I was sitting in the area outside the departure gate at Surabaya’s airport waiting for my flight to be flagged so I could check in. There was a group of schoolgirls with their parents gathering in front of me, partially obscuring my sight-line. It seemed to me that the girls were off on a study tour somewhere, because they were dressed casually. Although not in uniform, all were clutching the obligatory smart phone.
I couldn’t fail to see that one of the girls had on a white T-shirt with a word in blue on the front: NAZI.
Of course, there was nothing I could say or do … it was time for me to check in, but not to check her out.
So, I return to a life of appalling news.
I wonder if that girl at Juanda airport shares my horror at such callousness. Perhaps, like all mobs and Trumpists, she is too busy on social media to live in the real world.
On this day in 1945, the end of World War II was being celebrated and Gordon Skene has posted an archive recording..
However, as he says: “Of course, not everyone was giddy with elation – there were those, the families, husbands, wives and friends of those who weren’t coming back – who had been killed fighting this war, or were laying in hospitals, never to be the same again. For them it was a time of remembrance and reflection – of sacrifice.
“A reminder that America and the Allies had given much to defeat the forces of Fascism and Nazism – the wounds and scars are still around, these 72 years later.”
Harry Leslie Smith, now 94, has this to say: “Looking at the young today, when I watch them in their leisure; I catch a fearful resemblance with the faces of the young from my generation in the summer of 1939. When I am out in town, I listen to their laughter, I watch them enjoying a pint or wooing one another, and I am afraid for them.”
Like Harry, my father fought in the war against Hitler (1939-45) for the likes of me. Earlier, in 1936, there were anti-fascist riots in Cable Street, East London. At that time Germany sponsored a proxy war in Spain which saw the fascist dictator Gen. Franco come to power. Hitler’s war saw Europe overrun, and later America was brought into the conflict by President Roosevelt.
The 70’s and 80s, with neo-capitalism fostered by Thatcher and Reagan saw a rise in right-wing ‘whites only’ fascism. The Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism were formed, and young musicians, particularly in the UK, united to write hit songs and punk anthems. Much of the problem was the use of the police against the black community, such as in Brixton, south London, where I was living at the time.
And the above potted history is the time line of this compilation.
Racism, religious extremism and fascism might be different things but they are always bedfellows.
Note: Many of the tracks on this compilation have been sourced from a 42 page series of anti-fascist music articles in the Quietus. If you’ve got the time, browse through them and discover the very many tracks I haven’t included here.