Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Never Again

In my youth I used to utter those words, Never Again, with a great deal of anger and pride mixed together. In my youth I saw those words as a promise, if you will, to a whole generation, to millions of millions of people that died at the hands of the Swastika bearers. In my youth I made a solemn oath to myself that I would, personally, never be silent in the wake of hatred. In my youth I swore that the Nazis and all they stood for would not be forgotten. It would be remembered year after year, so that I would never be complacent or forget.

A whole generation, now second and third generations made themselves that promise. Based upon two simple words. Never Again. Not a biblical promise, not a prophetic one. Just short and to the point. Never Again.

I fulfilled that promise. Over and over again. To myself, my family, my children, my friends, my people, my homeland and to those who were not Jewish but also felt like me and millions of other that oppression and hate - in such a mass context should never be allowed to rear it's ugly head again.

And the Swastika is the symbol of all that is evil in the heart and mind of mankind. It is the quintessence of evil. There is no symbol that can bring more horror, more sorrow, more sadness than that of a swastika to the mind of modern man.

I grew up with refugees from the madness of the swastika bearers. I grew up with men and women who had little blue numbers tattooed on their arms. Names like Auschwitz, Treblinka, Buchenwald were not names from a Steven Spielberg movie. They were real. As real as the gas chambers that gassed millions of people.

Gassed; burned alive in synagogues; tortured by Mengele and others; shot; maimed; killed; hung - every possible scenario that a collective nation gone mad on hate could think of was visited in the name of the Swastika.

And yet it still lives. It still is worn with pride by skinheads. It still is tattooed on arms and bodies by White Supremacists. It still is worshiped, prayed to, and looked at with hope by the sick and depraved of humankind.

I remember when I was twelve years old, going to our small synagogue with my father for morning prayers. A day like any other. To our "shteebel" as it is known in Yiddish. And smack in the middle of Manhattan, on the door of the synagogue, painted in red paint, is a swastika. And on the two cement poles of the entrance to the brownstone. Pop looked at it shook his head, and said, "One they get right. Two they get wrong." I did not understand it then, but it took years for those symbols to fade. You see the one on the door was a real how-do-you-do-Jew swastika. The two painted on the polls were "inverted". An important story for later on in this post.

And I still say, Never Again.

I will not abandon that promise nor will I ever be silent. Every single year, I stand with a whole nation while a siren wails its deathly wail in memory of those who were turned into soap and human hair mattresses. In memory of those who were murdered and the gold in their teeth removed. In memory of just how far human hate can take us if we are not vigilant.

Never Again.

And thus when I saw a swastika attached to a signature line at Absolute Write, I said to myself - the time has once again to fulfill your promise. The time has come again to stand up when those who should stand up are too befuddled or morally inept to do so. The time once again has come to say Never Again.

The Talmud has a legal statement for it. "Silence is the equivalent to admission." I will not be silent. Not at the expense of anyone or anything. I owe it to too many dead.

And so I wrote. I said exactly what I thought in my previous post, Depravity, Disgust and Stupidity - Passing Ignorance Around Like A Venereal Disease. What a great many others were saying and thinking. I said it without any way to put different interpretations on it. I was clear. Swastika bearers must be silenced. Period. No ands, ifs and buts about it. There is no room in a world of open minded, thoughtful people for a swastika bearer.

It is anathema. It is depravity. It is sick.

Then this afternoon my time I happened to see this little genius of a piece appear on one of the Admin-Mod blogs at Absolute Write.

Coincidence is a real funny animal. I saw the post quoted below around 20 minutes before a taxi was picking me up to go to Tel Aviv University. I had made a promise to a really wonderful friend who is world reknowned in lecturing on Cinema, that I would come listen to her long lecture on the topic no less and no more of: "The Use Of Symbolization in Movies On The Holocaust" and today she compared Spielberg's "Shindler's List" to Polanski's "The Pianist".

Like I said coincidence is a real funny animal.

In the taxi by way of conversation I mentioned this whole story. I asked the advice of the people going with me. Should I just ignore what was said below or should I make my points clear? Should I let it slide?

I don't think I will ever forget the answer the one who was going to give the lecture gave me.

"Silence is not an option."

And so to the post below. It is amazing how absolutely foolish some people can be when they want to appear smart.

But first because the person in question quoted my blog let us quote her in full, shall we?

On the nature of Community, Hate Speech, and Indo-European Symbols

I wanted to comment on a post made by Absolute Write Water Cooler member Teddy, in his blog. Teddy, in his infinite wisdom, moderates his posts, and, apparently unable to deal with facts and the simple truth, isn't going to post my comment.

Teddy attacks Absolute Write Water as a community, and targets the Moderators in particular. I'm an active member, but I'm also a Moderator and an Admin. Teddy refers to a member, one of our teens, and rants about the member's signature. I've copied the signature here, so you can see it:

(Symbols removed by me - Not on my blog you don't)

Here are the assertions that Teddy makes, which I find fault with.

  • I was perusing a thread and suddenly find in one of the members signatures at Absolute Write (someone calling themselves Bartholomew) a neatly placed Swastika.
  • Even if this symbol is removed - the very fact it was up for more than 5 minutes and even 5 minutes is way too long, (and Absolute Write is moderated 24 hours a day) shows something extremely wrong and rotten at the core. It not only shows a lack of sensitivity - that is allowed of course - it shows a total ignorance and indeed a complete lack of understanding what such symbols represent.
  • Could it be that if you say something not kind about Absolute Write you will get banned but showing a swastika is considered "freedom of speech"? Why was this person not banned IMMEDIATELY and then told that if he wants to come back to an adult board - he sure as hell better play nicely? What pills are the moderators taking at Absolute Write to allow such depravity on their board?
  • This guy with the lovely swastika is all over the board and even claims to be an editor for one of the "local" literary mags. represented by this board.
  • A swastika? A real true evil incarnate Nazi Swastika? On a signature at Absolute Write Writer Forum? From a real member? In threads where Mods answer so they must have seen it!

AW is not moderated 24 hours a day. The mods volunteer, and have lives. We also depend on the over 13,000 members to report posts that they feel are problems; there's a link on every single post for that purpose. Did Teddy report the post that troubled you him? No, he did not. He ranted about it in his in a particularly self-righteous way, presumably in a desperate attempt to get hits.

Nor does Teddy have the cultural nous to realize that the symbol in question isn't actually a Swastika, nor is the fact that Nazis corrupted an ancient multi-cultural symbol (the triskele, one of the markers of Indo-European cultures) thus render all prior uses of that symbol no longer valid.

The symbol in question has a counter-clockwise rotation; it predates the Swasticka by roughly two thousand years of history as an ancient Indo-European symbol of life and peace and fortune.

In his half-witted attempt at fomenting hatred, Teddy links to the Anti-Defamation Leagues's hate image database, where if he bothered to actually read (and frankly, he shows surprisingly poor reading comprehension for a writer) he would have found this entry:

When shown in a counterclockwise direction, an ancient religious symbol that represented a sign of good luck.

Nor, apparently, did Teddy trouble to click on the two associated links, which makes it very clear that it isn't a Swastika, and that it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, and everything to do with Hinduism and peace.

Oh, and Teddy . . .before you accuse me of anti-Semitism, my married name is Cohen.


I really will go step by step here. It is actually the only way to try and wade through this stuff. Step by step. One after another. However I will deal with the small itty bitty things first. Then on to the rest of the intellectual foolishness.

1) The following quote is a bald faced lie.
"Teddy, in his infinite wisdom, moderates his posts, and, apparently unable to deal with facts and the simple truth, isn't going to post my comment."
Why would I not post your comment? Did you write it? Did you place a comment here? The answer is NO. Why would I not post it? I would have posted it, copied it, and done exactly what I am doing now. I rarely if ever do not post comments. Why lie? Why deceive? What is this deception going to get you? Oh wait. You want to prove a point! Well we start with a lie. Good start.

Now let us assume I did not post your comment. Which never happened but for the sake of argument. Let us assume that what you wrote was the truth and not a lie. I could swear, correct me if I am wrong, that Cobwebs Of The Mind is maintained and written by me. I could swear that I have the right to post and not post comments as I see fit.

But all that is mute. Why? Because you lied. You never posted a comment here and thus it was never rejected.

2) In your wise introduction you wrote:
"Teddy refers to a member, one of our teens,"
Point being? So what if he is a teen? You let him on the board - you let him edit your literary mag. You let him post wherever he sees fit. Thus his age makes no difference to me. He wants to play with the big boys then by golly - let him play with the big boys. There is a lot more one can say about this "teen" but he sure as hell writes like an adult.

3) This is really cute.
AW is not moderated 24 hours a day. The mods volunteer, and have lives. We also depend on the over 13,000 members to report posts that they feel are problems; there's a link on every single post for that purpose. Did Teddy report the post that troubled you him? No, he did not. He ranted about it in his in a particularly self-righteous way, presumably in a desperate attempt to get hits.
Cobwebs Of The Mind exists very nicely without any hits whatsoever from Absolute Write. TYVM. I honestly need no hits from you. I also would venture a very educated guess that Cobwebs Of The Mind does better than 99.9% of any blog by any member in Absolute Write on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So please, do me a favor - if you want to start this game of name-calling be my guest. I will only be pushed in this game of yours so far. Then I will respond. But for now we will leave you and those silly innuendos on the side. But be careful. Because when I bite back I do so with a great deal more ammunition than one may at first see. Fair warning.

Indeed what other member spent hours and hours of their time writing blog reviews for members? These reviews bring me fame and fortune? They bring me credibility? They pay my bills? They add to my "hits" in a significant manner? If you choose to devote your time and efforts without monetary concern to a forum board that is your decision. Do not expect anyone to come over to you and say "Oh my. Since you do that you must be wise and all knowing." Your decisions. Your life.

13,000 members? Yeah when you count every single person who zoomed by and signed the form. Now would you like to talk about the significant numbers that LEFT Absolute Write after the current reign began to take over? Would you like to talk about the utter disgust many feel today after reading and watching? Or should we not say a word about those who leave in disgust? Maybe because that will force us to quote messages and other such nasty things with signatures, time and dates included. Do not drag 13,000 or 200 members into this. That is such not a good idea.

Now let us get down to business. Why should I report something to the Moderators? I saw that the owner of the board interacted with this "teen of yours" over and over again while that signature was on his posts. Is she not sufficiently wise and smart to know that placing a swastika on a signature line would clearly be offensive to an incredible amount of people? Oh, yes, I am calling it a swastika. I will call it a swastika. And in the end that is just what it is. A swastika. But all in good time. All in good time.

Now let us enter the arena to which a linguist, which you claim you are, about language and symbols. Let us repeat your quote:
Nor does Teddy have the cultural nous to realize that the symbol in question isn't actually a Swastika, nor is the fact that Nazis corrupted an ancient multi-cultural symbol (the triskele, one of the markers of Indo-European cultures) thus render all prior uses of that symbol no longer valid.

The symbol in question has a counter-clockwise rotation; it predates the Swasticka by roughly two thousand years of history as an ancient Indo-European symbol of life and peace and fortune.

In his half-witted attempt at fomenting hatred, Teddy links to the Anti-Defamation Leagues's hate image database, where if he bothered to actually read (and frankly, he shows surprisingly poor reading comprehension for a writer) he would have found this entry:

When shown in a counterclockwise direction, an ancient religious symbol that represented a sign of good luck.

Nor, apparently, did Teddy trouble to click on the two associated links, which makes it very clear that it isn't a Swastika, and that it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, and everything to do with Hinduism and peace.
Let us make something clear. I never once used the term anti-Semitism in the original post. I kind of made sure I didn't. But that is a small point which we will come back to a bit later.

I am really devoid of all cultural niceties. It is a problem I have when I see symbols like this hanging around boards. And I provided that link to the ADL, which I had no reason to provide, so that people would read the difference between the symbols. And then they could as you did, click on the link of your favored "teen" and see that at the bottom there is (was?) an explanation of the Swastika.

Now why would one need such an explanation if the symbols were so different? Why? Know why? Cause anyone taking a cursory look at that symbol, would see a damn swastika. And you know what? I don't for a moment believe your precious teen did not know this. Indeed I am 100% sure in his ever increasing desire for attention that is EXACTLY why he put it up. As one person who emailed me said: "Another stupid from X".

Funny. Poor culturally starved Teddy. I did not take into account that the Nazis corrupted an ancient symbol for peace. I only saw what a symbol says and means in the context of six million plus a few more million died for. But then again on Absolute Write we will find quite a few posts demanding "rights" for the Holocaust Denial Assholes. Yep. Exactly where it leads.

Silence is not an option here.

I only saw what I was supposed to see - exactly what your wondrous teen wanted everyone to see in his craving for attention. A real live swastika in its old form. Oh my! Where is all my culture? There is a symbol - it is inverted - and becomes the symbol - I make reference to your awesome linguistic capabilities here, as we all know language is symbols and symbols convey an incredible amount in one small little visual - THE SYMBOL of every evil that modern man can devise.

So I ask my near 80+ year old neighbor right before the taxi comes (an old man whom I shmooze with from time to time). I bring him to my screen and ask him, "Can you tell me what this symbol is?"

He looks, turns white, rolls up his sleeve and says (in Hebrew), "That is the symbol of the animals that did this." As he points to his little blue tattoo. (Oh no, they don't fade over the years.) And I had to explain this all to his daughter afterwards because they had to call the doctor because he got so upset.

It makes no difference where it came from or how it is presented. The survivors see a Swastika. And that sure as hell beats any intellectual tomfoolery you want to come up with. Do you actually think that a whole nation of people could stomach such a symbol without getting sick to their bones?

Inverted. Upside Down. Red. Blue. Sky-blue pink. No one looks upon such a symbol and says: "Oh wait. Let me see. Is this precious darling teen trying to show peace to the world or trying to be stupid and cute?" They see a swastika. 95% of modern society outside of the realm of Hindu philosophy sees a swastika.

Never Again.

And now finally let us go to your last statement. One you should truly be completely ashamed of but then again...

Oh, and Teddy . . .before you accuse me of anti-Semitism, my married name is Cohen.

I have never read such foolishness and apologetics coming from someone considering themselves an intelligent woman. But then again life teaches us our mistakes.

So let us now deal with the last statement. So what if your married name is Cohen? Point being? I could not care less if you were Jewish and writing such apologist malarkey for running Absolute Write the way you do or not. I could not care less what excuses you make or have. I have known a great many Jewish people who would do such things. Indeed and now let us use this term with a twist, some of the worst jew-haters are Jews themselves. A Yiddish term - "Jewish anti-Semite."

Being named Cohen does NOT make you either understanding, knowledgeable or part of a history where 6 million plus Jews were murdered under the guise of that hateful symbol. Big deal that your married name is Cohen. And I happen to know a German named Leips, whose father was part of the Nazi party. Leips would shudder and break out in sweats just seeing that symbol. Well Mrs. Cohen, so much for marrying into an ancestry.

Remember this well Mrs. Cohen. Burn this linguistic knowledge into that brain of yours. Before you quote from Song of Songs in an attempt to be smart (misquoting too I may add).

Somewhere not far in your husband's past, though of course I cannot say this for sure, but the odds are well with this, are a slew of people who became victims of the hate that the symbol represented. Somewhere in that recent past, are Jews whose last symbol or letter they saw in the land of the living was that of a swastika. Somewhere there are ghosts turned into soap and burned alive because of that symbol.

So if you married into the legacy, maybe you should get some education as to exactly what that legacy is and means.

No. In this case silence is not an option. And I will not be silent in the face of this.

These days I no longer feel the need to scream from the rooftops, "Never Again". These days it is in my eyes and every fiber of my being. The road of life has calmed the need to announce it at every sign post. It is part of me now. Part of any self-respecting Jew, no, that is wrong, part of every self-respecting human being who understands just how easy it is for the message of evil and depravity to spread.

Some things need no linguistic commentary. Some symbols, right-side up or upside down should not appear in signatures on forum boards. Period.

Posts In This Series:
  1. Depravity, Disgust and Stupidity - Passing Ignorance Around Like A Venereal Disease.
  2. Never Again
  3. Doctrine Of The Lie
  4. The Banality Of Evil
  5. On The Bastardization Of Language
  6. Who Let The Dogs Out?
  7. The Day Hitler Became A "Funky Dude"

Posted On: Cobwebs Of The Mind


7 comments:

Paula's Poetry said...

Teddy

I give you a lot of credit. You at least have the decency to be an adult.
I noticed in the response to your post there was name calling and accusations
thrown at you.

You should not have to defend yourself nor validate the reasons for
your being upset. It is quiet obvious. Ignorance is dangerous.

The one question that comes to mind over and over again is Why?

Why would someone choose something that can be misconstrued into
something so hurtful?

Why would this person go through the bother of posting a link explaining the
symbol used but not bother to post a picture of Buddha with the symbol emblazoned
on it’s chest?

Why start a thread asking what people see?

Why not clarify this upfront, to be seen by all and eliminate any doubt?

Why would the question of one of the posters go ignored when he /she identified
offensive symbol?

The why’s can only be answered by what you said. To call attention to one’s self.

Many will say “Where do we draw the line? Why not ban the symbol of other cultures?

The answer is easy. It is not a matter of just finding something offensive. It is a matter of all it represents. The chosen symbol by the person was in very poor taste.

I apologize for the length of this comment but I am so angry right now.

Now, on to the Mod who felt it necessary to try and appear intelligent.

Maybe it’s me, but I doubt it. By stating as she did
“By the way Teddy before you go and accuse me of anti-Semitism, my married
name is Cohen”

Is she for real???? That is the equivalent of someone stating
“I’m not a racist, I have black friends. I’m not racist, I work with a Shapiro”

Unless she has been a part of such terror, suffered great loss or has witnessed the brutality of all this symbol represents, that is the most ridiculous statement ever stated.
Are you going overboard? No
Should you let it go? No
Why? Because, as you, I feel by ignoring things and letting them go, you are enabling
hate to continue.

In response to those who defend the usage because it is going in the wrong direction, The world will continue in the wrong direction as long as we let this go.

Any sign, act or show of hatred is unacceptable in my world.

It should be in yours as well.
This goes much deeper than a misinterpretation.

Many of you who read this and oppose the reaction are allowed your opinion, but please ask yourself this first.

If you realize what the symbol represents and know all that it stands for, would you also
other signs of hate to be displayed?

What if I thought it was really cool to see an airplane or two lodged into two skyscrapers while they burn to the ground and decided to put that as a decoration on my letterhead?
Would that also be acceptable? I could put a link saying that it was something other than
an attack.

What if I thought it was cool to show a woman being raped and had that as my decoration? Would that be acceptable? I could put a link and say it was erotic.

I could never do these things, I still cry when I see footage of either of these things. I am just checking to see at what point people get horrified.


I promise, there is an ending to this post soon.

Ted,
I have read most of your works. I follow your blogs and find you have tremendous talent. Your stories are full of passion, emotion and talent. I applaud you. You have
made me laugh and cry with your words. I doubt anyone who has taken the time to read
any of your stories could accuse you of having anything other than compassion and a drive for life.
I would consider it an honor to call you a friend and please know that I am as outraged as you.

Don’t ever change who you are and all you believe in.
I am sending you all the good vibes I can muster.

From my heart to yours

Robert Toy said...

I seriously doubt that these symbols represent good luck.





http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/events/20684/Belgium%E2%80%93_Antisemitic_Graffiti_in_Antwerp



http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/events/17971/New_Zealand_%E2%80%93_Swastikas_on_a_Synagogue_in_Auckland



http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/events/15353/Brazil_%E2%80%93_Antisemitic_Graffiti_in_Rio_de_Janeiro



http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/events/14215/Argentina_%E2%80%93_Antisemitic_Graffiti_at_a_Jewish_School_in_Tucuman



http://www.antisemitism.org.il/eng/events/13881/Uruguay_%E2%80%93_Antisemitic_Graffiti_on_a_Jewish_Agency_Facility_in_Montevideo



Please look at these and tell me that one should not get upset.

Anonymous said...

I was asked by a co-worker to read this and what my
opinion is on this matter.


There is no question that the usage of this symbol is wrong.

It does not matter the explanation given. When in doubt, don’t. Simple and easy.

Never Again. Words to live by

One should not be forced to look upon something so evil and asked to ignore it.

As someone who knows the horror this represents, I too am outraged.

J. Shapiro

B.E. Sanderson said...

There really is nothing to say. You've said it all.

How absolutely disgusting, and how utterly depressing that a site supposedly devoted to a profession of the mind can be so ignorant. I wish I could say I was surprised, but none of this crap surprises me anymore. A little disheartened? Maybe. Surprised? No.

Anonymous said...

I've read both posts on the matter.
I find the comments you quoted by the Moderator of said forum to be troubling.

The message she sends is clear. She will tolerate this regardless of how it affects anyone else.

This trouble me in many ways.
I noticed she called you self-righteous and desperate and then accused you of formatting hatred and said you have poor reading comprehension.

Normally, I would not give much credit to this type of person. Her message is clear.

She will try and go off topic by discrediting you and calling you names.

This symbol used obviously was not represented in a manner to eliminate the questions of many who look at it. If the symbol appearred by itself, as a picture, it left room for questioning.

One should not need to further investigate. If the intention of the board or the individual uses this as a sign of peace, then should this person not be at least a bit concerned that the opposite effect it is having.

Just a thought


Rob Douglas

Anonymous said...

Ya know, This goes beyond wrong.
I am against any form of hate and disrespect for people.

There should have been NO DOUBT in the mind of the user. Obviously there was if they felt the need to link the explanation/difference.

There really is nothing else to say.

John Arsenault

Anonymous said...

Some CHOOSE to live in denial of history and

and every crime committed.



Those people CHOOSE to deny.

Those who lived it, lost because of it

and continue to face it, don’t have

the luxury to CHOOSE. It’s real

it happened and it continues to happen.



Racism = hate

Symbols = disregard

Disregard = disgust







Annmarie

I know the truth and can’t deny it