Monday, 28 April 2014
Post-Apocalyptic A to Z: Tyranny
One theme that's common in post-apocalyptic fiction is the rise of petty tyrants. You see this in books as diverse as Wool and Out of the Mouth of the Dragon. If anything's going to lead us to the path of global ruin, it's probably going to be our tendency to blindly follow destructive dictators, and forget the lessons that we should learn from them.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. When you hear those words you immediately think of the six million Jews exterminated by the Nazis. It was one of the worst crimes against humanity in history, but it's often forgotten that millions more perished in the Nazi death camps. Hitler did away with any group he found disagreeable. The first people put in concentration camps were communists and labor union leaders. The Nazis also killed off at least 10,000 homosexuals and at least 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). Actually no one knows how many Roma were killed because nobody bothered to count. They barely got a mention during the Nuremberg Trials and as far as I know there's still no monument for them.
It's important to remember that our received history is often selective, and that in our ignorance we can often step on some very sensitive toes. My fellow travel writer Pam Mandel has a great post on the dangers of traveling ignorantly.
Photo of Hitler Youth courtesy Bundesarchiv.