Following the rantings of Mcebo Dlamini and his “interview” on eNCA, this week I find myself in the strange position of arguing against admiration for Adolf Hitler. It might seem a fairly intuitive position but it’s not one I often have to take. The name “Hitler” has a talismanic significance in our culture, the reductio ad absurdum of reactionary totalitarianism. Hitler is such an extreme case that it has become a recognised rhetorical fallacy (Godwin’s law) to compare the views of an opponent as being similar or comparable to those of Hitler and/or Nazism.
But despite the original anti-Semitic Facebook post that sparked the controversy, Dlamini would have us believe that his admiration for this much-maligned historical figure stems from his “organisational skills”, his ability to mobilise the population (neglecting what he mobilised them to do) and all of this in light of his humble beginnings. Apparently, the lesson of history provided by the Hitler case is not primarily the dangers of racialism and militaristic autocracy but the importance of having “influential” and “convincing” leaders (and a lot of good it did Germany). According to Dlamini, countries are now collapsing because leaders fail to sufficiently “sell” ideas to the people. Thus influence and manipulation are inherently more important than integrity and morals and, by extension, a credulous and uneducated population is also an inherent good. One at least can’t disagree with Dlamini that only a very skilled orator and political “salesmen” could convince an entire country to cooperate with mass genocide and a creative range of violent pogroms – I suppose he’s got me there.
But a further note of lunacy crept into the discussion when, after expressing these views, Dlamini opined that “black people cannot be racist” because “racism is about power”. Fortunately, he wrapped this argument up nicely when he went on to comprehensively demonstrate the contrary. Aside from having questioned why the Jews deserve “special treatment” (though good old Uncle Adolf certainly believed they did) he goes on to explain why only whites are capable of racism,
“White people – they are the same. They are racist and they are full of hate!”
Thus, not only are white people the sole source of racism, they are imbued with it by virtue of their skin colour; it is saturated in their very racial makeup. Dlamini, despite his “academic” status, spectacularly fails to see any irony in this statement. This is what it looks like to really reject the non-racialism espoused in our constitution (a position that is gaining baffling acceptance in some quarters).
But it is when he explains his admiration for Robert Mugabe that the penny really drops. He “loves” Robert Mugabe because, according to Dlamini, white people made Mugabe what he is, and that the purpose of whites is to make blacks feel inferior, to make them hate one another. That he (Dlamini), as a black man, has been made to feel inferior by whites, and that racism can only be transmitted from the top down – from white to black – as a means of maintaining this dynamic. While it is hard to identify anything that Dlamini is right about, this particular blunder contextualises his total misunderstanding of history and human relations. Racism is just as often a side-effect of an inferiority complex, of shame and self-hatred.
Dlamini is at least right about Hitler’s humble background – he was a rather abject and pathetic figure, a failed and bitter seeker. His misery mirrored that of a ruined and depressed post-war Germany, ravaged by hyper-inflation and poverty. Hitler offered Germany a way to exorcise its shame, to blame it on a fairly successful minority who he perceived to be robbing Germany of its glory and pride – grander in scale but not dissimilar in sentiment to Mugabe’s attitude to white Zimbabweans.
Dlamini clumsily attempts to educate us in the dynamics of hatred but unwittingly provides us with more of an education that he intended. I would encourage you to watch the interview, look into the eyes of this sad little demagogue, and see what real hatred is.
Featured Image Credit: “A young Polish boy returns to what was his home and squats among the ruins during a pause in the German air raids on Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. German attacks lasted until Warsaw surrendered on September 28. One week later, the last of the Polish forces capitulated near Lublin, giving full control of Poland to Germany and the Soviet Union.” Source: Socialphy
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