Take today’s enveloping fascism seriously
Maung Zarni | Update: 16:57, Aug 01, 2018
The signs of the contagion of cultivated fascist mindset, its institutionalisation and popular mobilisation by those in power — abstract ideas are nothing without institutional backing or concrete structures – are everywhere, for those with trained eyes to detect fascism.
My own English father-in-law Ted, who as a young boy lived through WWII, has remarked pointedly that things today look darker and more destructive than the situation he grew up in during Britain’s “darkest hours”. He knew a thing or two about wars and fascism. His home in Plymouth (Devon), where one of the largest British naval bases was located, was bombed out by the Nazi fighter-jets on his birthday at the start of Britain’s war with Hitler.
His mother, who sat on the piles of rubble and managed to find and collect his birthday cards, was warding off the neighbourhood looters from whatever little valuable was left of the flattened house, before the family headed off to Exeter, where his uncle lived. Ted’s own father survived and walked back alive. While Britain lost 60,000 of its precious men on the first day of the war there, Ted’s father pretty much lost his hearing (thanks to the thunderous sounds of the raining motor shells) and suffered and survived the mustard gas attacks, which later led to lung cancer, to which he eventually succumbed.
Britain’s white supremacist groups in UK display and act progressively violently in their public rallies and their rhetoric increasingly violent, anti-Muslim and anti-foreign. In a distant land, Britain’s “crown jewel” India, under Modi, whose base believe cows are more sacred and respect-worthy than Muslims, is mainstreaming an anti-Muslim strain of fascism. Just yesterday India effectively stripped 4 million Muslim Assamese of their birthright to belong in Assam.
India: Stop deleting Muslims!
Geographically, Assam is bordered by Myanmar, Bangladesh and in fact the old India, and practically a colony of India, not really integral to it. Whatever its status within the federation of Indian provinces, India is about to create another pre-emptively genocidal project, which will most likely produce the massive spill-over impact on the neighbouring Bangladesh’s wealthy tea province of Sylhet. In India’s new thinking, Assamese Muslims are considered ‘foreigners’ because they migrated there – before the negative and unwelcoming concept of ‘migration’ arose post-WWII – only 200 years ago!
(Canadians, Australians, much of the Americas, take note! The First Nations indigenous people may adopt such view, and in the unlikely event, Euro-descendants as well as other immigrants may find themselves stripped off their legal identities in the vast continents of the world, where countries were built by settler-colonialists or colonisers.)
Speaking of settler-colonialisms, Israel is now mainstreaming its version of fascism: the state of Israel is being legalised as the nation-state of the Jewish people (meaning everyone else exists at the mercy of the official people, chosen by the fascists in the ruling Likud party.
Israeli law declares the country ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’
What is common in these cases is those racially, ethnically, religiously or nationally defined groups in power who grab land violently – and often genocides and ruthless military campaigns – claim their loot as their own exclusive property – at the expense of the inhabitant groups, be they “Red Indians”, aborigines of the Australian continent, the Rohingyas or the Kachins of Myanmar, the natives of the rest of the Americas, or the dominant people of the Indic valley, the Indians.
The sad irony is India’s northeast provinces of which Assam is a component, never accepted the legitimacy of India as a nation-state exercising military, administrative and political powers. This applies to cases where the wretched of the earth are found, be it the Americas, Australia, Canada, Burma – not just India or formerly inter-faith Palestine – now the Jewish State of Israel.
The truth is, the gloves are off. American fascists such as Steve Bannon, the former US naval officer and Harvard Business School graduate who runs the fascist “news” outlet www.breitbart.com and the Dark Forces of Europe are teaming up, just as the (“Hindu” and) “Buddhist” forces of South and South East Asia (Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, etc. are kindling their ‘blood’ ties.
The materialist China which has nearly completed its genocidal displacement of Buddhist population under the Dalai Lama’s spiritual leadership, is now actively wiping out the Muslim population, known as Uyghurs, in Xinjing.
All this is happening under the nose of the United Nations, which looks on with its signature impotence. The number of its member states has reached about 200, but the power of this global talk-shop seems to have declined drastically, so much so that no victimised human community has faith or confidence in the organisation.
As my 9-year-old daughter would say, ‘sad times’, using her classroom slang. Indeed. Not simply sad, but deeply, deeply dark times. No institution in the world seems capable of reversing these fascist trends. When the global governing institutions, and nation-states, have categorically failed on the defining issues of our times -global warming, unfolding genocides, invasive wars, faith-based clashes, and so on, we sheep of the world may submit to these Dark Forces, or join together and fight back.
I, for one, will go down fighting. Each of us makes our own choices. We either wake up and fight back, or find ourselves on the receiving end of the impacts, sooner rather than later. Yes, things are that bad. Look closer. And think harder. Act in solidarity with other fellow humans.
* Maung Zarni is coordinator for Strategic Affairs, the Free Rohingya Coalition and an adviser to the European Centre for the Study of Extremism, Cambridge, UK