Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hatred - its all the same

Another quick musing from my conference blogging:

I was on the "Coffee Beatniks and Jewish Lit" tiyul (excursion) today. The speaker, a poet/author/artist (I guess I can just say "Beatnik," right) was talking about a trip he took to Germany, where he was surprised to see a number of Confederate Flags. When he also noticed a great number of skinheads around those flags, he decided (without revealing his Jewishness, naturally) to ask them why they had so many Stars-and-Bars. The answer was that the Swastika had been outlawed in Germany, so they couldn't fly that flag. This was their substitute.

It brought up, for me, two totally disparate thoughts. First of all, it's silly to ban hatred, or its symbols. I'm not saying that I'm in favor of hatred (my favorite part of the Beat Museum was a simple poster which said, "F#$K Hatred" - with that first word spelled out, obviously). But, forcing it underground seems, to me, to be ineffective, at best. At worst, it keeps the hatred out of site where it can fester without being confronted. But, more often than not, the hatred just takes another form. Confront hatred, and hateful people, more directly, I'd say.

I also found myself (as others did) thinking about the universal nature of hate. To these skinheads, it didn't matter what hatred was being represented, or where it came from. They were brothers, unified in their hate, and that was enough. Hatred, in any form, is still just hatred.

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