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By Jeremy M. - Posted on 29 January 2012

I'm pretty much all about diverse diversity. I'm all about a perceived repeating of myself too. Also I'm all about the plight of people in Berlin the in the final days of and immediately after WW2. Especially the German women. The mass rapes, the violence of the Soviet's putting down a hard earned revenge on the innocent masses, well everything went full circle there. They were paying in kind for the wrongs inflicted on their people. Wrongs that have been ignored by the West I'd say. This is pretty polarized for me. Normally I'm not so cavalier about throwing wrongs and shit. I'm just saying, some crazy shit happened then, but in the mire of human beings thrown to their almost teleological end, there were some crazy insights like this one “Talking in the line, I find myself coming down a level both in the way I speak and in what I say, immersing myself in the general emotion – though this always leaves me feeling a little slimy and disgusting. And yet I don't want to fence myself off, I want to give myself over to this communal sense of humanity; I want to be a part of it, to experience it. There's a split between my aloofness, the desire to keep my private life to myself, and the urge to be like everyone else, to belong to the nation to abide and suffer history together.” Funny how someone in a different time and with a completely different set of circumstances can come to the same thoughts as me. Funny how this woman, who incurred rape at the hands of Soviet regulars and then had voluntary sex for protection with a First Lieutenant and later a Major could think something thought across the board by many people like her. But anyways. Its cool how people can have the same ideas.

That book was about the troubles of women after the war sure, but it painted men in such a light that it seemed men would never be the same. She wrote like all the women would be fine, collectively they were pulling through, but the men, well they were defeated, their honor was tarnished first by the war, next by the treatment of their wives, sisters, and mothers at the hands of the victors. While reading this I felt like Ivan. I felt like I was lacerating myself for being born now instead of in an era and place of ultimate strife. Of so much chaos and breakdown of the societal veneer. It took this laceration for “civil rights” to set in. It took this for me to care. Even if it was only caring at a distance. I was and still am caring about something that happened 67 years ago. All its participants are either dead, dying, or were too young. Soon they too will pass out of the living historical canon and only be remembered by words. Either way though it made me think one, very simple moral thought. People shouldn't do that. And by that I mean create a world system with so much hate and false propaganda that makes people brutalize another, and then upon their defeat have the new victors commit the same acts in a collective revenge. Not all Germans were innocent. Not all Soviets were innocent. Still though. Collectively these were simple people. The Soviets were farmboys and poor peasants, who saw all they know burned to the ground and mutilated by the Germans. Its all too easy to take the almost logical step and just pay in kind. Its all too easy to think ourselves better, here in our set of Ivory Towers. Our college, our state, our country, our culture. We think we could never be this way, on either side of the line. But really the conscience that makes you feel bad made the SS feel bad for wanting to spare Jews. It made the Soviets feel bad for not wanting to rape and plunder. It also makes us feel bad for not helping the homeless or motivating us into action for others. Feeling bad about doing something is two way street man.

So I felt “in tune” today. I cared about people for a reason outside my own happiness. No matter how shallow that was. The gravest mistake is to think our moral system will keep us from falling. Whether it be your religion or perceived beliefs. I pose a simple question I hope you'll take away “If you grew up in either of these societies and went through all these people went through, would you be any better?” I don't think I would be. I'm no stronger than anyone else. So remember that. Remember that equality and civil rights is more than seeing each other as equals. Its acknowledging the fact that given the situation, we need to be ready to cope with putting those beliefs to the test. And thats what Martin Luther King talked about. He's not talking about some warm hearted, well to do bringing people into the fold, making everyone happy. He's talking about fixing a system and then recognizing that this needs to not happen again and if it does you have a set of choices. You either stand up to a structure that violates that simple idea. Even though it will mean your death or you collude (which I don't blame anyone for) or you hide. Self-Sacrifice is the only action I'm willing to deem authentically moral. Feel free to ignore this warning. When shit hits the fan I'm not gonna blame you. This isn't a call to justice. Its a call to just recognizing how history and the cycle works.