I am a very outspoken person. I will tell you things you do not want to hear. Likewise, I appreciate people telling me things I do not want to hear. This is because I believe that self-reflection and understanding ourselves as a whole will only lead to improvement if you let it.
I mean, who wants to be criticized?
Who wants to be wrong?
However, if we allow for an open, transparent, and honest discussion then I believe we create meaningful conversations. And to me, I prefer the meaningful conversation, regardless of right/wrong, us/them, my world view/your world view, because that conversation is the antidote. It unlocks a better self when we learn to accept that it is not that – us/them, right/wrong, etc. It’s the foundation for us as a society to build a better world. A united world. One that doesn’t rift us apart, because we are conditioned to think a certain pattern, way, or lifestyle. I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that there is enough for all of us to go around. The system in many ways may be broken, Some have it better than others. My opinion may not be your opinion. But no matter what walk of life you come from, I want you to be successful. I want you to be healthy. I want you to have a fulfilled life. As long as you live your life along the “common universally accepted” rules – please/thank you, do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you, contribute positively to society, etc. even if your world view is different from mine, it’s all good. We will get along just fine.
However, I write this post, because I truly feel that the last decade has brought us to a boiling point with Corona and everything these nearly past two years, being the cherry on top, that it seems we are unconsciously and gradually moving into a globally accepted near to fascist society. Those are strong words. I do not say them lightly. And for those who know me very closely, know how I mean to express this. Others will call me crazy, and I am fine with that. But again, meaningful conversation and spurred thought are the centerpieces to unlock a better self.
So if you are reading this, I challenge you to keep an open mind and self-reflect not only on what your world view shows you is happening, not only within your microcosmic world – your surroundings, however on a microcosmic view – what is happening globally.
This post came to fruition after reading this headline by complete coincidence a few days ago: “Semesterstart: Leibniz-Uni führt Armbändchen für Geimpfte und Genesene ein”. (Translated: “Start of the semester: Leibniz University introduces wristbands for vaccinated and recovered people”). It was published 25.09.2021, hence a few days ago. At first glance I did not think much of it, just shaking my head with all the crazy corona measures being put in places around the world, locally, regionally, nationally. Some that make sense. Some that you question. Others are completely absurd. Yet, regardless of what your Corona stance is though, what really bothered me to actually sit down and reflect on this was when an old friend who reached out (fully vaccinated as a side note) with a similar article and wrote me, “…it seems like it started! What are your thoughts…?” Now for most things you form/have an opinion, and you give an answer. But you see, the reason this caught me off-guard is that this friend is Jewish.
So I went back to find the article and read through the whole thing and what oddly came to mind is genocide. That sounds harsh and extreme, but I ask you to hear me out. I do not aim to sound like a lunatic, or what in Germany is labeled as “querdenker” (lateral thinker) when it comes to Corona, all I aim to do is to challenge your worldview and the way you may perceive information.
The reason Genocide popped in my mind, is because I remember watching something somewhere, either on the history channel or Amazon, or Netflix about the Third Reich. And there was a statement from one of the interviewees (a Professor from an ivy-league school in the U.S.), that referenced the stages of Genocide. (I hate being so generic when I write things without references, but I’ll need to dig it out and see if I come across it again.)
Nonetheless, a quick Google search does the same: The stages of Genocide
The 10 stages are basically how we as a society label people or groups of people to justify our way of thinking along with our actions. It’s gradual, typically unnoticed because it does not infringe on our day-to-day thought process or intervene in our immediate environment until it’s too late.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
John Stuart Mill
The 10 stages are as follows:
- Classification: People are divided into “us and them”.
- Symbolization: People are forced to identify themselves
- Discrimination: People begin to face systematic discrimination
- Dehumanization: People are equated with animals, vermin, or disease.
- Organization: The government creates special groups (police/military) to enforce policies.
- Polarization: The government broadcasts propaganda to turn the populace against the group.
- Preparation: Official action to remove/relocate people begin.
- Persecution: Beginning of murders, theft of property, trial massacres.
- Extermination: Wholesale elimination of the group. (Considered extermination and not murder because those people are not considered humans anymore)
- Denial: The government denies that it has committed any crime.
Now you may be thinking, Hermann, you are taking it to the extreme. The current Corona policies are to enforce legal, valid rules and laws. There is nothing to debate here, but I would argue that. I think Germany in the early thirties thought the same. How can you go from living your daily life, to becoming numb to mass murders? It all happens gradually. It’s ultimately subconscious, deliberate marketing at its finest. Just do your homework on Rwanda, or Bosnia, or Cambodia – you’ll see the same patterns.
Hence, putting aside what you truly believe and think is right according to your personal doctrine (e.g.: every one should get vaccinated, no one should get vaccinated, etc.) regarding the last 18 months and specifically, Corona related actions, think about this in regard to the stages:
- Classification: Society is classifying vaccinated vs. unvaccinated (recovered are scientifically put with vaccinated, correctly). This is the new stigmatization we are being conditioned to think about (others would be sexuality, refugee crisis, etc.). The media portrays a very solid line along “…millions are still unvaccinated and unprotected and because of that their communities are at risk…”
- Symbolization: This is where the article above hit me after being asked the question. The Jews had their stars, now for whatever reason – getting to class or accessing the campus quicker (Vizepräsidentin Julia Gillen laut dem Blatt: „Ich halte die Bändchen für eine pragmatische Lösung, die uns einen möglichst effizienten Ablauf ermöglichen.“, According to the paper, Vice President Julia Gillen: “I think the ribbon is a pragmatic solution that enables us to run as efficiently as possible.”) -around the world, various methods to symbolize a specific vaccinated/unvaccinated status through bracelets, QR codes, etc. are being implemented.
- Discrimination: Unvaccinated individuals in various places are prevented from participating in society (Australia issuing a stern statement that unvaccinated will not participate for an undefined period, Austria no longer accepting certain tests as valid for their “3G” model, etc.)
- Dehumanization: Unvaccinated individuals are considered “biohazards” for vaccinated people and hence should not receive healthcare if they become sick – is becoming the go-to phrase for politicians and many others… This is just one example of many. Just scroll through Twitter with the hashtag #unvaccinated and see what people think on individual levels.
- Organization: enforcement of social divide. Lithuania is the first EU country to fully implement the Covid pass, banning most from public areas (It’s like talking about smoking vs. non-smoking areas). You can see the same across many countries whether Isreal or the remainder of the E.U. Yes, enforcement of those rules vary by region, however, it’s a start that will only get heftier as the pressure within politics grows. Who would have thought that some guys wearing brown shirts and shorts would one day be mass enforcers, no?
- Polarization: using propaganda to promote hate among people through statements like many politicians and others are doing.
I took a deep, hard look, at whether I was over-interpreting this on a grander scale? If I weigh out history – Rwanda, Nazi Germany, etc. and with a sprinkle of commonsense and look at what is happening across the globe, then I don’t think we are all too far away from – firstly, solidifying the first 6 points, before actually moving onto the next 4 stages – it sounds absolutely insane. It might not be today or tomorrow, but continuing down a divided path will lead to the self-destruction of society. I truly hope we realize what is happening and for the sake of the next generation make a sharp U-turn.
And look, don’t get me wrong here. This post is not about the vaccines, whether they are safe or not, or some crazy Bill Gates conspiracy theory, or arguing one way or the other on getting vaccinated or staying vaccine-free. This post is about spurring thought. Trust me I am as sick as anyone else about this topic, but since it’s been in our daily lives for months we tend to just not want to talk about it, because we feel that everyone points fingers at everyone else, talking and stigmatizing. But I believe if we can boil it down to meaningful conversation on a humane level, whether vaccinated or not, respecting opinions, decisions, and understanding, then we can break the above stages and declare that “together is better.” It is time to move from a pandemic and understand the endemic situation we will permanently move into with Covid. The question, fundamentally, is how we will move into that phase. (Again, don’t argue that more people should get vaccinated, or that we should think about healthcare workers, etc. That is not the point of this post.) It’s about how we move away from stigmatization in our way of life to accept that many are vaccinated, many will not be vaccinated, and others will decide as more medical options are available – look at Isreal, look at Denmark or Sweden, then look at other places like Australia or America. We have the money, we have the resources, we have the minds, we just need the meaningful conversation.