Monday, September 14, 2009


Much needed, to this. David links to me as he notes:
The first is that I really do not believe there is any ill intent behind the "Flak 88" moniker. The objection is that 88 is symbolic for "Heil Hitler" in Nazi circles. Perhaps I'm too credulous though, but that a specialist in flak guns naming himself after a prominent flak cannon seems more likely than closet Nazi sympathies.
His post is much clearer than mine, but we were thinking along similar lines. I had written:
But I find it impossible to believe that anyone who goes by the name Flak88 is neither a Nazi nor antisemite, and can't fathom Gardner's generosity in saying "HRW may well be correct." The 88 is not a random number.
Bad writing on my part. (I had meant neither/nor to allow for one or the other, rather than to insist on both.) I doubt Marc Garlasco is a Nazi. But antisemite? Garlasco, as a collector of Nazi memorabilia, is in the orbit of actual neo-Nazis. He must surely know that, and he must surely know that "88" has meanings other than what he intends. And he decided that just wasn't important. As David writes:
We say the same thing about Southern good ol' boys who love flying those Stars and Bars. Maybe it is about heritage for them. But there are other people to (not) think about.
I have no problem being harsher in my judgement than David is, or expressing it more harshly. But I could and should have been clearer.

The rest of my post was about the seeming incongruity of antisemitism and human rights. For the sake of argument, I spoke in extremes, rather than to this specific case. There is something about antisemitism that many seeming incongruities aren't really incongruous. That is an important point, where this might be a better example. Though he has left the Left and joined with Jean-Marie Le Pen and the National Front, Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, formerly known as an anti-racist, can still speak in the language of human rights and anti-racism. If he weren't pals with Le Pen, though, I wonder how many would defend him.

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