The Devils General And Racism

“ There was a Roman captain, a dark fellow, brown as a ripe olive, he managed to teach Latin to his blond girl on the banks of River Rhine, then a Jewish spice dealer came into the family, a serious man, who converted to Christianity before the wedding and founded the Catholic tradition of the house. Then a Greek doctor, a Celtic legionary, a Swedish knight, one of Napoleon`s soldiers, a deserting Cossack, a Black Forest craftsman, a wandering miller`s apprentice from Alsace, a fat boatswain from Holland, a Magyar, a Pandur, an officer from Vienna, a French actor, a Bohemian musician and all the whole mixed up crowd that lived, brawled, drank and sang and begot children along the River Rhine! That Goethe character came out of the same pot. Also a guy named Beethoven and Gutenberg and – ah whatever, look it up in a lexicon. They were the best my friend, the best in the world! And why? Because the nations mixed there, like the waters from the springs and brawls and rivers that flow together in a great living stream.“
These words are spoken by the main character of Carl Zuckmayer`s “ The Devil`s General“ and the German author proves by them the absurdity of Nazi racist ideology. I think it`s a realistic description of a nation`s historical genesis and the mixed constitution of its members. A nation is a cultural entity, that`s always developing.
Today in the age of globalization we witness an interpenetration of cultures, and it`s not a completely new phenomenon. In this context I remember the words of the Palestinian Edward Said:
“ All cultures are involved in one another, none is single or pure, all are hybrid, heterogeneous, extraordinarily differentiate and unmonolithic.“
We should make it clear to us: There is no fundamentally superior culture.
Any racist ideology is based on a feeling of cultural domination, and that´s nonsense. Only the knowledge, we are one mankind, will us enable to solve the problems of this planet. By the way the earliest specimens of homo sapiens came from Africa and out of Africa the migrated to all other continents. Seen back in the long term, we all spring from the same sources and our cultures have occasionally influenced each other again.
Every person and every culture is unique. But there is much more that unites us, than what divides us.

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