Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PEGIDA Canada and Islamophobia: The Path of Dehumanization

The relevance of the above quote should be clear soon enough.

We had been following the PEGIDA movement overseas since its inception late last year with some interest, but really began to scrutinize the group when it branched overseas into Canada. While their first attempt at a rally failed badly in Montreal ending before it even began, PEGIDA Canada based in Toronto did successfully hold a small rally this past September which was ultimately disrupted by anti-fascists:

What? You couldn't find a quote from Stephen
? Bah! Some patriots you all are!
When we think of PEGIDA, we tend to believe this Mark Twain quote is more apropos:

Some of our readers might be curious to know what the acronym PEGIDA means. The administrator of the organization's Facebook group explains:

There might be some irony in a group that presents itself as a patriotic organization using a German acronym and crying about protecting Canadian culture, but in reality there is no irony at all if one really examines the group. One doesn't have to look very far into PEGIDA and the beliefs espoused by their supporters in order to understand that they really do mean "European."

ARC has been following racist groups in Canada for 8 years this month; some of our writers have been doing so independently for a couple of decades. Most of the groups we have covered here are composed of disaffected misanthropes who while potentially dangerous (see our history of violence article) really pose no threat to the governing of the country. They dream of establishing a Canadian reich but often struggle to stay out of jail or pay their own rent.

What is concerning about PEGIDA Canada is the mainstreaming of extremist rhetoric. To look at most of the PEGIDA Canada supporters one would be hard pressed to point out any outward indications of extremism. Most don't shave their heads, wear Dr, Martens with red laces, or sew swastika patches on bomber jackets. Many of the supporters of PEGIDA Canada appear middle aged or elderly. Many hold down middle-class jobs, both white and blue collar. In short, many could truly be the neighbor that doesn't stand out other than the friendly, "good morning" that you both exchange with each other when going to your car to drive to work or check for mail.

But make no mistake, the rhetoric one finds when one looks at PEGIDA Canada's Facebook page is as violent and vitriolic as any you would find coming from groups like Blood & Honour or the Aryan Guard.

Not long after the German occupation of Poland, Nazi propagandists produced the film, "The Eternal Jew." The film, presented as a documentary, was an especially pernicious and sadly effective piece of propaganda that aimed at normalizing hatred towards the Jews of Europe by presenting them as sub-human deviants and liars who fed off their hosts like parasites. The film was an attempt by Nazi propagandists to justify to the German people what was soon to come. It dehumanized Jews to the point that extermination was reasonable in order to maintain the racial integrity of the state and which was no worse than killing rats. "Patriotic" Germans could watch this film filled with blood libels and feel perfectly justified in viewing the Jews as somehow lesser. Worse than "lesser" in fact.

The themes of, "The Eternal Jew" examined such areas as Jewish religious practices, Jewish manipulation, Jewish degeneracy, Jews as not being truly human, and the Jews as "parasitic." Though claimed as a documentary, most of the subjects were forced to participate under duress by the occupying power and much of the footage was actually cut from pre-existing feature films and presented as real footage. The only documentary footage in the film was shot in the ghettos of Krakow, Warswa, Lodz, and Lublin. 

As a student of history, this writer was well acquainted with this propaganda film and the language of dehumanization that was used to justify hatred. This writer was also troubled by the parallels that exist in the rhetoric used in the propaganda film and that which is currently being used to describe Muslims in Canada by PEGIDA Canada supporters.

A first example, and not necessarily the most significant, is the disdain directed towards those who don't view Muslims with the fear and loathing of  PEGIDA Canada supporters:


The following clip from, "The Eternal Jew" expresses a similar sentiment, including the view of Jews as being less than human:

The theme of "less than human" will be addressed further later, however suffice it to say for now that it is language echoed by PEGIDA Canada supporters in reference to Muslims:

Another theme found in the Nazi propaganda film is with regards to the religion of Judaism itself. The propagandists insisted that Judaism was not a religion at all but was a political conspiracy:

Where have we heard that before?


The propaganda suggesting the synagogue teaches Jews how to mislead non-Jews.... 

....finds a parallel in PEGIDA rhetoric concerning what thy allege Muslims believe and are taught in the mosques:


The Nazi propaganda film also discusses what it suggests is the difference between assimilated and assimilated Jews. Like some PEGIDA Canada supporters who find Muslims who are converts suspect....

.... the Nazis viewed Jews who had assimilated as dangerous:

However, just as it is claimed in the propaganda film that Jews can never really fully be German, PEGIDA Canada supporters state that Muslims can never truly be real Canadians, even if born in the country:


Certainly, Muslims are not like the "patriotic" supporters of PEGIDA....


.... just as Jews were not perceived as being loyal to the fatherland like the German "Aryans" were:

Now, if any of our readers are aware of anything in, "The Eternal Jew" it is a dehumanization that is perhaps the most disturbing element of a particularly disturbing blood libel:

Throughout the film, Jews are depicted as being comparable to rats, vermin, and parasites. It systematically depicts Jews as a lower, though dangerous, form of life which lead to obvious conclusions, at least in the minds of those inclined to believe the lies.

At PEGIDA Canada, the description of Muslims is eerily and frighteningly similar:


So, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that, when we see posts like this on the PEGIDA Canada Facebook group....


.... that this is the attitude they have towards refugees:


So ultimately, the path of dehumanization leads to this. If you are convinced that a people are inherently liars, deviants, and less than human, eliminating them as you would vermin becomes easier:




Here's the thing. We didn't have to look hard at all to find these examples. The PEGIDA Canada Facebook group is rife with calls for killing Muslims and genocide.

And, also not hard to find, is the same, old, hatred of Jews the lies under the surface of groups such as PEGIDA:


PEGIDA members might try to hide behind a veneer of middle-class respectability, but their own writing betrays who and what they really are.


Anonymous said...

Go live in a muslim country then... I dare you!!

Kurt Phillips said...

At least one of our members has.