Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scratch Hard Enough

The huge dachas of the leadership on the Black Sea coast contrasted with the miserable hovels of the peasants on the road to Tiblisi. The facade of ethnic friendship among the fraternal peoples of the Soviet Union contrasted with feverish, paranoid hatreds festering just under the surface. As in Yugoslavia, I got to know people who were nerving themselves up to massacre their neighbors and drive innocent people out of their homes. I saw how the worst nationalistic paranoias and chauvinisms raged unchecked under Soviet rule — while in the capitalist west most Europeans had left that murderous claptrap behind long ago. Communism, it seemed to me then and still seems to me now, is not the opposite of fascism: it is fascism’s blood-brother, its complementary twin. The two live together in a vicious symbiotic relationship; scratch a Red and you’ll find a Brown. Better yet, scratch either one deeply enough and you will find a Black: someone so caught up in the will to power that crimes and atrocities don’t even count anymore.