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The ethical shift from World War II

By | August 30th 2009

By Tony Mochama

Prof Ali Mazrui, former chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, in an article, ‘World War II and the Great Ethical Revolution of the 20th Century’ says: "Although we can blame the horrors of World War II on the Germans, it is still amazing how beneficial the long term consequences of that war were for the future of Greater Africa."

Pardon me? The German Nazis at the time (1933-1945) were involved in psychotic experiments of "racial purity" and "extermination of vermin that contaminate the human race" – namely Jews, the Slavic hordes (Russians), Asians, Latinos, Blacks — and basically the rest of humanity that was not Aryan (Caucasian). The medical Nazi butcher Dr Josef Mengele’s laboratories in the death camp of Auschwitz were, by the 1940s, conducting ghastly experiments to further "purify the Aryan stock."

‘Scientists’ there, for instance, would pour various chemicals into the eyes of Jewish concentration camp inmates, including children, to see if they could turn their eyes from black/brown -to-light blue – of course resulting in blinding people in the most horrific way possible. Some inmates would have their eyes gorged out and replaced by blue eyes of dead Aryan soldiers. No one rational holds any doubt that, had Hitler’s Nazis won the war, that would have meant, among other horrors, the spread of this evil eugenics across the hemispheres, including the ‘purification’ and extermination cloaks being thrown across the face of ‘Greater Africa’?

Mazrui, in the article, seemed to suggest Nazism sparked off the "quest for racially just societies". The old colonial ‘Pax Britannica’ did not give way to a "nobler commitment to the material welfare of the native peoples" because the Nazis morally jerked the British awake - and so from 1947, beginning with India, started ceding independence to the ‘Third World’ like a benefactor with biscuits.

French Grandeur

It gets worse! Mazrui states: "The German humiliation of France obliterated the myth of French grandeur and invincibility". Any good student of war history would know that the myth was the Maignot line of defence, that the only invincibility was the German Blitzkrieg war machine, and that was eventually overwhelmed by British grit, American steel, and the Soviet juggernaut.

French ‘grandeur’ remains in the ‘assimilated’ African mind as anybody who has ever visited Kinshasa will attest. Suggesting that German military tactics somehow translated into anti-Francophone colonial stratagem is simply fatuous. "If the German occupation of Poland was wrong, what about British occupation of Nigeria, Jamaica and India?" Mazrui asks. What was wrong? That is like asking if you pinched my arm, what is wrong with me chopping off your arm?

Just staying with British imperialism and German occupation in the course of World War II – the British left functional infrastructure, civil administration among other institutions, including the Common Law the Commonwealth countries live by, the Atlantic Charter of 1941, founding the paper before your eyes right now in Kenya, and the lingua franca we are communicating in.

What did the Nazis leave in the nations they occupied? A million dead in France, six million dead Jews, seven million dead Poles (with help from the USSR), 16 million dead in the Russian areas they occupied and 10 million other random dead all over the world. Hitler was a human virus. His psychosis was ‘non-reactive,’ responding not to events but to his own mental ‘McNaughten’ monotone. Nazism was incapable of any sort of maturation, a philosophical ebola whose natural lifespan, due to its preternatural virulence (based on racial hatred), did not, indeed could not, last beyond the dozen years (1933-1945) that it did at its most virulent form.

Nazism’s war had no "long term benefits to Greater Africa," and that this for Mazrui was "the silver lining to the dark cloud of the Third Reich" is a repugnant conclusion. The Third Reich, we may say, resembled one of those dark nimbus clouds, which one sometimes sees on the African plains, which ominously floated onto the German horizon. As the cloud gets closer, you see that the ‘silver’ in it is actually the flickers of a dark and terrible lightning deep inside it, waiting to unleash a storm of rage.

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