Do these scenes shock you? You do not like them? Good! Yet, there was a time, not so long ago, when they seemed normal. We would like to believe that racism, hatred of the other, and the North’s patronizing attitude towards the South are things of the past, but they are not.
The far-right still flourishes today, nationalist parties are gaining ground across the globe, religious fanatism is becoming the norm, as evidenced by the appearance of the Civitas posters on the campuses (“against the democratic dictature”). These ideologies become “normal” once again. It is no longer surprising to see members of the Lepen family in the second round of the French presidential elections, millions of Americans vote for Trump, Hungary and Poland slip in autocracy, Flanders wonder if one can govern with the far right… We end up not daring to talk about religions out of fear. Are those facts more or less shocking than these old pictures?
We would like to believe it is preferable to remain blind to these despotic abuses and to turn them into mere anecdotes, but this would amount to making this type of destructive and libellous acts trite.
In the Service Volontaire International, a youth organisation, we consider it is essential to look critically at both our present and our past, because, as Churchill affirmed, “a nation which has forgotten its past can have no future”. We do not forget.
Racism, fascism, obscurantism must not become trivial!
On 15 March 2019, an Australian far-right extremist terrorist entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and fired at all the people who were inside. He killed 51 people and injured 49.
On 12 August 2017, a car rammed into a group of non-violent anti-far-right protesters in Charlottesville, USA. One victim, 35 injured.
In 2016, in New York, polemicist and activist Gavin McInnes founded the Proud Boys, an organization exclusively for men that advocates for “the values of the Western world” and against feminism and multiculturalism. They firmly support Donald Trump and the carrying of weapons. The Proud Boys several times attacked physically left-wing protesters, notably defenders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 2011, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik committed two consecutive terrorist attacks in Oslo and Utøya, killing 77 people, including 69 members of the Workers’ Youth League, a youth organisation affiliated with the Norwegian Labour Party. He claimed all responsibility for his actions and declared that his goal was to eliminate the “cultural marxists” who let Europe be “colonised by Islam”.
In 2010, French political activist and writer Renaud Camus popularised the Great Replacement, a theory that implies that European people are currently undergoing a slow intentional process of substitution by “foreign” populations, coming mostly from Maghreb and other African countries. The author was convicted for incitement to hate and violence against Muslims in 2014. Despite this, some politicians like Marine Le Pen keep explicitly referring to this theory.
In 1990, the youth association Heimattreue Deutsche Jugend was founded with the purpose of educating the younger German generation to the far-right ideology. The young people who took part in the HDJ camps also received military education. Clearly neonazi-oriented, the association was only forbidden in 2009.
The two pictures you can see above were taken in 1986 and 2012. Neonazism exists in many people’s daily lives, today, in the 21st Century. It can be blatant, as in the previously mentioned facts, or much subtler, as in the disguised ideas of some modern far-right parties which are growing more and more popular across Europe (51,80 % in Italy and 33,70 % in the UK for the last European elections, 25,94 % for the last Swiss federal elections). Denying its existence is denying that of the original nazism. Talking about it is a way to keep fighting it.
But you might not agree with this last sentence. Maybe you consider that we should censor and forbid such political parties for their incitement to hatred and their dangerousness. Or maybe, conversely, you think that we must let this ideology be fully expressed so that everyone is aware of its existence. Put it under the spotlight to stop it from growing in the shadows. After all, censoring is victimising. And victimising is popularising.
We are Service Volontaire International. Through volunteering, we aim at encouraging people to adopt a new critical outlook on the world around them, on the things that scandalise them, and on those that do not event surprise them anymore. As a Youth Organisation recognised by the Belgian Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, our mission is to help the younger generation to become responsible, active, critical and united citizens.
Be proud to defend your values!
- Youtube.com. 2020. (en ligne) Disponible sur : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wPrgLaVkWc (Consulté le 2 novembre 2020).
- Youtube.com. 2020. (en ligne) Disponible sur : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti7INnArv08 (Consulté le 2 novembre 2020).
- Europe 1. 2020. Le Témoignage Glaçant Et Inquiétant D’heidi, Une Néonazie Allemande Repentie. (en ligne) Disponible sur : https://www.europe1.fr/international/le-temoignage-glacant-et-inquietant-dheidi-une-neonazie-allemande-repentie-3770810 (Consulté le 2 novembre 2020).
- Fr.wikipedia.org. 2020. Néonazisme. (en ligne) Disponible sur : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Néonazisme (Consulté le 2 novembre 2020).
- Fr.wikipedia.org. 2020. Proud Boys. (en ligne) Disponible sur : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proud_Boys (Consulté le 2 novembre 2020).
- Atavist. 2020. Que Pèse Réellement L’Extrême Droite En Europe ?. (en ligne) Disponible sur : http://grand-angle.lefigaro.fr/extreme-droite-europe-enquete-vote-populisme (Consulté le 3 novembre 2020).
- Civitas : qui se cache derrière l’association catholique devenue un parti politique ? https://www.rtl.fr/actu/politique/civitas-qui-se-cache-derriere-l-association-catholique-devenue-un-parti-politique-7783901433
- Messire Dieu, premier servi” Étude sur les conditions de la prise de parole chez les militants traditionalistes de Civitas https://www.cairn.info/revue-politix-2014-2-page-59.htm