Desertpeace has another killer article today, this time on the poem published 4 days ago by German author Gunter Grass.
Author Grass, now 85 years old, must be highly gratified by the reaction, given that in the space of four days he has been publicly vilified by both Netanyahu and the unspeakably evil Avigdor Lieberman, not mention being declared persona non grata by Eli Yishai, the Interior Minister of Israel. Not a bad day's work, for a man in his mid-80's.
Gunter Grass is uniquely vulnerable to criticism because, as he admitted in 2006, he has a past. In early 1945, in the fading days of the Second World War, Grass was drafted into the Waffen-SS, where he served for approximately 4 months before being captured as the war ended. At the time, Grass was 17 years old.
While his time in the SS cannot be condoned, no, neither do any of us have any right to blame him for it. We were not there, we did not have to walk in his shoes, we have no right to engage in armchair morality, after the fact, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.
Anyone who doesn’t understand what those days were like, (and that includes the vast majority of those alive in the world today), needs to read two books
Black Edelweiss, by Johann Voss
The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer
Both can be had used at Amazon for 5 USD or less.
As for Grass’ actions today, I say, three cheers for Gunter Grass! He is a man of conscience today, no matter what he did 65+ years ago. His conscience has not always led him in directions I would wholly agree with, but it is not my place to say that he was wrong.
If nothing else, the reaction from Israel serves as indisputable evidence that Grass has done the right thing, and said the right thing, at least this time. The usual over-the-top, rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth responses from the usual Zio-thug spokes-weenies would bring a smile of satisfaction to my face, if they were directed at me.
(N.B. If you follow the link above, you will see that a somewhat different form of this scribble appeared as a comment at Desertpeace. Having written my thoughts there, I then decided to share them, in a somewhat longer form, here at Ye Olde Possumhole.)