has nothing to do with belittling the human tragedy that was the Holocaust because I would never do something that crass; however, I must point to the lessons that history is teaching us lest we repeat the mistakes of the past.
Causing offence is certainly not my intention but I must, as a human being, speak out in whatever way is most effective to bring about public awareness. Offensive humour, however unintentional, is not wrong if it highlights where a society is going down the wrong path or highlights an injustice.