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  • Writer's picturemikeandanna2010

Courage under fire

One of the reasons I wrote "No Going Back" was to explore the nature of courage. I am almost haunted by the question of what I would have done if I had witnessed the Second World War.

If I had been born in Poland, I would like to think I would have been in the resistance. But what if I had been born in Germany?

If you've seen the 1972 film of Cabaret, you'll remember the scene in a Biergarten where a Hitler youth sings "Tomorrow belongs to me."

"Arise, arise," he sings and one by one the audience stands and joins in; only an old man - probably a veteran of the First World War - is resistant to the surge of emotion.

Stirring music, slogans, symbols and selective information all formed part of the propaganda used to rally the German people; the more sinister control methods of the Gestapo and their henchmen coerced those unwilling to swallow the propaganda.

The same is happening in Russia today. The Z symbol has replaced the swastika, and the Russian police are the new Gestapo.

There is no free media and the Kremlin has banned all dissent. It has outlawed references to war, calling its brutal and deliberate destruction of Ukraine a special operation.

And now Russians are being actively encouraged to denounce people who speak out against Putin and his war. There are telephone hotlines and websites where "good citizens" can inform on "traitors."

A friend who hosted the visit of a Russian artist some years ago is heartbroken that this intelligent woman believes every word of Russian propaganda.

We are so much more sophisticated nowadays and yet the simple methods of a psychological campaign on the one hand and fear on the other are enough to subdue and brainwash the citizens of Russia.

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